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It was a tough decision but we have pulled Ultimate Machete out of the New Zealand Cup next Tuesday. We still have hope we can make it to the Free for All with him on the Friday at this stage. We worked him this morning and he was still a bit tender. Our veterinarian (Dr Lindsay Colwell) thinks there is a good chance that it probably isn’t anything serious but we are up against time wise and decided to act now so that everyone knows where they stand. It is bad luck but he wasn’t quite himself last Friday and I have been concerned about him since. As I said it might just be a bruise coming out but he is uncomfortable and you can’t have any setbacks at this stage of a Cup preparation. Its been a long road back for him so it is very disappointing for us and the connections but at least at this stage we still have a horse. The way things were he was only going to run once next week so hopefully that will still be the case !   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables   http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/home/

No final decision has been made but if it was a sentimental decision you could not help thinking it would be Thefixer. Not that it would need to be a sentimental decision. He just might be the best chance. Eight wins from 14 starts is not to be sneezed at in any company. And in his first start since mid-September you would expect even more improvement from this run his last before the Cup. Instead he gave them all a chance to beat him and held them at bay. Rated well four back on the outer by Natalie, Thefixer came into the race quickly went clear and fought off all challenges the most impressive of who was Dream About Me who had Tim and Paul and Mary Kenny all smiles with her super effort. Natalie’s affection for Thefixer is never hidden. “Just about the perfect racehorse. Tries so hard has the manners and the pace to get where you want him to be and just does everything you ask of him” she said “I mean he hadn’t raced for so long compared to most here and you would hardly know” Mark was not so happy about Ultimate Machete “A pass mark, just. He will have to be sharper to win the Cup I was hoping for better really”   Thefixer winning at Addington last night   Courtesy of All Stars Racing stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Patience brings its own rewards and that was certainly the case for the connections of Spankem when he triumphed with a masterly Tim Williams drive to give All Stars a win on the 50th anniversary of the Purdon family’s first runner in the Kaikoura Cup. Phil and Glenys Kennard, Ken and Karen Breckon, Jim and Ann Gibbs and Gary and Kerre Woodham learned patience early with the well-bred Spankem. He posted four smart placed performances as a two year old before a winning turn but then he got his due reward winning the Sires Stakes Final after a great placed run from outside the second row in the PGG Wrightson Sales Pace. Then he had to settle for third in a tight finish behind stablemates Ashley Locaz and The Devil’s Own in the Harness Jewels. The same thing happened to him as a three year old in the rich Sales Pace running third to Chase Auckland and All U Need is Faith and after a win in a heat of the Victoria Derby but a fourth in the final Mark and Natalie specified a lengthy spell to regain his fire and fitness after a busy younger campaign. He seems to have come back better than ever and after his bold run at Ashburton it seemed only a matter of time before he took out a feature race. That was up to Tim who seized the lead off Natalie and Eamon Maguire and dictated the terms. The time for the race was the slowest since Natalie drove Arden Rooney to victory four years ago and over three seconds slower than Lazarus posted with his easy win last year. But Tim sprinted them home in 55.6 and 26.4 and that gave nothing else, including Eamon Maguire, a chance of overhauling him on the flat- cambered Kaikoura track. It was the Kennard’s third win in the race in five years, Fly Like an Eagle having won in 2013 but a first for his partners. Jim Gibbs, busy celebrating a birthday could not be there but he is sure to be on hand for Spankem’s next run in the Junior Free for All on New Zealand Cup day. All Stars have now won four of the last six Kaikoura Cups and All Stars have won nine in all. Eamon Maguire fought on and Cruz Bromac lost no New Zealand Cup caste on his sectionals after appearing to have not all favours at the start.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com

