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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

The next All Stars stable’s Aussie raid kicks-off at Menangle on Saturday night. Exciting open-class prospect Cash N Flow looks a graded certainty in the opening race where he takes on some handy rivals, but not the best fast-class horses at the meeting. It’s remarkable given Cash N Flow has won 10 of his 20 starts and both starts at Addington this campaign. Throw in the fact it’s over the suitable 2300m trip and not even the outside draw (gate 11) should pose too many issues. Team Tritton’s classy speedster My Alpha Rock (gate nine) and the talented Spare Me Days (10) look the major rivals. At the same meeting, Team Tritton’s emerging stable star Gotta Go Ya Hu will be a dominant favourite from gate one in the Group 3 Mount Eden 4YO Stakes (1609m). Gotta Go Ya Hu has stormed home from well back to win his past two open-class runs at Menangle, but has loads of gate speed and should lead and be hard to beat this week. _____________________________________________________________ TODAY will see one of the most remarkable trials Melton has hosted. With the Breeders Crown just around the corner, four of the best three-year-olds in Australia – Poster Boy, Ride High, Lumineer and Konan - will clash in the 12th trial at Melton. Poster Boy is the best performed via his NSW Derby and Vicbred wins this season, but much interested will centre around last season’s Australian Gold winner Lumineer, who is returning from a long injury layoff. Then, in trial 13, Miracle Mile runner-up Jilliby Kung Fu will lock horns with budding Grand Circuit star Shadow Sax and the classy My Kiwi Mate. Other stars in action include: Australia’s best juvenile Centenario, star 2YO filly Kualoa, NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO winner Hardhitter and top shelf 4YO mare Speak No Evil.   Adam Hamiton

Hayden Cullen a horseman of talent and wide experience will start work at All Stars on Monday as a senior stablehand. Hayden spent more than a dozen years working with Brent Mangos from 2002 and for the last period was a training partner during the Bettor Cover Lover era. He then switched to thoroughbreds for a time at Windsor Park Stud before returning to his first love. Hayden holds the unusual distinction of owning a Breeder's Crown winner, Tuhimata Glass who won the 2yo Trotting Final at the 2009 BC meeting in the hands of Tony Herlihy. Officially trained by Brent, Hayden had leased the youngster with an $8000 right of purchase from Steve Cornwall and later sold two small shares in the horse. He has driven over 70 winners in a light driving career. Hayden arrived south this week and will later be joined by his partner Amanda who will also be associated with the stable.    Courtesy of All Stars Website http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Racing Integrity Unit Release  30 May 2018        The Stewards have been advised by the trainers M Purdon and N Rasmussen that the following horses may have been exposed to a possible contamination during their transportation to Cambridge for the Harness Jewels.   Princess Tiffany Stress Factor Funatthebeach Sicario Winterfell Cheerful Bubbled Up Kayla Marie War Dan Delight . The Stewards have therefore ordered swabbing of the horses. The RIU has advised the New Zealand Racing Board, and they have agreed to suspend betting on the races the horses are engaged in.   The results of the testing will not be available until after 4pm on Friday afternoon when a further announcement will be made.    Mike Godber - General Manager                 Nick Ydgren  - Chief Stipendiary Steward   HRNZ

