Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 2451
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Steve and Amanda Telfer have added some major firepower to their assault on the Northern Oaks just weeks after winning their first Group One. The South Auckland trainers captured the Dunstan Horsefeeds Sires’ 3YO fillies final with Enjoy Me on New Year's Eve and she now has "ownershipmate" Darling Me joining the team. Darling Me was fourth in the final behind Enjoy Me, Bettor Twist and La Rosa. “After the New Years Eve meeting I told Paul and Mary (Kenny, owners) that Enjoy Me needed 10 days in the paddock and they said Darling Me, which they also own, needed a break too,” explains Steve Telfer. “So we offered to spell them here (Stonewall Stud) together and then after a few days they said we might as well hold on to her and bring them up together for the Oaks. “So she is a really nice filly to get and they are both now back in work.” A winner of three from 10, Darling Me was formerly trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen and is one of very few horses to have not stayed on with new trainer Hayden Cullen. “Paul and Mary explained to me they still have four or five horses down there with Hayden they just thought this filly would be suited up here, especially with the Oaks here as the next major three-year-old fillies race she was eligible for.” The Oaks is scheduled for March 5. Telfer also has one of the country’s best male three-year-old pacers in B D Joe, who is going through a growing phase. “That was probably why he weakened off a touch and wasn’t finding the line quite as well over the last 50m of his races,” says Telfer. “We know how good he is and have actually sent him to Margaret Park for two to three weeks on the water walker and then we will make a call on the Derby up here but I’d say he will be there.” Telfer and his owners are considering offers for some of their open class regulars so there could be some movement among the older horses in the stable but they have plenty of equine ammo to go on with and he admits he now looks at some of the group one targets for B D Joe and Enjoy Me with renewed confidence. “We have nice horses and of course that coincides with Mark and Natalie taking a break so we have a chance in some races whereas previously often we have gone into group ones hopeful more than anything else.”   by Michael Guerin

