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Spotlight The Valley’s win at Ascot Park yesterday was special for her trainer and part owner Robert Wilson of Balfour. “She’s just been going through the motions lately and I always knew there was another win there. It was her ninth win which is pretty awesome really,” Wilson said. The Skyvalley mare got the perfect trip behind pacemaker Davey Mac and came up the inside passing lane to beat that horse by a length and a quarter. She was 10/10 in the betting paying $36 to win despite running third at her last start. Spotlight The Valley started her career with Billy Head but Wilson took over her training shortly after. She’s won nine races, run second 17 times and third 14 times, earning The Sunbeam Syndicate which owns her $89,322. “She’s just so honest. A lovely horse. The syndicate have had three pay outs over a long time so she’s been a great syndicate horse. The group are spread around – Timaru to Roxburgh.” Wilson says a trip to the breeding barn is now on the cards for Spotlight The Valley. “We’ve been talking about it so that’s half pie the plan, so we’ll probably get her in foal. There’ll always be a home at my place for her.” Spotlight The Valley was bred by Kevin Schuck who also owned an unqualified filly out of the mare by Muscle Mass and a two year old Sundon colt which is at Nathan Williamson’s. The mare has also left qualified Angus Hall gelding Danangus Fella which is trained at Kurow by Petra Luzumova. Wilson and his wife Eleanor owned Soky’s Atom gelding Atomwise in the late 1990s. He won five of his eight starts in New Zealand for Southland trainer Alan Devery and won another nine races from fifteen starts in Australia.   Bruce Stewart

Canterbury horseman Paul Court made his last trip south for a while yesterday and was rewarded when Tom Martin trained by his father, won. “I picked him out at the sales. He’s owned by a syndicate who’ve had a bit of fun with him which is good,” Paul said. The Mach Three entire was taken straight to the front by driver Blair Orange and he won easily by two and quarter lengths from Rocknroll King. “He’s a big bugger and time is going to be his friend. He’s a big staying type.” Court leaves Canterbury next week and heads to Canada with his wife Chantelle and their children and he’s looking forward to the change. “Very much so. Can’t wait. It’s a shame to say goodbye to all my mates but I’ll be back at some stage for a holiday.” Court has been training in his own right from 2008 until last season and geared up 141 winners of which Orange drove 104. “The highlight of my career was training (with his father Graham) Terror To Love and getting to work with this man here. (Referring to Blair Orange). He’s a good mate so it’s good getting successes with Styx.” Court’s best winner was Hail Christian but he trained other good horses in Cast No Shadow, Mongolian Hero, Malik, Stun Gun, Stick Man, Mongolian Cavalry and RR Sand Dollar. Paul trained with his father between 2009 and 2015 winning 98 races including the 2011, 2012 and 2013 New Zealand Cup with Terror To Love. Tom Martin was bred by Julie Davie, Peter Cummings and the late Father Dan Cummings of Tuapeka Lodge and is out of the Life Sign mare Raindowne.   Raindowne was bought by John and Judy Stiven of Arden Lodge in 2016 and they’ve bred a Bettor Delight filly out of the mare which has just turned three, a Captaintreacherous filly which is two and they have a yearling colt by the same sire.   Bruce Stewart

By Jonny Turner    All Stars filly Avana added another chapter to the massive legacy left by the late Tuapeka Lodge breeder Father Dan Cummings when she won at Ascot Park on Thursday. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained filly became yet another black-type performer for the Tuapeka Lodge Racing syndicate when she scored in a 1-57.1 mile rate in race 3. Cummings, who died in March, and his keen eye for a talented standardbred were behind the selecting of Avana, who was knocked down to Purdon and Rasmussen’s All Stars stable at NZB Standardbred’s 2019 yearling sale. After being snapped up for what now looks a bargain price of $16,000, the filly’s ownership was split between the Tuapeka Lodge syndicate, which Cummings formed with his brother, Peter, and sister Julie Davies, and Braeden and Caroline Whitelock. It is not just Cummings’ keen eye for