The confused puzzle that is the New Zealand Trotting Cup still has plenty of missing pieces after Eamon Maguire's win in the Flying Stakes at Ashburton yesterday. The Harness Jewels winner confirmed what most punters already suspected, that with his manner and speed he'll be a factor in the $800,000 classic at Addington on November 13. He stepped quickly to the lead then trailed stablemate Dream About Me and the pair surged clear of their rivals as leaders so often do at Ashburton, with Eamon Maguire just having too much sharp speed for the older mare. Alta Orlando was a huge third after starting from the unruly ahead of Star Galleria, who ran on well for fourth after a brief gallop at the start, and then the expensive failure Ultimate Machete. He galloped wildly early and settled last, giving himself and punters no chance. The Cup favourite made strong ground for fifth but his manners are making him a hard horse to back with confidence. In three starts this season he has yet to race a place. Eamon Maguire is good enough to win the Cup but 3200m may not be his ideal trip, Dream About Me looks vulnerable to speedsters divebombing her and Alta Orlando is basically off a handicap in the great race because he is unruly. Star Galleria looks to be tracking in the right direction, then after Ultimate Machete it is hard to make a case for any of the other beaten brigade yesterday winning the Cup. Aussie raider Chicago Bull is likely to race at Alexandra Park on Friday against last season's Cup runner-up Jacks Legend but with a small field likely it will be interesting to see what value that race has as a form guide. The other Aussie challenger, Tiger Tara, was impressive winning at Menangle on Saturday night and with so few weak points edges his way closer to Cup favouritism. Add in the likes of Thefixer, who has had a slight setback, and last week's Methven Cup winner Cruz Bromac and the Cup has a lot more winning chances that we are used to. As efficient at Eamon Maguire was yesterday the performance of the day was undoubtedly comeback trotter Marcoola in the Flying Mile. He equalled the national all-comers mile record with a 1:54.5 grinding effort over the top of Great Things Happen, who looked home at the 200m mark after leading. Marcoola looks bigger and stronger after his break, taking pole position for the open class trotters. Michael Guerin

Stewards have today spoken with co-trainer Mark Purdon regarding New Zealand cup nominee Thefixer. Mr Purdon explained that following on from what he considered to be a slightly disappointing run in the Avon City Ford Cup the gelding was found to have some heat emanating from a front foot. The horse was diagnosed with an abscess and was not able to be track worked. Because of this Thefixer was transferred to a training facility that accommodated a water walker where the horse was able to be exercised without causing any further damage to the injury. Mr Purdon drove the gelding in track work this morning was pleased with the horses recovery and the response the horse has had to treatment. He said the horse was fully sound and would be looking to trial the horse next week. He further advised that pending the anticipated improvement between now and the 2nd of November the horse would likely resume at NZMTC on that date. Thefixer remains stood down pending a Veterinary clearance. HRNZ

While most of the class horses at All Stars are working up a storm over 2000,2400 or 3200m on the main tracks on an average Saturday morning and others are pounding up and down the straight track posting ever faster quarters, Saturday found NZ Cup favourite Ultimate Machete kept to walking pace -and he didn't mind it a bit! "Mate" pulled a Finn Tack Pressure Sulky (weight around 90kg ) with Matt Bowden the driver (maybe a bit more than 90kg) for 40 minutes of walking. Not that testing you may be thinking. But in front of him in the cart is Matt's secret weapon. It's a pressure gauge which allows him to adjust the resistance Mate gets when pulling from around 50 lbs ft to  up to 200 lbs. For all concerned it is a bit of a learning curve. "I am really doing what they do in the States where I had a bit to do with them." "Poi" says. "They varied the resistance pressure from very little to periods with heavy pressure. You can feel the change in the way the horse is moving. When it gets up near 200 they are working pretty hard. Its trial and error and we just have to see what the effects are but it is also fairly straightforward in its use" Matt simply adjusts the pressure from the cart with a big gauge right in front of  him. The carts, heavy jog type sulkies when the brakes are off, have been used at All Stars for jogging sessions but the major difference is the resistance technology which is their special appeal.  "They were developed in Europe-Sweden I think-but they get a lot of use in America" Matt notes. "The horses  get a lot of good strong exercise  but without pressure on the legs" Like most things with horses  the  idea of building a horse's stamina and condition without putting pressure on his limbs  has been with us since the days of draught horses and farm implements. In the 1940's Leo Berkett, then based near Nelson, prepared horses for the NZ Cup by using them in a plough (as a group) aiming for the same effect as the pressure carts-but a lot more trouble and time and without the aid of modern technology. They Finn Tack can also be a valuable aid with highly strung animals working in a more relaxed environment. Mark says they have used the cart quite extensively while working out its optimum use for the stable. "it's a proven system and is another aid that can be used without too much trouble. It can also be used as a heavy jogger when the system is turned off and it is useful for that as well"    Ultimate Machete is not a difficult horse but he can be "playful" at times and demands respect from his handlers.  Strolling around All Stars on Saturday, even if more than "pulling his weight" he was as happy as a sandboy . That in itself tells a story.      Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Harness Racing Australia (HRA) today announced the winners of their 2018 Horse of the Year Awards, with Lazarus taking out Harness Horse of the Year honours. It was a stunning year for Lazarus in Australia earning a million dollars and winning the Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup double for trainer-driver Mark Purdon. In addition to the Harness Horse of the Year award, the New Zealand bred horse also took out the Australian Pacer of the Year and Aged Pacing Horse of Gelding of the Year awards. In another stellar season for Mark Purdon, his star two year old pacing filly, Our Princess Tiffany won the Australian Two Year Old Pacing Filly trophy after her three-for-three season in Australia culminating in a terrific Breeders Crown win. Premier Victorian trainer Emma Stewart dominated the juvenile pacing boys divisions, with colts Centenario and Poster Boy taking out the Two Year Old and Three Year Old Colts and Gelding Awards respectively. Great Southern Star champ Sparkling Success was the big trotting winner for John and Mary Meade as he won 2018 Australian Trotter of the Year and Aged Trotting Horse or Gelding of the Year, which is sure to be a thrill for the Meade’s after the horse’s untimely injury this month.  Star Yabby Dam Farms trotter, Always Ready was the most clear cut winner this year. In a season in which he was not once out of the placings from eight starts for trainer Anton Golino, Always Ready was the overwhelming victor in the Two Year Old Trotting Colts and Geldings division. The performance criteria for the HRA Awards is for performances by Australian trained horses, as well as for Australian performances of New Zealand trained horses. The full list of Australian Horse of the Year winners and their performances across all categories is attached: Lawn Derby Awards - Pacers Vancleve Awards - Trotters For more information, please contact Harness Racing Australia on 03 9227 3000.   Harness Racing Australia