New Zealand's greatest harness racing trainer left on his own, perfect terms at Alexandra Park on Thursday night. In his last race before Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen take a sabbatical from training they quinellaed the $200,000 Auckland Cup as little mare Amazing Dream grabbed stablemate Spankem late to win the great race. Fittingly it was Purdon who drove the winner but it was Rasmussen who set up the win as her lung-searing last mile in front on Spankem to keep the attentions of Copy That at bay ultimately won the race for Amazing Dream. "That is what won me the race," admitted Purdon. "The pressure on at the lead made it a staying test and this mare is a great stayer." The win was historic as Purdon and Rasmussen, known as the All Stars, cease training from Friday, with the majority of their horses to be taken over by the young stable foreman Hayden Cullen. Purdon and to a lesser extent Rasmussen will still occasionally drive and it is likely they will return to training in some capacity but the days of the all-conquering All Stars machine look over. "I am very comfortable with that decision now and so is Nat and to win our last race officially training with a horse owned by Jean Feiss, who has been one of our most supportive owners, is a great way to end this chapter." Spankem was enormous in second while Copy That was also huge, with his race becoming so much more difficult when he was crossed at the start. The $200,000 Auckland Cup Earlier in the night Enjoy Me gave two of the stars of northern harness racing their first Group 1 win when she won the Sires' Stakes Fillies Championship. Trainer Steve Telfer, who this season started training in partnership with his sister Amanda, and young driver Ben Butcher were both registering their first wins at the highest level of racing when Enjoy Me used the passing lane to grab favourite Bettor Twist after she sat parked for the last lap. Teller and his Stonewall Stud bosses have believed in Butcher since he was a junior driver and their faith has been repaid as he has matured into a leading senior driver. "To get my first Group 1 is special but even more too to get it for Telf and Stonewall after how much they have supported me," said 25-year-old Butcher. Enjoy Me He wasn't the only passing lane major winner tonight as Aladdin, who was sold to new Australian owners just last week, took out the $200,000 Harness Million, beating stablemate Shan Noble in the last few strides. Aladdin Sundees Son ended, for a while at least, the argument over who is New Zealand's best trotting stayer when he easily beat Bolt For Brilliance and Majestic Man in the $95,000 National Trot, aptly named cause the winner set a new national record. Sundees Son was able to run to the lead uncontested in the middle stages and adds the National to the Anzac Cup and Row Cup as Group 1 wins at Alexandra Park, as well as a Jewels and a Dominion at Addington, giving him the record of a great trotter with the promise of so much more to come. Sundees Son By Michael Guerin Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Premier harness racing hits Alexandra Park today with a ten race program starting at 3:53pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a great day of racing.   Auckland selections 31st December 2020 Best Bet:  R3 Beyond Words Best Value:  R9 Ashley Locaz   Race 1 Natty Pagger very consistent and seems reliable at the start. Hard to beat in this field…… The Big Bird nice draw and coming in fresh. Huge ability when caught in the right mood and top selection here.… Monkey Selfie her best form would take her close here but a bit of a risk at the start. Can win if back to her best…… Mountain Mass has been thereabouts the last couple and getting fitter. Has a bit of a reputation and has to be included. Selections:  The Big Bird (4),   Natty Pagger (8),   Mountain Mass (3)   Monkey Selfie (5)   Race 2 Raven Banner running good races but this field is tougher. Might go forward early and has winning claims.……. Riveered has the ability and trainer driver combo go well on premier nights. Will go forward early and hard to beat…… Double Up ok last start and will be improved. Likes to race handy and should get a cosy run on the fence from the draw. One for longer odds…… Shezadeal  ran a quick time to win last start and draw is ok for a run through early. Can repeat at nice odds Selections:  Riveered (6),  Raven Banner (5),   Shezadeal  (10),   Double Up (9)   Race 3 Beyond Words she looks better than these and should be winning this race with draw the only concern….. Dina Brown good third last start and one of the leading chances behind the favourite….. Down The Hatch has promised plenty and has gone some good races in several of his  starts. Can run top three here from the draw….. Mimi E Coco has been disappointing but getting fitter with a nice draw. One for longer odds Selections:   Beyond Words (7),   Dina Brown (6),   Down The Hatch (1)    Mimi E Coco (2)   Race 4 Rain Mist And Muscle quick beginner who will take some catching if she can land the front. Good odds available….. Kimkar Dash racing into form and should get a run through early. Great winning chance in this field….. Kings Landing running ok races and weaker field here. One for longer odds but tricky handicap….. One Majic Kenny in good form but handicap a concern. Can win but will need luck Selections:   Kimkar Dash (6),   Kings Landing (7),   Rain Mist And Muscle (3)   One Majic Kenny (8)   Race 5 Bettor Twist big run to win last start with a punctured tyre and fitter now. Looks the winner again here….. La Rosa in good form and ran the favourite close last time they met. Winning claims….. Darling Me can not fault the formline and sure to fighting out the finish again here. Needed..….. Enjoy Me should get a good run from the draw and not far behind these good ones. Place chances look best Selections:   Bettor Twist (4),   La Rosa (3),   Darling Me (5)   Enjoy Me (1)   Race 6 Kango  conditions suit and back to the mobile will help. Good winning claims from the nice draw.…. Taipo  best draw and but plenty of ability. One for the leading chances and will give a good sight here…… Christianshavtime racing in good form and drops in grade here. Will be running on and can win ..… Callie's Delight tricky draw but a leading player if she could get around to the front early. Place chances look best Selections:  Kango  (4),   Taipo  (2),   Christianshavtime (5),   Callie's Delight (6)   Race 7 American Dealer building into some good form but tricky draw. Should be close to the placings but will need luck…. Shan Noble ok last start but tricky draw. Would be no surprise to see him in the money here if he can clear traffic ….. Pace N Pride good draw and he will be the early leader. Can go close here at nice odds…. Luke John getting better with racing and form is good. Has to be included from the draw Selections:   American Dealer (8),  Pace N Pride (2),   Shan Noble (9),  Luke John (5)   Race 8 Bolt For Brilliance ok last start and will be fitter. Loves the track and will be hard to beat….. Sundees Son  good last start in a hot field and better drawn here. One of the leading chances and should run top three….. Majestic Man tricky draw but very fast off the gate and will lead. Could be hard to catch with no attackers….. Kay Cee getting better with racing but looks to be running for place money only here Selections:   Bolt For Brilliance (4),   Majestic Man (6),   Sundees Son  (2)  Kay Cee (1)   Race 9 Spankem racing well and getting fitter. Distance suits and will be hard to beat from the good draw….. Amazing Dream racing well and good stayer who should appreciate the longer trip. Can run top three….. Copy That distance a concern and has been disappointing. Could make it interesting if he found the front early ….. Ashley Locaz good run last start for third and distance no issue. One for longer odds Selections:  Spankem (4),   Ashley Locaz (9),   Amazing Dream (3)    Copy That (2)   Race 10 Sing To Me quick beginner who will take some catching if she can land the front. Good odds available….. Bettor Listen good form and should get a run forward early. Great winning chance in this field….. Cowboys N Bandits tricky draw but small field will help. One of the leading chances here….. Santa Maria in good form but looks like a place chance might be best here Selections:   Cowboys N Bandits (7),   Bettor Listen (6),   Sing To Me (1)   Santa Maria (3)   Harnesslink Media