a smart standardbred that should get credit following Avana’s win. When the filly paced professionally throughout her debut for driver Tim Williams it put the breaking in and horsemanship skills of the man known throughout New Zealand harness racing circles simply as ‘Father Dan’ on display once again. “It would be a pretty special win for the owners,” Williams said. “Father Dan and Braeden and Caroline were long-time friends and they decided to pick this filly out at the sales.” “And they didn’t pay that much for her either.” “Father Dan did the early work with her and he actually gave her a workout before she came up to Mark and Natalie’s.” Avana found herself back in the deep south as part of a four-horse team the All Stars barn sent to Ascot Park on Thursday. With two horses in each of two races, it was mission complete when Rock Legend followed up Avana’s win by taking out race 3. “They came down here to split them up from some of our other horses and also because the trip away does them a lot of good,” Williams said. “Some of them would have ended up in the race that we have eight horses in at Addington.” “So, Mark decided to send these ones down here.” The influence of the late Father Dan Cummings and his family on yesterday’s meeting did not end with Ivana. When Tom Martin powered to an impressive victory in race 9 its credited the late Cummings and his brother and sister with a breeding victory. The trio bred the towering Mach Three pacer from Life Sign mare, Raindowne, and sold him to trainer Graham Court at the 2018 national yearling sales in Christchurch. Trainer Brain Norman continued his good momentum after a shift from South Otago to Eastern Southland when Postgrad Success won race 2 on Thursday. Norman returned to the Gore area late last season, where he had trained for more than two decades, after an eight-year stint at Tahakopa. Postgrad Success continued Norman’s good form since the shift when winning her debut for driver Nathan Williamson. The trainer is hopeful that scoring first up does not take the early momentum of out the 4yr-old’s career. “Winning first up is tough for them because they just don’t have that ringcraft,” Norman said. “But she has got a bit of ability and Nathan seems to think she will handle the next grade up.” Windsor has been the flag-bearer for Norman since his move, winning twice and running fourth in three post-lockdown starts. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Ascot Park again today with a nine race program starting at 12:17pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Invercargill. Ascot Park Thursday 6th August 2020   Race 1 Racing Minister likely leader who comes out of a strong field last week. Major player in this field…… Hayden Bromac good fourth last start and getting fitter with racing. Can place……. Miss Auckland  nearly landed a betting plunge last start but tricky draw. Place chances best….. A Rocknroll Maid running on two starts ago and draw suits. Place hope here. Selections:  Racing Minister (3),   Hayden Bromac (2),   A Rocknroll Maid (10),    Miss Auckland  (8)   Race 2 American Viking broke early last start but has ability. Good winning claims with manners……. The Artful Dodger racing well but a bit one paced. Good winning claims if the pace is on all the way…… Robo Trouble  has been racing ok and only needs a slight improvement to run in the money here…… Maranatha Atlas disappointing last start but two good fourths previously. Can win with manners Selections:  American Viking (1),   The Artful Dodger (9),   Robo Trouble  (6),    Maranatha Atlas (8)   Race 3 Avana good at trials and from a strike rate stable. Top selection here…… Tres Chic big run for second last start and drawn ok. Can win…. Wattlebank Lass good draw and second last start was good. Not the worst here and has winning claims at longer odds…… Summer Pants getting fitter with racing and respect Canterbury horses coming South. Include Selections   Avana (12),   Wattlebank Lass (1),  Tres Chic (10),  Summer Pants (2)   Race 4 Aladdin big drop in grade from what he has been racing. Top chance who should be first or second….. Rock Legend from the powerful stable and could provide a stable quinella here….. Don't Quote Me racing ok and is getting fitter. Top three player with luck…. Mongolian Conqueror another Canterbury raider who has been ok at workouts. Include Selections:  