Top pacing mare Dream About Me has claimed victory in a nail-biting finish to the (Gr 3) Hannon Memorial at Oamaru yesterday. The All Stars trained Dream About Me who had been winless for the previous year and a half, got up to win the time honored event by a head at the line from the leader A G's Whitesocks, who fought gamely when headed. Captain Dolmio rushed home late for third a further head away in a thrilling three way finish. The 6yo Bettor's Delight mare ran the 2600m from a stand in 3-14.7 with a final 800m in 56.1 and a closing 400m in 27.3 seconds. Tim Williams who drove Dream About Me thought the mare was coming back to her best before the race. "She has been working well and at her best she would be too good for this field," he said confidently. Those were prophetic words from Williams who had a good day in the sulky. He also won two other races on the program, both trotters and both for trainers Craig and Aimee Edmonds. One of those was She Aint No Angel who finally got her act together after breaking at her previous few starts and also at the trials. The 5yo Love You mare trotted faultlessly and was way too good winning untouched by more than two lengths from a fast finishing Eden Creek. The other winner for Williams was Muscles Galore who also stepped up and beat a good field of trotters for the rating 60 and faster horses. Aided by a superb drive from Williams, Muscles Galore was buried back on the fence early but weaved through the traffic at the 600m before zooming up the inside in the straight to win easily. Hey Yo and Jack Harrington were second and Alderbeck caught the eye whistling home late from near last on the turn for driver Brad Williamson. TAB bookmakers reacted to the win of Dream About Me in the Hannon by dropping her price into $10 on the fixed odds futures market for the New Zealand Cup.   Harnesslink Media

Top harness racing trainer Mark Purdon is pleased with the way the New Zealand Cup favourite Ultimate Machete is progressing after a win at yesterdays Mid - Canterbury trials. After he galloped away badly at his first trial appearance at Rangiora last week Ulimate Machete was much more behaved yesterday and he stepped well and led for the last 800m to win narrowly but under a hold from stablemate Spankem. Purdon was happy with the trial and said on the All Stars Website, "He did everything right. "He stepped well and I just moved up in the middle stages and went to the line with Spankem who is also going well. "I think they all finished in the first two or three and I was pleased with all the results.   The time for the 2400m trial was an unhurried 3-08.7 with a steady last 800m in 58.7 and closing 400m in 28.1. Ultimate Machete (Bettor's Delight - Reality Check) is set to resume in the $50,000 Inkwise Canterbury Classic on October 5th with the winner of that race guaranteed a start in the New Zealand Cup on Tuesday 13th November. Another All Stars New Zealand Cup nominee Dream About Me will contest the time honoured (Gr3) Hannon Memorial at Oamaru this weekend. The Bettor's Delight mare is the highest rated horse in the race and will start a short priced favourite after two good minor placings at Addington in her previous two starts.   Harnesslink media