One of New Zealand’s most promising trotters has been bought by one of the legends of the industry just days out from the Harness Jewels. Which means Oscar Bonavena will join the All Stars army for Saturday’s massive meeting at Cambridge. After having looked an outstanding talent in just two start for trainer Phil Williamson the two-year-old colt was sold to former Kiwi now US-based trainer Chris Ryder and the godfather of New Zealand harness racing Roy Purdon. Roy’s son Mark will be the new trainer, with partner Natalie Rasmussen to drive Oscar Bonavena on Saturday in the $125,000 two-year-old trot. “He is a lovely colt and I was very impressed at Addington last start when he finished second to our other horse, Enhance Your Calm,” said Purdon.  “So we are thrilled to get him for Chris and of course for Dad.” While no trainer likes to see a horse as good as Oscar Bonavena leave the stable, Williamson was all smiles yesterday.  “It is a good sale and I hope he turns out to be a champion for them,” said Williamson.  “It is a very good price, which it needed to be as we had a lot of interest in the horse.  “And obviously he is going to a great home.”  Williamson got a kick out of Roy Purdon taking a half share in the son of Majestic Son after he came out to watch Mark trial Oscar Bonavena on Monday.  “I said to Mark at the time, you are not bad having a bloke like him (Roy) come and give you a second opinion.  “But I am thrilled Roy got a share in him, he is the legend after all.”  Usually any horse joining the All Stars days before a group one race would shorten dramatically in the market but with Williamson one of the most highly regarded trainers of trotters in this part of the world, any great price slash for Oscar Bonavena would be an over-reaction. Michael Guerin

A cloud hangs over one of only three previous Jewels winners heading to Cambridge for Saturday's $1.275 million meeting. Because after stopping to a walk at the Pukekohe workouts on Saturday, Partyon will need to pass a vet test on Wednesday to be allowed to start in the four-year-old Diamond. Only Partyon, Enghien and Dizzy Miss Lizzy go into Saturday as past Jewels winners, Partyon's story the most remarkable as she won the two-year-old Diamond two seasons ago at only her second start. While that was a dream result, this week's preparation has turned into a nightmare. She suffered atrial fibrillation at the Pukekohe workouts on Saturday and while many horses recover from that problem and go on to race at, or close to, their peaks at their next start, it is hardly ideal for Partyon. She had only just returned to usual trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen to prepare for the Jewels after an Australian campaign and not only suffered the fibrillation but of course missed the fitness benefits of a proper hit out on Saturday. Purdon is confident she can still make the $150,000 mile but admits the preparation is less than perfect. "The good news is her heart had returned to its normal rhythm by last night (Saturday) and that is one of the most important things," explained the champion trainer. "But we will get her checked out again on Wednesday and make a final decision then. But I think she will still be starting." Partyon already faces a huge task from her second draw in one of the glamour races of the day but that is indicative of what the All Stars are up against on Jewels day. They have 20 horses entered for the meeting and only Winterfell (barrier one) has drawn inside barrier four. "I can't remember us getting a series of draws like this and I can see it being a real issue as it looks a day where not a lot of drivers are going to be handing up," said Purdon. Three final acceptors withdrew yesterday, with Kendra pulling out of the two-year-old Diamond and both Puma Road and Girls On Film withdrawn from the three-year-old Ruby. Michael Guerin

All Stars racing stables grabbed another harness racing Group One tonight when Jesse Duke got over the top of his stablemate and favourite Another Masterpiece to land the spoils in the $170,000 Garrards 2yo Sires Stakes Final. Driven beautifully by co-trainer Mark Purdon, Jesse Duke had to work a bit early to get to the parked position but then had cover from the 700m to the turn as John Dunn attacked the leader Another Masterpiece with his drive Heisenberg.  In the straight Jesse Duke had too much speed for his rivals and got up to beat Another Masterpiece by a head with yet another All Stars runner A Bettor Act running home well for third. Mark Purdon was delighted with the win and said after the race, "He is a good 2yo this one and he got the run to suit. "I had to work a bit more than I wanted early but he has improved and it worked out well. I was probably lucky that John took the sting out of our other one and we managed to capatilise," he said. Jesse Duke paced the 1950m mobile in 2-20.0 and won by a head. The smart colt paced his last 800m in 54.6 with a final 400m in 27.6 seconds.   Harnesslink  Media