Aladdin (2),   Rock Legend (8),   Mongolian Conqueror (7),    Don't Quote Me (3)   Race 5 Shot In The Dark big run after breaking last start and drawn ok. Can win with luck….. Dreaminsover has a bit of ability and raced at Addington last start. Needs the right trip but can finish into the placings… Tactical Change thereabouts his last couple. Getting fitter and top three player at good odds….. Jabali  another who has been racing ok and who is due a winning turn Top three claims with manners. Selections:  Shot In The Dark (4),   Dreaminsover (10),   Tactical Change (6),    Jabali  (12)   Race 6 Laterintheday running on last start in a strong field. Should be hard to beat with top driver booked…… American Eyretime has been racing well and getting fitter. Tricky draw but will probably head forward and can win ….. Swell Time ok last start and will improve off that run. Top three chance from the draw….. Bardot ok last start and another with claims in what is an even field. Selections:  Laterintheday (4),  American Eyretime (7),   Swell Time (2),    Bardot (8)   Race 7 Airwaves big on ability and has been freshened. Likely to head forward and will be hard to beat if he can find the front early ….. Fireforefiddle getting fitter with racing and about to strike form. Top three player.…… Dream Of Glory in good from but draw a concern here. Winning hopes here if he can get handy before the home turn…… My Mate Ben running good races and drawn well here. Include Selections:  Airwaves (5),   Fireforefiddle (11),   Dream Of Glory (13),    My Mate Ben (3)   Race 8 Spotlight The Valley good last start and top driver booked. Can get some money at big odds.……. Tweedledee running good races in strong fields. Should be in the money with luck…… Humble Ladd in good form but handicap counts against.  Can be a player with a swift beginning….. Jimmy Carter racing well in Canterbury and is is still on the improve. Place claims here. Selections:  Tweedledee (11),   Jimmy Carter (14),   Humble Ladd (15),    Spotlight The Valley (8)   Race 9 Tom Martin down from racing strong Canterbury fields and good fourth last week. Big improver and one of the leading chances here.……. Wecandream in good form and should handle the rise in grade. Include…… Rocknroll King tricky draw but will head forward. Can run a place and good last week….. Major Meister back in winning form last week and better draw. Can win again Selections:  Tom Martin (11),   Wecandream (5),   Rocknroll King (7),    Major Meister (4)     Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    What was to be a regular training run during lockdown has again paid dividends for Mosgiel trainer Craig Buchan, who produced Top Pocket Chance to win at Ascot Park on Thursday. The 4yr-old pacer turned squaregaiter continued his rapid progression in his new gait when powering to his second consecutive trotting victory in race 3 for driver Brad Williamson. What was to be just another piece of trackwork has proven to be the starting point in the then 22-start maiden pacer propelling himself towards trotting’s middle grades. Buchan set out to give the Washington VC gelding some galloping work, but the horse only wanted to be in one gait. “It was during the lockdown, I don’t use galloping pacemakers or anything like that, but I took him out and tried to give him a gallop.” “All he wanted to do was trot.” “He is a pretty natural trotter, he has only got pretty light shoes on all around.” Top Pocket Chance produced an excellent first up run as a squaregaiter when second behind the talented Madrik. After a third behind Arc De Triomphe the horse’s form dropped away for three starts before he scored a brilliant front running win at Ascot Park two weeks ago. “He was starting to feel his feet a bit, I think,” Buchan said. “But when he won last time Brad said he could win his next start straight away.” Though he looks to have a good future as a trotter, Top Pocket Chance’s pacing career is not necessarily over. “He could still win a race as a pacer, he could line up straight away if you wanted to,” Buchan said. All of sire Washington VC’s trotting 10 wins have been produced by Otago trainers. Top Pocket Chance accounts for two of them and the former Phil Williamson trained gelding, Blazing Under Fire, winning the other eight. Blazing Under Fire has gone on to win another 12 races in Australia. There was