We all know harness racing has been hard hit by the news coming out in the last week or so and I wouldn’t want to go into the ins and outs of all the evidence that has emerged so far. That is for others to decide However I feel I must comment on some aspects of how the case has been handled. I think I can say that in that  I have been a victim of some aspects of the media coverage  which I think has been overly sensational and judgmental before any of the evidence had been properly evaluated. I can’t help noticing that harness racing seems to judged by different standards compared to other sports and businesses in these circumstances. Innocent until proven guilty is the law but you couldn’t say that was the attitude of  some commentators and authorities in connection with this case. Our industry deserves better . From the  personal viewpoint there were photos of me in the media as soon as the story broke and the property on television news when nobody at All Stars was ever involved in a race fixing inquiry. Names were being published before any court appearances had been made In my experience other  industries are not treated like that. It seems they have no respect for harness racing. In my view the media has quite a lot to answer for over these events. They seem to have a double standard when it comes to racing. I looked at the people involved in court last week on the various charges and thought how well presented all of them were and how most are high achievers who have made something of their lives. They may prove to have done something wrong but they seemed out of place in a courtroom. I have been in harness racing a long time and  consider it clean. As in all businesses things happen from time to time. However what some might be sure they see from the stands is not always what is really happening in the race. I believe harness racing deserves more respect for its overall record. That is why I am also disappointed at the lack of support to date from the code leaders for some of the most successful  people in harness racing who have not yet been found guilty of anything. This treatment does not seem to happen in the thoroughbred code. I can understand people questioning aspects of our industry and have no problems with those questions being properly answered. But to see people treated so shabbily before anything has been through the courts of law is extremely disappointing.   Mark Purdon Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables website

When the Kennards wrote their name down for Thefixer as a yearling they weren't going just by what was in front of them. They had already had race and sales success with Sir Tosti Mach, his half brother by Mach Three. Sir Tosti Mach ran second to Alta Christiano  in a Sales Graduate race and ran 4th in a very strong final that year. He later was a durable racehorse in Australia. So a version by Bettor's Delight was certainly no option from hell Seven wins from 12 starts later-plus a lot of patience as Mark and Natalie told them "Tosti" was a good horse in the making but needing time-showed that the trainers knew what they were talking about. Surprise, surprise. But what might be termed a surprise is not that Thefixer is good but that he is male. This is a family that has left useful colts and geldings and the odd case even better than that. But it is a filly family by any measure. Thefixer's dam Tosti Girl was a high bar perfomer earning nearly $200,000 in age group events. And her dam, Delightful Paula by the brilliant track performer but disappointing stallion, Jaguar Spur-once so fashionable he  had a yearing passed in at $100,000 at Christchurch when the average was less than $20,000-connected spectacularly with Christian Cullen to produce another outstanding filly, Delightful Christian, who won over $200,000 and ran 1.52. Her record would have been even better had she not returned a controversial positive to arsenic after winning a Harness Jewels 2yo Filly and being disqualified-a penalty legal action could not shake. Not only that but the next dam, Aristocratic, left another high class filly Paula Michelle who won the filly version of the Sires Stakes both at two and three. Colts anyone ? Why? At that stage this branch of the family, nurtured for many years by the Harrison family of Methven, had moved north after Central Standardbreds bought Patrician from Tom Harrison. Brian Hughes and John Green had considerable success breeding most of the above stars from her descendants.  We need hardly add that Patrician's dam, Undaunted, bred on the Light Brigade-U Scott cross more fashionable then than even the Bettor's Delight-Christian Cullen one today, left a very smart mare in the days before so many rich filly races in Ulight who won seven and granddam also of Local View. She did also leave a smart male pacer in Onassis.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com