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Thefixer may be away from home, but trainer Regan Todd has ensured the Group One winner has still had the comforts of the beach while campaigning in the north. Todd is staying at Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett’s Waiuku property where he has been utilising the local beach to prepare Thefixer for the Gr.1 Woodlands Stud 2020 Auckland Cup (3200m) at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve. The seven-year-old gelding settled in well to his new surroundings earlier this month and posted a runner-up result behind former stablemate Spankem in the Gr.2 Lincoln Farms 2020 Franklin Cup (2700m) first-up. Todd was pleased with the run, particularly after missing work following his runner-up effort in the Group One NZ Free-For-All (1980m) in November as a result of a minor surgery. “He seems great and he has had a pretty good prep,” Todd said. “He went well first-up here (Auckland) and he has trained on well since. “I was really pleased with his run in the Franklin Cup because he missed a little bit of work after Cup Week. He had a cancerous lump on his throat, so we had to get that taken off, but everything has been fine since then and he seems well.” Todd said Thefixer is thriving out at the beach and he has also experienced great hospitality from Lincoln Farms after his first-up northern run. “He is loving it at Michelle and Bernie’s, it’s not too much different to what it is like at home for him,” Todd said. “He has also had a few days out at Lincoln Farms after this first race, to freshen-up.” Todd is pleased with his charge heading into Thursday night, but he is disappointed to be starting from the second row. “He seems nice and bright and the only thing would have been if he was able to have drawn the front line,” he said. “It’s a really good field and the draw (11) is going to make it tough, so we are going to be relying on luck more than anything at the start.” Todd said he would have also liked to have given Thefixer another lead-in race ahead of Thursday, however, he has been able to keep him up to task on the beach. “It would have been nice to have a lead-up race last week to keep the fitness up, but we have kept his work up and he seems really good,” Todd said. “It’s not going to be easy, but we are going in with a happy horse.” Thefixer will likely stay in the north for one more assignment after Thursday before heading back home to Canterbury. “He will most likely go to Cambridge (Gr.2 Flying Mile, 1609m), we will just see how he pulls up, and then he will head back home,” Todd said.

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Michelle Wallis celebrated her birthday on Tuesday with a victory at Cambridge Raceway with Sunny Petite, but she is hoping for a belated present on New Year’s Eve when Temporale makes his northern return. The Group One-winning trotter’s southern campaign was cut short in October after becoming ill following the Group Three Ashburton Flying Mile (1609m), but he has recuperated well in the lead-up to the Group One Sims Pacific Metals 2020 National Trot (2700m) at Alexandra Park on Thursday. “He didn’t trot any good at Ashburton and then he got a bit crook, he got a bit colic and then he just didn’t come right after it,” said Wallis, who trains in partnership with Bernie Hackett. “We abandoned the trip and brought him home and just concentrated on getting him ready for this week.” While pleased with his progress, Wallis said Temporale will have his work cut out against his race fit rivals on Thursday. "Unfortunately, there were no trials last week to get a trial into him, so we have just had to work him at home,” she said. “He is as forward as we can get him, but he is not race hardened like those other ones. “If he was dead right and had had a bit of racing he would be right up towards them, but we will be going into it a little bit short. “We will be hoping for a little bit of luck to go our way. If one of them had bad luck he shouldn’t be far away.” TAB bookmakers have installed the eight-year-old gelding as a $41 fourth-favourite behind Sundees Son ($1.85), Bolt For Brilliance ($2.60), and Majestic Man ($5). All going to plan, Temporale will head to Cambridge Raceway on January 8 to contest the Group Three Cambridge Flying Stakes (1700m). “If he goes through tomorrow’s run well, we will go to Cambridge on the 8th and we will assess things from there,” Wallis said. Wallis is also looking forward to the undercard on the premier night at Auckland on Thursday. The evening will kick-off with Emma Frost, Special Way, and Mufasa Metro in the John Muirhead – Going Fishing Trot (2700m). "Emma Frost is a lovely trotter who generally trots all the way and puts herself in the race,” Wallis said.  “Special Way is a little bit inexperienced, the same with Mufasa Metro. But Mufasa Metro is probably the best of the three of them. He has had one start for one win, and he is a lovely horse in the making. “But on Thursday, Emma Frost is probably the best chance.” Wallis will also line-up Rain Mist and Muscle, and Kings Landing in the Jacobsen Headstones Handicap Trot (2700m).  “Rain Mist And Muscle has just grown another leg lately,” Wallis said. “She has stepped up and has been trotting really well. Todd (Mitchell, driver) had the choice and he opted to stick with her. She has got to be a chance in that race.  “King’s Landing is not quite up to those guys in the National and he is handicapped out of it again on 35m.  “We put Mark (Purdon) on him. He knows him and has trained him, so hopefully he can work some magic with him.” The anomaly in the predominantly trotting Hackett-Wallis barn, pacer Blitzembye, will also head to Alexandra Park to take his place in the Lincoln Farms Mobile Pace (2200m).  “He has got a good draw (4), so hopefully he can use it,” Wallis said. “He has got a bit of gate speed and he loves being handy on the pace.”