plenty of fallout from former Otago horseman Rory McIlwrick producing outsider Mr Olympus to win in race 1. The 4yr-old trotter left punters reeling after he strode to his maiden victory at $60 odds. His win also left owner, Carol Graham scrambling to leave the course. Graham, who is a nurse, was due to clock in at work as her horse was striding around the home turn. “Carol was due at work when we were in the back straight, but he was looking pretty good so she stayed and watched him,” McIlwrick said. Graham races the trotter with her father, Owen Lawrence, who trains the horse. McIlwrick now lives in Southland with Graham and helps her and Lawrence with their racing team. “Getting a win should help pay for my tea,” McIlwrick quipped. “He is a nice horse, he is pretty untapped and has a lot to learn.” “It has been a good run for Owen and Carol after Miss Auckland ran second last week.” “I am rapt for them.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

For the second time in as many years West Melton driver John Morrison has won the New Zealand Junior Drivers Premiership. Going into today’s Southern Harness meeting at Ascot Park Morrison was on thirty three wins with Northern driver Dylan Ferguson. In the EH Ball ITM Mobile Pace driving Miss Impression he came with a late run up the passing lane to snap victory by a length and a quarter from Lite Percussion, which finished wide out. This year the junior drivers premiership has been very competitive with Ferguson, Ben Hope and Sheree Tomlinson all vying for the top slot with Morrison. “There’s a great bunch of young drivers out there now. They all do the work and are willing to travel. I’ve been lucky because I can sneak down here and I’ve usually had a few drives. If I didn’t have that I’d probably be struggling really,” he said. Morrison works for West Melton trainer Malcolm Shinn who trains Miss Impression and says the three year old filly is likely to return to the province in the new season for the Southland Oaks. Miss Impression after winning for John Morrison             -Photo Bruce Stewart He says he’s grateful to Shinn who helped start his career as a reinsman. “Back when I was a young fella I hadn’t had many drives. I’d probably only won five races and I was lucky (that) he put me on Seaswift Joy. She kicked my driving career off because she was a pretty good horse.” He says one of the highlights of the season was winning the Waimate Cup on Di Caprio. “I like driving on the grass. He’s probably the best horse I’ve got to drive at the moment. That win was probably the main highlight for the season.” Morrison has won four races on the Brian O’Meara trained pacer and says he has one more season driving as a junior. “I’m the old fella out there. I’ve got one more season so I’m on the way out (laughter).” Meanwhile See Ya Write capped off a great three year old season by winning the Yaldhurst Hotel Handicap Pace. See Ya Write                            -Photo Bruce Stewart The Sportswriter gelding owned by the Test Syndicate was superbly handled by the country’s leading reinsman Blair Orange who never left the inside running line. Orange saved ground all the way to the top of the straight before encouraging See Ya Write up the passing lane to beat Rocknroll King by a nose. The win was the horses fourth this season from just ten starts. He has won all of his three post Covid starts at Ascot Park.   Bruce Stewart

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Ascot Park again today with a ten race program starting at 12:24pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Invercargill.   Invercargill Thursday 30th July 2020   Race 1 The Artful Dodger good run after an early gallop at Addington last week. Top selection…… Maranatha Atlas  has been ok in similar fields and is a good winning chance this week.Include……. Random Jude trainer has two in the race and we will go with John Morrisons choice here. Trial form has been ok….. It's Summertime can trot but manners a worry. One for longer odds. Selections:  The Artful Dodger (11),   Maranatha Atlas  (10),   Random Jude (3),    It's Summertime (2)   Race 2 Major Punter good win at his first start and likely to go on with it now. Good winning claims……. Chloe's Joy finally lands a decent draw and has had a trainer change. Needed…… Lock It In Eddie drawn for a cosy run on the fence. One for longer place