Ex New Zealand star pacer Heaven Rocks is having his first North American start this weekend, when he lines up in an open pace at Harrah's Philadelphia in Pennsylvania on Sunday. Heaven Rocks is now trained by Ross Croghan an Australian born reinsman who emigrated to the United States in 1976.  Croghan now ranks among the greats in US harness racing, winning several driving titles and training well over 1000 winners. On Sunday Heaven Rocks has drawn gate 4 in a field of 8 runners for the $30,000 Open series. The race will be run over the mobile mile and the big Rock N Roll Heaven gelding will be driven in his first American start by top reinsman David Miller. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Harness racing trainer Mark Purdon is going to try his hand at training a thoroughbred in the near future. "I have decided its "now or never' training a galloper and I bought one at the May sale at Karaka. He will do a month back at Brighthill Farm who offered him at the sale and then he will come south. Barry enjoyed training the thoroughbreds and I have wanted to have a go. If I don't do it now I probably won't and the timing seems right," he said on the All Stars website  "Actually this colt wasn't my first choice but there is a story behind that. Roy and I were going to the sale but the car broke down in traffic and we ended up having to get it towed home so we didn't make it. My first choice from the catalogue was earlier on and went for a bit more than I wanted to pay. This one was passed in. I had liked the look of him and for $8000 he seemed a reasonable buy to me. Time will tell ! "Earlier Nat and I had an I Am Invincible youngster we bought at the sales in Australia but we didn't really have the time to do it and after it was broken in down here and proved a bit of a handful it ended up at Graeme's (Rogerson). I think it is best known for the day it got to the barrier and bolted over the fence before the race ! I hope this one will be different. I am looking forward to the challenge," he said. ___________________________________________________________________________________________  

Canterbury driver Tim Williams hasn't had too much to do with the Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic winner A Bettor Act. The colt is trained by Williams employers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen and has run second in it's last three starts for a variety of drivers. Today was Williams first drive on the Bettor's Delight colt and it proved to be a winning one. "Natalie, Mark and Nathan (Purdon) have all driven him. This was my first go and it was a nice day to pick up the drive," he said.  The winning time was a sensational 2-40.6 which was a new track, race, Southland and New Zealand record. The previous Southland record of 2-43.7 was held by last year's Classic winner the ill-fated Aloka. The previous New Zealand record of 2-41.0 was recorded by Mitch Maguire in 2016. "It helped early when the ones inside of us put the foot down and by the time we got to the mile the damage had been done. We were probably lucky we were out of the early burn." Williams took A Bettor Act to the front with 1600 metres to run.  "Once we got to the front he was pretty happy just to roll along. He set a nice clip but I was surprised the overall time was that quick."  He held on easily to beat Memphis Tennessee by two and a half lengths. "He's been a progressive type and each time he's gone to the races there's been a bit of merit in his runs." And when asked about where the colt sits in regards to the Purdon/Rasmussen two year olds, Williams thinks he's right up there. "With a bit of luck he could have won some of his last few starts. There's not much between those good ones. It might come down to barrier draws and who gets the better trip. He's not a Sales Series horse and that's why he was here today." Today's juvenile feature carried Group Three status for the first time and it's stake level was equal to both the Supremacy and Oaks finals. "It's a credit to the club for sticking with this race and bumping the stake up. Because he's not in the Sales Series and is targeting the Harness Jewels this was a good option for him." Tim Williams talking to Jason Teaz, John Stiven (SBSR), Ged Mooar (Nevele R), Nigel Fahy (Alabar) Ann and Ivan Behrnes, (Alabar) and Stacey Markham (Woodlands) - Photo Bruce Stewart. This year's Classic had ten runners in it - the most it's had in i'ts four year history. Seven of the runners were from Southland and John Stiven from Southern Bred Southern Reared said it was great to see so many locals supporting the race. "I'd like to particularly thank Ross Wilson who lined up three runners. It's great to get his support and that's what it's all about," he said. A Bettor Act was bred and is owned by the A Few Good Men Syndicate. He's out of the Christian Cullen mare A Christian Act which was bred by Harness Racing New Zealand Board member Brian Wastney who was on-course today to appreciate the win with the rest of the HRNZ Board members.  Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing  

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