The mystery behind Triple Eight’s great form loss has been solved and that was enough to see him back in the winner’s circle at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Last season’s Auckland Cup place getter reminded us all how good he is by coming from last to win the main 2200m pace of the night, downing Mach Shard in a 1:55.4 mile rate. That was enough to win his way into the Woodlands Stud Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve after a disappointing start to the season. Punters and trainer Steve Teller knew the six-year-old should have been racing better and a diagnosis of ulcers was ultimately what it took to turn him around. “We had the vets go over him when he got back from Christchurch and ulcers were the problem,” says Telfer of Stonewall Stud. “Once we worked that out and treated them he has been a different horse. “His work has been really good and I was confident going into tonight.” Punters who took the shortening odds about Triple Eight wouldn’t have been feeling too cocky in the middle stages but the hot speed helped and driver David Butcher timed his mid-race move to perfection. That put him in control of the race from the top of the straight and with the aid of sliding blinds he concentrated all the way to the line. “He can shut off a bit when he leads so we added the blinds and he has won well,” says Telfer. He will now confirm the Auckland Cup tilt with Triple Eight’s owners but with the race lacking several of the big guns it would seem a logical aim. Mach Shard showed he can be a chance in the big race with his improved second while Gambit went his best race of this campaign in third ahead of the eyecatching Matt Damon who ran on well in his first Alexandra Park start. The other favoured runner Christianshavtime had no luck in the running and his run is best forgotten. Mach Little Soaky caused an upset for trainer-driver Matthew White when he downed La Rosa, Braeview Kelly and Italian Lad among others in a strong lower grade pace while Rain Mist And Muscle continued the great recent run for the Wallis/Hackett team when she won the major trot.   By Michael Guerin

Christianshavtime may have a good horse’s motor but it's his lack of gate speed that might make him vulnerable at Alexandra Park tonight. And that's why co-trainer Logan Hollis can’t declare him the one to beat in the $17,500 Bell Scaffolding Pace. Christianshavtime probably shouldn’t even be in the reckoning for favouritism for the main mobile pace tonight, being just a four-win horse giving away 30 rating points to Inter Dominion and Auckland Cup placegetters like Mach Shard and Triple Eight. But the combination of those horses having some form doubts and Christianshavtime blowing away far more highly-assessed horses like Tommy Lincoln and On The Cards last start suggest he can still win. Ever since he left maidens he has looked an open class horse in the making, one well capable of a 2:38 time over 2200m which will win you more races at Alexandra Park than it loses you. “We know he is pretty good,” says Hollis, who trains Christianshavtime with partner Shane Robertson. “He is a rarity for us, a horse good enough that we need to start planning his campaign six months out and working backwards from there. “His big aim is the Messenger in May so we will let him bypass the Auckland Cup this month because he has only won those four races after all but I think he showed last start he can run with some of the open class pacers.” Christianshavtime came from last in a four-horse field to beat the open class horses last start but the fact he often comes from so far back is the reason some punters will struggle to back him with confidence tonight. “He doesn’t have any gate speed which is why he races like that,” explains Hollis. “He never has had it so it means he needs the speed on in his races to win. “Take this week, he will get crossed out of the gate and if they walk and sprint he probably won’t be able to catch them but if they go hard he will get his chance.” While the December 31 Auckland Cup, with new sponsor Woodlands, will come around too quickly for Christianshavtime, three of the big names against him tonight are heading that way. Mach Shard, On The Cards and Triple Eight could all win tonight with peak efforts but their seasons have been a mixed bag, with Mach Shard the best of them so far this term having beaten Copy That and Belle Of Montana in the Spring Cup. Mach Shard and On The Cards have the gate speed to head forward and potentially lead-trail and in a race without many attackers it wouldn’t surprise to see either of them, particularly Mach Shard, get a winning break. Earlier in the night the Hollis/Roberston stable have Shezadeal stepping up sharply in grade in race one and a rare trotter in the stable in Asteria Lavra in race two. "She has the ability to win but she has real problems going away,” says Hollis. The stable is also looking forward to starting Luke John in the $200,000 NZBS Harness Million on New Years Eve as well as taking a draft of 15 to the Karaka yearling sales in February. One of the other clashes of tonight’s meeting is Italian Lad, who finally looks like fulfilling his potential up against high-class southern fillies Braeview Kelly and La Rosa in race three, with the older horse holding the advantage.