odds in this field…… Hazer battled on well last start and getting fitter now. Not the worst for a rough place chance. Selections:  Major Punter (3),   Chloe's Joy (2),   Lock It In Eddie (9),    Hazer (4)   Race 3 Spotlight The Valley getting better with racing and stand start conditions suit. Can run top three here…… Top Pocket Chance getting better with racing and easy win last start. Can handle the rise in grade and must be incuded…. Rydgemont Milly normally running on in her races and a chance to gain another placing in this field…… Ruby Seddon  a gallop last start put paid to her chances. Gear change this week and can win with manners. Selections:  Spotlight The Valley (7),   Top Pocket Chance (3),   Rydgemont Milly (10),    Ruby Seddon  (9)   Race 4 Jabali form is good and might get an easier run this week. Has a good winning chance from the better draw….. Annie Fitz  has been running on and the draw should suit her style of racing.Include….. Mighty George racing well and is getting fitter. Top three player with luck….. Frank The Tank likely to go forward and lead. Needs to bring his a-game but can win with a soft trip in front. Selections:  Jabali (3),   Annie Fitz  (1),   Mighty George (4),    Frank The Tank (6)   Race 5 La La Land  finally lands a good draw. Has good form and is top selection here….. Racing Minister draws the front and has gate speed. Form is consistently in the top half dozen and place likely again here.Needed…… Unsurpassable thereabouts his first two runs. Will need luck but can place….. Lynryd Skynryd another who has been racing ok and driver change this week. Top three claims with luck. Selections:  La La Land  (2),   Racing Minister (6),   Unsurpassable (11),    Lynryd Skynryd (8)   Race 6 Champagneandwine gets into a winnable race for her. Should be hard to beat even from the wide draw…… Wee Ring The Changes has been racing at Addington and had a tough run last start. Place claims at longer odds….. Dangerous ok last start and will improve off that run. Top three chance….. Better Galleon drawn to get a run through early and he has been getting better with racing. Winning claims. Selections:  Champagneandwine (7),  Wee Ring The Changes (5),   Dangerous (2),    Better Galleon (1)   Race 7 Dream Of Glory  raced well in a top fields last start. Trailing draw and can win….. Altimeter good third last start and he should head forward early. Winning claims here.…… Major Watson was a bit disappointing last start but give another chance. Has a decent reputation and can win…… Art Courage ok last start and getting better with racing. One for longer odds Selections:  Dream Of Glory  (9),   Altimeter (4),   Major Watson (7),    Art Courage (3)   Race 8 Robyns Playboy Easy win last start in a strong field. One of the leading chances here and top selection.……. Stylish Memphis coming in fresh but not sure she can give the favourite a start and a beating. Can still win…… See Ya Write  freshened but in good form. Can run a place….. Rocknroll King better last start and is is still on the improve. Should get a cosy run and winning claims here. Selections:  Robyns Playboy (5),   Stylish Memphis (6),   Rocknroll King (2),    See Ya Write  (4)   Race 9 Chinese Whisper very easy win last start  One of the leading chances here.……. Rydgemont Son big run for third last start at Addington. Winning claims…… Fanny Hill has the draw to be handy in the race. Can run a place….. Tweedledee in good form but strong field. Place chances best. Selections:  Chinese Whisper(5),   Rydgemont Son (9),   Fanny Hill  (3),    Tweedledee (3)   Race 10 Sweet Lizzie tidy at workouts and looks stronger this time in. Should go close here.……. Insarchatwist unlucky last start and has ability. Winning claims in this field…… Ride In A Concorde likely leader who has good form. Place chance again here….. Mary Robyn looks to have quite a bit of ability cosy fence draw. Place chance. Selections:  Sweet Lizzie (1),   Insarchatwist (4),   Ride In A Concorde (7),    Mary Robyn (9)     Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner, NZ Harness News Desk    Trainer Mark Jones has warned Stylish Memphis will be relying heavily on her class when she returns to racing at Ascot Park on Thursday. The interruption of lockdown and the rescheduling of the Southland Oaks final means Jones has been forced to line the star filly up below her peak