Driver Tim Williams is certain Dream About Me will strip a fitter pacer at Addington tonight than she did a week ago — he just isn't sure whether stablemate Thefixer will be just as improved. And the answer to that question could decide the first group race of the harness season, the $30,000 Maurice Holmes Vase. Williams will partner Dream About Me, who hasn't won a race since the 2016 Auckland Cup but has rarely gone a bad one since either. Last season she was dogged by bad luck and chasing Lazarus and the now six-year-old mare produced the run of the race in the first open class contest of the season at Addington last Thursday. Tipped by champion trainer Mark Purdon to be in need of a run, Dream About Me looked just that as she sat parked for the last 800m and was only caught late by Thefixer. So if Dream About Me is fitter, which Williams is sure she is, then back to free-for-all conditions tonight she should win, right? "That would seem to make sense and she will definitely be better but the thing is we don't know how much fitter Thefixer will be too," admits Williams. "They both hadn't raced for a long time heading into last week and I think reverse the runs and reverse the result. "But we don't really know how good Thefixer is. A couple of years ago he came off Vincent's back and beat him in the New Zealand Cup that day so maybe he is a really good horse. So either of them could win without surprising me because these small field can provide very tactical racing." If Dream About Me can lead the race looks hers to lose because last season when she led it took Lazarus to beat her in the Flying Stakes at Ashburton. One thing looks certain, an All Stars victory. As good as the opposition are, it is hard to see any of them holding both the Purdon-Rasmussen stars at bay, with key rival John Dunn opting for Captain Dolmio as the best of his three chances and he was beaten after leading last week.   Michael Guerin

New Zealands top harness racing stables the "All Stars Stables" have produced The Fixer and Dream About Me to run the quinella in the National Handicap at Addington Raceway tonight. The race was the first totalizator hit-out for the New Zealand Cup entrants hoping to gain some early form for the big race in November later this year.  It turned into an eventful race, firstly with two of the six runners breaking and putting themselves out of contention at the start and then The Fixer running his last half 800m in a sizzling 53.71 seconds to get home late over the top of the stablemate Dream About Me in the shadows of the post. Tote favourite Captain Dolmio trained by Robert Dunn led for the majority of the race but was run down in the straight to finish a slightly disappointing third.  Natalie Rasmussen the driver and part trainer of The Fixer said on the All Stars Website after the race: "The Fixer is a grand little racehorse and when you consider how long his career is and what he has done he is up to the best classes.  "But he can be a naughty little bloke at times and I was a bit worried before the start but he began like a toff and got the best run after that. "I thought Dream About Me went as well having to do that bit more work," she said. The Fixer (Bettor's Delight - Tosti Girl) will probably run in the Maurice Holmes Trophy next and maybe the Victoria Cup if all goes well.     Race 7  TELTRAC COMMUNICATIONS LTD NATIONAL HANDICAP PACE, $12,096, R70 & FASTER DISCRETIONARY, 2600m   For R70 & faster pacers. This race has a maximum back mark of 30 metres.   Weather: Overcast     Track: Fast     Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Stakes Fav Time Margin Driver Trainer 1 5 Thefixer 3 20m 7,632.00 2/2 3-15.4   N C Rasmussen M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen 2 6 Dream About Me 1 30m 2,016.00 3/3 3-14.7 0.80 T M Williams M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen 3 3 Captain Dolmio 1 20m 1,008.00 1/1 3-15.6 1.40 J R Dunn R J Dunn 4 4 Classie Brigade 2 20m 648.00 5/5 3-15.7 1.50 B N Orange N R McGrath 5 1 Baileys Knight 1 fr 504.00 6/6 3-27.7 53.90 S J Ottley J D Harrington 6 2 Letspendanitetogetha 1 10m 288.00 4/4 3-29.3 65.50 M J Anderson R J Dunn $12,096.00   Scratchings SCR 7 Alta Orlando U1                     Divs: $2.40. $1.50. $2.40. Quinella $4.20. Trifecta $14.10. Margins: 1/2 length, 1 1/4 lengths, 1 1/2 lengths Times: Mile Rate: 2-00.9 Last 800m: 54.4 Last 400m: 26.8 Harnesslink Media    