American Dealer (NZ) (American Ideal) produced a perfect dress rehearsal for the upcoming $200,000 Listed NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Colts & Geldings Final (2200m) with an emphatic victory at Alexandra Park on Friday night.  The colt impressed when powering home from well off the speed with a devastating finish to win the $42,000 Group Two Alabar 3YO Classic (2200m). The Ray Green trained three-year-old gave his rivals few excuses when drifting back to second last from a wide draw before he swooped on the leaders in the home straight courtesy of a pinpoint drive from David Butcher. “He is just a little pro and a lovely horse to drive,” Butcher told HRNZ. “He just loves it out there, loves racing and cops it so well.” “But that was big tonight - he has gone super.” American Dealer’s Group Two win added another highlight to his already glittering resume. The $23,000 purchase at the 2019 National Yearling Sales in Christchurch has now won seven of just fifteen starts, including victory in the $128,000 Group One Garrard’s Sires Stakes Final (1700m) at Alexandra Park in September. The Alabar 3YO Classic is set to be a key form reference for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million 3YO Colts & Geldings Final at Alexandra Park on 31 December. The entire field is eligible for the inaugural running of a three-year-old event in the lucrative Harness Million Race Series. Shan Noble (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) went down fighting and showed he will be a major threat in the upcoming Harness Million Race Series on 31 December with his second placing behind American Dealer. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained pacer endured a tough trip outside the leader B D Joe (NZ), before digging deep in the straight to go down by just half a length. The winner of September’s $14,000 NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Colts & Geldings Consolation, Luke John (NZ) (Mach Three), flashed home for third with an eye-catching finish from the rear. Pace N Pride (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) took fourth, with B D Joe fifth. B D Joe is set to take significant improvement out of the Alabar 3YO Classic as it was his first race since his huge effort to run second to It’s All About Faith (NZ) (Captaintreacherous) in the $138,000 Group One Woodlands Stud Sires Stakes Final (1980m) on New Zealand Cup Day.   Aladdin (NZ) (Sweet Lou), who was third in the Addington feature, took a different path than his main rivals to prepare for the Harness Million 3YO Colts & Geldings Final. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained three-year-old contested a minor event on Friday night’s card and produced an effortless victory. At Addington on Friday night Pembrook’s Destiny (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) boosted his Harness Million hopes with a good maiden victory. The Brendon Hill trained pacer dashed along the inner, running fast closing sectionals to win.   Consignor White Stables Purchaser Lincoln Farms Bloodstock Breeding American Ideal x Maddison’s Delight Sale Lot 253, $23,000, 2019 National Yearling Sale, Christchurch Bred by C J Roberts   NZB Standardbred

Below are the updated nominations for the Auckland Cup (Group 1) and National Trot (Group 1) to be run at Alexandra Park on New Years Eve. Trillian Trust Auckland Cup (Group 1) Amazing Dream Ashley Locaz Bad To The Bone Check In Classie Brigade Copy That Dina Brown Gambit Kango Mach Shard Matt Damon On The Cards South Coast Arden Spankem Thefixer Tommy Lincoln Triple Eight Sims Pacific National Trot (Group 1) Bolt For Brilliance Credit Master Invictus Kay Cee Kings Landing Majestic Man Maria Tsarina One Majic Kenny Sertorius Sundees Son Temporale Tricky Ric   HRNZ

John Dunn’s coy smile tells the real story. Because you get the feeling deep down inside he thinks his superstar trotter Sundees Son is ready to defend the title of New Zealand’s best trotter. He sure looked ready when he nonchalantly sat parked outside Majestic Man to win the Lyell Creek Stakes at Alexandra Park on Friday night in national record time for the 2200m mobile. It was remarkable stuff as Dunn seemed to be uber confident Sundees Son could sit outside a very good rival and beat him, with most importantly Sundees Son handling Alexandra Park like a pro in his first start there in 19 months. That will be crucial come the National Trot on December 31 when the opposition goes up another level, as it will in the Flying Mile at Cambridge in December 24. Because that is when Sundees Son will meet the pretender to his crown Bolt For Brilliance for the first time. The latter was trotting similarly stunning sectionals winning his feature races at Alexandra Park in September and October and the pair going head to head twice in a week with Majestic Man to keep them honest could be the highlight of the entire northern summer. But ask Dunn if he thinks Sundees Son can sit parked outside Bolt For Brilliance as regularly as he does Majestic Man and he plays the politician. “It won’t be easy,” he says at first. “We know how good Bolt For Brilliance is….. but then again Majestic Man is a pretty good horse in front and we beat him easy enough.” The last statement suggests he thinks as good, maybe great as Bolt For Brilliance is, he is going to need to be something special to beat Sundees Son. He is right. Dunn says most encouragingly Sundees Son showed no signs of losing his gait, or even wobbling, around Alexandra Park’s tricky last bend at record speed so as in this form the home track advantage may not be a huge factor for Bolt For Brilliance. The latter goes to the workouts this week and trainer-driver Tony Herlihy is pleased with his progress. On a night of stunning wins the feature-race fireworks were started by American Dealer who blew past his rivals to win the Alabar Classic and seal favouritism for the NZBS Harness Millions on December 31. It was the first time he has been dominant coming from well off the speed and hard to please driver David Butcher was impressed. “He is just a lil pro and a lovely horse to drive,” says Butcher. “He just loves it out there, loves racing and cops it so well. “But that was big tonight. He has gone super.”   by Michael Guerin