fitness. The Canterbury trainer’s hand has been forced because Stylish Memphis must start at Thursday’s meeting to qualify for the Group 2 feature, which will be run in October. “Class will take her a long way, but I don’t think she can beat Robyns Playboy, fitness wise,” Jones said. “She is probably about 75% fit - I haven’t even taken her off the place.” “When the final popped up again we brought her back in to work, so she has been in a race against time.” Stylish Memphis’ main upcoming aims – the Southland Oaks final and the Nevele R Stud Fillies Series Final – are not until October, which demonstrates how far she is from her absolute peak. “On Thursday she is there to qualify and she is there to win, but she is probably nowhere near ready.” “Her next races are not until October, so she will head home after Friday and have another break and then we will get her ready.” Despite Stylish Memphis’ fitness being against her, Jones would be far from surprised if the classy filly won. “Being a small field, she probably doesn’t have to go around them and she is pretty quick if she is saved up.” “She is a very good horse, she doesn’t show a lot at home, but on race day she can come out and show she can do it.” Jones described the 3-year-old as a sensible filly who should handle her first standing start when she faces up to the 30m mark in Thursday’s 2700m feature pace. Her main rival, Robyns Playboy, will start from the 20m mark, with four horses in front of him on the front line.   The 4-year-old bolted in by five lengths in an emphatic return to racing at Ascot Park last week. Group race performer Sweet Lizzie is another smart filly stepping out at Ascot Park on Thursday. Trainer Tony Stratford will line the 2-year-old up for the first time since March with the benefit of a Winton workout, which she won comfortably. Stratford hunted the filly out at the start of the 2400m event to give her some gate practice which has become vital after she drew barrier 1 in race 10. “She hasn’t been asked to run the gate yet, she had to go back from wide draws in her first three starts.” “That is why I sent her forward at the workouts, in case she drew handy.” “She is a smart filly and she is probably going to be paying less than $2, so she is going to have to come out of the gate on Thursday.” Major Punter was impressive, but a little green when winning his debut at Ascot Park for Stratford earlier this month. The trainer expects to see a more tractable version of the 2-year-old in race 2. “I have put a murphy [blind] on him this week and I would be surprised if he didn’t steer a lot better.” “He is a classy horse and he is going to be hard to beat.” Stratford also starts Altimeter, a leading chance in race 7.   Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

There was a touch of arrogance in the win by Robyns Playboy at Ascot Park yesterday, when the gelding made a stunning return to racing, winning by five and a half lengths on a three degrees afternoon and running the 2200 metres in 2-41.9. “He’s been just working the house down at home. I was a bit worried that he may not have done enough work. We had him at the workouts last Friday and he ran home in 54.8 without the plug being pulled so we were pretty confident,” said Ross Wilson who trains the four year old in partnership with son Chris. Robyns Playboy was taken straight to the front by junior driver Kerryn Tomlinson and she let the gelding roll along. It was a change in future for the son of Shadow Play who had only won twice in thirteen starts in the first part of the season. “He had a weepy eye and he was only ever ninety percent right. He’d work okay at home and when he went to the races he’d lack that bit of kick. This time in, he’s just a different horse.” And Wilson says the New Zealand Cup is now on the radar. “It’s getting near the end of my old career. I’ve never had one in the Cup so hopefully this one’s the fella.” He’s hoping he doesn’t have to travel too much prior to the Cup and feels there’s a good pool of horses in Southland to generate races for the tighter assessed horse in the province. “There’s quite a few good class horses down here now with Blackies Alister Black) and Nathan Williamson’s horses so we have enough horses to have a race.  