With partners Braeden and Caroline Whitelock otherwise occupied at a rugby ground in Sydney, Phil Creighton made a lightning return trip to  Melbourne on Saturday to witness Princess Tiffany score an impressive win in her Breeder's Crown semi-final. He was pleased to hear Mark tell him everything was on schedule for the final next weekend and thrilled when Mark told an interviewer after the race he doubted he had had a better juvenile filly than Princess Tiffany, now unbeaten in eight starts and an emphatic favourite for the BC Final after an authority-stamping end to end victory home in 27.1 "Mark said to me the draw was a wee bit of a worry and he might try for the front rather than end up parked and it worked out well" said Phil who bred the filly's dam, big winner Dancing Diamonds with Stu Gillan and raced her with the Whitelocks. An earlier foal of the mare, Rock Diamonds, bred by the Whitelocks is a good winner in Perth. "I thought I should make the effort to go and see the semi. She is a very special filly. You  love to watch your own horses even if you have to make the effort and Mark's words made it worthwhile. He has had some very smart juvenile fillies, like Dream About Me and many more" Phil, who also races Ultimate Machete a G1 winner in Australia this season,  has since lost Asabella the dam of Dancing Diamonds whose two previous foals had been smart pacer Code Red and the high class pacer Ohoka's Bondy. Phil and wife Margaret have recently cut back on their commercial breeding interests but Princess Tiffany will be claiming a lot of his attention for some time.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables   View the video here!   2 5:34pm ALWAYS B MIKI ALABAR BREEDERS CROWN SERIES 21 (2YO FILLIES) (1ST SEMI-FINAL) 2150M $20,000 2YO Fillies. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 OUR PRINCESS TIFFANY NZ      Fr4 4 Mark Purdon Mark Purdon   $ 1.50 fav  PRS GS L 1 SWAB   BAY FILLY 2 by ART MAJOR USA out of DANCING DIAMONDS (NZ) (BETTORS DELIGHT USA)  Owner(s): B J Whitelock, C J Whitelock, P J Creighton, M C Creighton  Breeder(s): B J Whitelock, C J Whitelock 2 KUALOA      Fr3 3 Emma Stewart Chris Alford 5.70 $ 3.00   RRAS LCD B LCRT 4 3 SWIMSUIT EDITION      Fr1 1 Emma Stewart Mark Pitt 11.30 $ 11.10   RRAS WI 2 4 ENCHANTED STRIDE      Fr7 7 David Miles David Miles 14.10 $ 33.00   PRS GS INC 6 5 LARAJAY MACRAY      Sr1 8 Jess Tubbs Greg Sugars 17.70 $ 35.30   5 RR SHO 6 MY GIRL PEARL      Fr2 2 Ahmed Taiba Monique Burnett 17.90 $ 76.70   GS 3 7 MY ANNA RANI      Fr5 5 Roy Roots Jnr Kima Frenning 19.90 $ 79.80   RES 8 8 ROSIE SAMBROSIE      Fr6 6 Chris Svanosio Chris Svanosio 35.10 $ 150.00   RAS 9 9 ILLAWONG ASTRO      Sr2 9 Jodi Quinlan Craig Demmler 61.60 $ 215.00   7 TIRE NAT Scratchings   NO WIN NO FEED 10 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 2:39:2 Mile Rate: 1:59:1 Lead Time: 39.5 First Quarter: 32.5 Second Quarter: 31.6 Third Quarter: 28.4 Fourth Quarter: 27.2 Margins: 5.7m x 5.6m  

Graeme Anderson has proved as good as his word now that Eamon Maguire is back at All Stars and ready to embark on a NZ Cup preparation. Last season co-owner Graeme, an astute trainer in his own right, handled Eamon Maguire through his summer and early autumn preparation before transferring him to All Stars near the end of April for his northern campaign. But after the Harness Jewels win Graeme made the decision that the NZ Cup prep. would be entirely at Rolleston even if that was the more expensive option. He based that on the progress Titan Banner had shown when undergoing a full prep there for the 2016 Cup. That was ok with Mark and Natalie, especially Natalie who has a high opinion of the gelding.  Like Graeme she puts the horse first and it has paid in spades in 2018. And 2018 is not over yet **Lazarus is a 6/5 favourite for is US debut at Hoosier Park in spite of drawing the outside. The only real threat, McWicked, a 7 yo who has done stud duty is the 2-1 2nd fav.   Courtesy of All Stars Stables  