Punters may have been stunned by Beyond Words beating our best mare in the Rosslands Queen Of Hearts at Alexandra Park on Friday night but the All Stars weren’t. The unheralded mare headlined a wonderful night for the soon to be greatly-altered stable in which they won four races, including the Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Classic with Bettor Twist and the Lincoln Farms Franklin Cup with Spankem. Neither of those wins were unexpected but they were both hard fought yet the win that shocked most was Beyond Words outstaying Amazing Dream in the Group One mares race. Having just her eighth start, Beyond Words got the lead off her stablemate mid-race as Mark Purdon, driving Amazing Dream, probably thought he would be able to outsprint her up the passing lane. But when Amazing Dream came up the passing lane the leader held her at bay to cap a remarkable first campaign that has seen her progress from maiden on August 7 to Group One winner. Callie’s Dream was a valuable third for her connections with a Group One placing next to her name now when she heads to the breeding barn. For winning driver and co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen, Beyond Words’s win brought a sense of pride as much as surprise. “I did think Amazing Dream might run her down but we have always really liked this mare,” says Rasmussen. “When she was a two-year-old we thought she had the ability of Sweet On Me and Amazing Dream but she kept getting sore, which we later diagnosed as bruising in her bones because she was still maturing. “Her owner Brian West was really great through that period, always agreeing to give her more time when she needed it. “So to see her develop into such a good mare now makes us very proud.” So rapid has Beyond Words’s rise been Rasmussen sees no reason she couldn’t join Amazing Dream on a plane to Australia in the New Year to chase a Group One there and a super fast mile time around Menangle. Amazing Dream will first head to the Auckland Cup but her defeat cost her joint favouritism for that race in which she has drifted from $2.90 to $4. That was also due to what Spankem did 30 minutes later when he came from a 30m handicap to win the Franklin Cup, a victory that propelled him to $2.40 Auckland Cup favouritism. He had to sprint hard late as he was three back on the outer starting the 27-second last 400m and clawed his way past Thefixer, who was good from the one-one and Ashley Locaz, who did a huge job after sitting parked the last lap. Copy That was never a winning chance from last in the sprint home but made good ground in the last 200m and should be a different horse closer to the speed so his Cup chances are anything but over. But Spankem has emerged as clearly the horse to beat in the big one on December 31, having the manners and also developing an outstanding Alexandra Park big race record. “He went super because they only really sprinted that last 300m so he had to pick up some good horses,” says Rasmussen. With Self Assured confirmed as out of the Cup, the most likely additions to the race from those who didn’t start on Friday night is Classie Brigade, who has been nominated and could seal a start by winning the Green Mile at Methven on Sunday, while Triple Eight could also be a Cup starter. The All Stars other Group One winner was the magnificent Bettor Twist, whose never say die attitude saw her out scrap La Rosa after being off the bit at the 400m. It was a superb staying effort, something we are getting used to from Bettor Twist, but this performance was even a level above her Sires’ Stakes win of three starts ago. It capped a special week for driver Tim Williams who with wife Aimee Edmonds became parents for the second time on Wednesday with the birth of son No.2, Levi. “It has been an amazing week with Levi arriving and then that win was something special,” says Williams. “She tries so hard and never knows when to give up.” While La Rosa was brave in second and Darling Me and and Braeview Kelly later in the night also more than solid, it will take something special to out-tough Bettor Twist come the Sires’ Stakes Fillies Championship on December 31.   by Michael Guerin

With defending champion Self Assured now out of the Auckland Cup, there’ll be extra focus on two of tonight’s features at Alexandra park. After developing a corn last weekend the 2020 New Zealand Cup champion was scratched from tonight’s Franklin Cup and then the Auckland Cup, with co-trainer Mark Purdon saying he didn’t have enough time to get the champion match fit for the 3200 metre Group One. Self Assured, who hasn’t raced since his dominant win in the NZ Cup at Addington in November, will now be aimed at big money races across the Tasman, including the Hunter Cup in Victoria in February and the Miracle Mile in Sydney a month later. The star pacer’s defection means Amazing Dream and New Zealand Cup runner-up Spankem are joint Auckland Cup favourites at $2.90 with Copy That at $3.20, Ashley Locaz at $11, The Fixer at $15, and South Coast Arden Coast at $17. Coincidentally all these contenders will be action tonight. Amazing Dream will start a $1.10 favourite to win her seventh Group 1 when she takes on the Rosslands Stud Queen of Hearts Mobile Pace while all the rest will front up in the Group 2 Lincoln Farms Franklin Cup. Spankem ($2.90), Copy That ($3.80), Thefixer ($8.50) and Ashley Locaz ($11) will all start off 30 metres, while South Coast Arden ($7.50) is off 10m. Just who does what has taken on new significance with Self Assured now literally out of the running for the $200,000 Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve.   HRNZ

Two of Alexandra Park’s long lost sons could dominate the open class features at tonight’s premier meeting but that may have to do that the hard way. Sundees Son (R4, No.6) and Spankem (R7, No.8) share the quite incredible record of both having not raced at Alexandra Park since May 3 last year when they each won Group One races. When Sundees Son blew away his Rowe Cup trotting rivals that night and Spankem held Turn It Up at bay in the Messenger it would seem extremely unlikely neither would return to Alexandra Park until tonight. But soreness issues which flared up for both during Cup week in Christchurch last year saw them sidelined for much of last season. They have come back as good as ever this season, in the case of Sundees Son maybe better, and their form line synergy continued when they were both able to win their first group ones in over a year on Show Day at Addington last month. That suggests they are the horses to beat in their respective open class group races tonight but both are likely to get back in their fields, especially Spankem off his 30m handicap in the Lincoln Farms Franklin Cup. Winning major races off a back mark at Alexandra Park is never easy but Spankem is aided by the fact it is a smallish field and there are no horses off the 20m mark so if he steps well he could tag on to the 10m horses without too many traffic concerns. Trainer Mark Purdon was thrilled with how Spankem worked on Monday morning and while the likes of South Coast Arden, Tommy Lincoln, Check In and even Kango could contribute to a genuine tempo, over 2700m the back markers might still have too much class. Spankem isn’t the sole standout of them though as Copy That has been enormous on his home track this season even if he has looked more vulnerable when asked to come wide on the track over the last lap. The sectionals say he can be forgiven for his defeat last Friday but he will need to raise his game by a length or so tonight to suggest he is still in the top echelon of Auckland Cup hopes. Thefixer, who was a booming last-start second to Spankem in the NZ Free-For-All and Ashley Locaz add to the depth of the backmarkers team. While Sundees Son won’t be giving away a 30m start driver John Dunn is almost certain he will be spotting arch rival Majestic Man a decent start early in the Lonestar Lyell Creek. The 2200m mobile will be Sundees Son’s first start behind the mobile in over a season and while he has drawn inside Majestic Man, Dunn says he will take it easy and settle the favourite early. “I don’t like to bustle him so Majestic Man looks the leader but we have shown we can sit parked outside him and beat him,” says Dunn. While he has won only 3 of 10 starts at Alexandra Park many of those defeats were as an erratic younger horse whereas he has been stronger and safer for much of this season. “The way he is trotting I don’t think right-handed will bother him, after all he has won two huge races here before,” says Dunn. “So the track doesn’t concern me and he has been working at the beach up here, like he does at home, and that is a real advantage.” While the best horses in the race having to come from back suggest some real fireworks in the open class races, the $95,000 Queen Of Hearts might be the opposite with Amazing Dream likely to lead and win. That could make Enchantee a great place or even quinella bet as she has drawn barrier two and the only mare on the second line Smokinhotcheddar is on the unruly so there should be a huge gap for Enchantee early trail the favourite is Amazing Dream holds that lead. The clash of the three-year-old boys in the Alabar Classic is a beauty with early tempo the key while La Rosa comes north to take on Bettor Twist, with their lead battle crucial in their outcome.   By Michael Guerin - NZ Herald

Below are the current nominations for the Auckland Cup (Group 1) and National Trot (Group 1) to be run at Alexandra Park on December 31. The nominations have now been extended to this Friday 11 December at 5.00pm. Any additional nominations can be made via Karen Blanchard at Auckland Trotting Club 027 808 3150 Auckland Cup Gambit Check In Triple Eight Kango Bad to the Bone Mach Shard On The Cards The Fixer South Coast Arden Copy That Self Assured Spankem Ashley Locaz Amazing Dream Tommy Lincoln National Trot Bolt For Brilliance Invictus Temporale Kings Landing Majestic Man Kay Cee Tricky Ric Sertorius Sundees Son Credit Master   HRNZ