The All Stars barn unleashes a couple of its key Breeders Crown players when Harness Jewels winners Our Princess Tiffany and Im Anothermasterpiece step-out at Menangle on Tuesday. Under the quirk of the different racing seasons, Our Princess Tiffany is of course still a juvenile in Australia and will tackle boys and girls of her own age in the third race. Although sure to be a hot favourite, it’s not a “gimme” race with talented Christian Cullen gelding Regulus, a winner of five of his 10 starts, drawn to lead from gate six. Our Princess Tiffany has gate seven. In a differing quick, although still a two-year-old in Australia, Im Anothermasterpiece, tackles open-aged rivals in the fourth race. The Aussie TAB has Our Princess Tiffany $1.80 favourite in the Breeders Crown final prepost market from Kualoa at $3.20. Im Anothermasterpiece is $4.50 third favourite in the two-year-old colts and geldings final behind Emma Stewart’s star pair Hurricane Harley ($2.40) and Centenario ($3.40). Still on the All Stars’ barn and their emerging open-class pacer Cash N Flow turned heads even in defeat at his first Menangle run last Saturday night. Team Tritton’s speedy My Alpha Rock controlled the tempo from outside the lead and zipped away with a huge lead before Cash N Flow stormed home from near out and out very wide to finish just a head away in second spot. Cash N Flow was clocked to run 54.7sec last half. _______________________________________________________________________ THE countdown to the Breeders Crown continues with Victoria’s two heats for juvenile fillies at Ballarat Tuesday night and two colts and geldings heats at Kilmore on Wednesday night. At Ballarat, most focus will be on Emma Stewart’s powerhouse Vicbred final winner Kualoa, who is considered the main threat to the All Stars’ brilliant filly Princess Tiffany. Kualoa will have a fascinating battle in her heat with gifted stablemate Two Times Bettor, who ran second to Kualoa in the Vicbred final, drawn the pole. Kualoa has gate four. At Kilmore, numbers are surprisingly thin, but the quality is great with Stewart having six of the 15 runners across the two heats. The first heat has Australian Gold and Vicbred winner Centenario drawn the pole and the one to beat, but Tim Butt’s buzz new stable addition Whereyabinboppin (gate five), Nostra Ideal (two), Fourbigmen (six) and College Chapel (eight) also command respect. Stewart certainly holds the key to the second heat with the brilliant Hurricane Harley (seven) and her NSW Breeders Challenge winner Hardhitter (six). _______________________________________________________________________ THE hype just keeps growing around Ignatius and its easy to see why. The former Tasmanian three-year-old, now in Jimmy Rattray’s care, made it 16 wins from 17 starts when he toyed with older rivals at Menangle on Saturday night. The son of Roll With Joe led, dictated through a 58.5sec first half then Rattray allowed him a little rein for a 54.8sec closing half to win with plenty in reserve in a 1min53.3sec mile. It will be fantastic to see him step-up against the best of his age in the upcoming Breeders Crown semi and final. Also at Menangle, Amanda Turnbull’s emerging four-year-old Ellmers Image caused a big upset when stalked hot favourite Gotta Go Ya Hu and simply beat him for zip in the Group 3 Mount Eden 4YO Stakes in a 1min51.4sec mile. Gotta Go Ya Hu led easily with Ellmers Image on his back and they dawdled through a 58sec first half before ripping home in splits of 26.5 and 26.9sec. _______________________________________________________________________ TEAM Tritton looks to have another feature race at their mercy with exciting juvenile Muscle Factory. The Roll With Joe colt won his Brisbane Australian Gold Graduates heat at Albion Park by half the straight last Friday night and should be far too classy in next Saturday night’s final at the same track. Muscle Factory worked forward to lead for Lauren Tritton and cleared out to win by 36.4m in a flying 1min54.1sec mile rate for 1660m. By comparison, talented Art Major filly For All We Know dominated the first heat to win by 8.6m, but went a much slower 1min58.5sec mile rate. _______________________________________________________________________ IT has taken The Storm Inside almost three seasons to build his unbeaten streak of 11 wins, but he looks primed to make up for lost time. Emma Stewart’s rising five-year-old scored with ease again at Melton on Saturday night – in a sharp 1min56.4sec mile rate for 2240m – as he prepares to step into much better races.   Adam Hamilton

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