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Ray Green is hoping the summer continues as it started. On Friday night the South Auckland trainer recorded a winning double at Alexandra Park, including a quinella in the Gr.3 Sims Pacific Metals – Money For Metal Summer Cup (2200m). Green headed into the race full of confidence with star pacer Copy That, but it was stablemate Tommy Lincoln who took home the spoils after a gun drive by David Butcher. The son of American Ideal began well from the front row to take an early lead where Butcher was able to dictate the pace throughout. Tommy Lincoln kicked clear of his rivals at the 200m mark and recorded a 1-3/4 length victory over race favourite Copy That, with a further neck back to Check In in third. Green was pleased with the quinella and Tommy Lincolns winning efforts. “I thought he went super,” Green said. “Once he led so easily and got away with a bit of murder in front, I thought he was going to be hard to roll.” It was Copy That’s first run back since his well-publicised run in the Gr.1 New Zealand Cup (3200m) last month, and while Green expected him to win, he was still buoyed by his runner-up effort on Friday night. “I thought Copy That would be the one to beat and he has gone huge, I am really happy with him,” he said. “They will now head to the Franklin Cup next week and then possibly the Auckland Cup on the 31st.” Earlier in the night Group One-winning three-year-old American Dealer returned to winning form in the Auckland Co-op Taxis 300 3000 Northern 3YO Stakes Mobile Pace (2200m). The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained First Class broke at the start, making it a four-horse race, and it was all over once American Dealer assumed the lead early in the piece. “That was a gimme really,” Green said. American Dealer has continued to impress Green and he is looking forward to the remainder of his three-year-old term. “He is a classy little horse,” Green said. “He has never gone bad. He is just the consummate professional. “There are some very nice races for him over the next three or four months and we will target most of them. “He is only little, but he is strong, so we will keep targeting those races until he tells us he has had enough.”

Champion trainer Mark Purdon admits he has concerns over the draws for some of his favoured runners as the Alexandra Park summer carnival kicks off tonight. But then there is Amazing Dream, who has the worst possible draw in one of the strongest races tonight and yet Purdon thinks it simply won’t matter. Purdon’s more hyped runners have copped tricky or just plain bad draws in all four races the All Stars runners contest tonight but he is still confident it won’t bother Amazing Dream in the Caduceus Club Breeders Stakes. “I know she has barrier eight but she has a few lengths on most of her rivals and there is only one horse on the second line,” says Purdon. “So she can afford to go out a bit at the start or pull back and either way get into the running line. “She is really well and class act so I still expect her to win.”It was actually quite surprising the TAB gave $1.30 in opening markets for Amazing Dream considering she is only $1.12 in futures markets to win a group one against similar opposition next week. Purdon does warn punters that stablemate Beyond Words, one of the big improvers of the mares’ ranks this season, is still getting used to training right-handed and may be better for her first Alexandra Park outing tonight. That suggests Dina Brown and the under-rated Callie’s Delight become the most likely trifecta mates for Amazing Dream. While there rightly seems little concern about Amazing Dream overcoming her draw, Purdon is not so confident with favourites Shan Noble (race two), Bettor Twist (race four) and to a lesser extent Aladdin (race eight). Shan Noble (barrier four) opened hot favourite for the Northern Three-Year-Old Stakes but Purdon says stablemate First Class (barrier two) is at least as good a chance. The pair raced each other at Addington last start and finished only a head apart but Shan Noble went into that race fit whereas First Class hadn’t raced since a dismal Auckland campaign in September. “They are both lovely horses but with the draw I think First Class could be first out and hard to beat so I’d just narrowly favour him,” says Purdon, his comment in stark contrast to the bookies assessment opening odds of $2 for Shan Noble and $8 for First Class. The stable have thought all along Bettor Twist was their best staying filly and she may be able to come sit parked and win race four, as she did two starts ago against a similar field. But again Purdon warns punters to be careful. “She looks like she is going to get the toughest run in the race and she may be vulnerable for that reason. “She can win but I think Darling Me should do less work and will be just as hard to beat while a filly like Shes No Lady could take some catching in front.” Purdon was initially reluctant to declare Aladdin the winner of race eight from his wide draw tonight but the field would seem to contain nothing of his raw class considering he sat parked to run third in the Sires’ Stakes Final last start. Tonight’s Summer Cup sees the return to Alexandra Park of Copy That, who hasn’t raced since his financially chaotic slow start in the New Zealand Cup. He looked in a need of a run when second to Kango, who starts in race three tonight, at the Pukekohe workouts last weekend but with natural improvement should be able to overcome his 20m handicap if he races up to anything like his spring form on this track.   By Michael Guerin

1 to 16 of 2451
1 2 3 4 5 Next »