It’ll be interesting. We’ll aim to go to the Hannon and get a line on him.” Winning connections                                      – Photo Bruce Stewart The win went some way to compensating the late scratching of stablemate Robyns Shadow in an earlier race. “It wrecked my all ups. He lives out in the paddock and with the frosts he was a bit tender in the feet. He doesn’t like being boxed but he’ll have to be boxed for a while.” Meanwhile the Graeme Anderson trained American Lightning continued on his winning way by accounting for the R52-R56 horses. The two year old was driven like the best horse in the race by Matty Williamson and taken straight to the front. It’s a role that appears not to suit him as he once again knocked off at the finish and only won by three quarters of a length. The American Ideal colt has now won three of his four starts.   Bruce Stewart

The ‘Tact’ breed has been active in Southland for a long time and it looks like the next good horse from the harness racing breed developed by the late Derek Dynes has arrived. At Ascot Park yesterday, Tact Fergie  was taken straight to the top from Barrier Three by driver Brent Barclay and there he stayed, winning by a length from Tres Chic with plenty in hand . “I think a bit of him. We sold the brother (Tact Major) for good money but I always thought this horse had more potential. He always felt as though he had a lot of ability,” said trainer Trevor Proctor. Tact Fergie is owned by Proctor and partner Diane Dynes, and today’s win was special for the Dynes family. Proctor said all the horses are named after Derek’s grandchildren.” “We named him after Fergie who’s four tomorrow. He was up at Starship Hospital with his sister Charlotte who’s eight and undergoing fifteen months of treatment. The Auckland Blues were there, Beauden Barrett and a couple of others.  Fergie managed to get the camera off them. He didn’t know who the Blues were initially. He took about two hundred photos in a short space of time and he was walking around saying ‘I work for the Blues.” That is why,  offers from Sydney based trainer Tim Butt have been turned down to date. “I said to Tim that I was struggling to let him go because he was named after a family member. He does touch a knee and he’d be better off over there. The farrier here has finally got him right but on a big track like Menangle and with Tim training him I imagine he’d improve.” The horse has also received a strong endorsement from the normally conservative Brent Barclay. “Barclay doesn’t often say he likes horses but he said he liked this one. He should have said that about Tact Tama. I would have kept him round for a few races (laughter).” Diane’s sister Elaine daughter Hayley had breast cancer last year. “And now Hayley’s daughter Charlotte (Fergie’s sister) is in Starship. They set up a Give a Little page and it’s raised $100,000.  Hayley can’t work because she has to be in Auckland and she has two other little children, Fergie and Maggie,” said Diane. Tact Fergie is out of the New York Motoring mare Tact Hayley who’s proved to be a broodmare gem for the the Dynes family. She’s the dam of Tact Hayley Jane (10 wins), Tact Lizzie (10), Spectactular (8) and Tact Major (14). Meanwhile the long established Southland based syndicate The Southern Oddfellows Syndicate are looking for new members. The syndicate has a rising two year old by A Rocknroll Dance out of the unraced Washington VC mare Judes VC.  Judes VC is out of the nine win Soky’s Atom mare Highview Jude. The gelding, named VC Rock is in training with Ascot Park trainer Murray Brown. If you’re keen to join this well run syndicate contact Neil Popham of 027-229-5122.   Bruce Stewart

By Jonny Turner    Late season bids to qualify for the Southland Oaks and Southern Supremacy Stakes have helped set up a blockbuster feature pace at Ascot Park on Thursday. Canterbury 3yr-olds William Wallace and Lulu Le Mans will have to be on their game to rack up qualifying dollars for the group 2 features when they take on some Southland’s most progressive pacers. The pair will clash with established 4yr-old Robyns Playboy, the improving Forsure and rising Southern star Love On The Rocks. The latter has shot towards the top of the Southern Supremacy Stakes leader board when turning heads with three emphatic post lockdown wins. Trainer-driver Kirstin Barclay is confident Love On The Rocks’ motor will measure up with those of his more experienced rivals when faces his toughest test in race 8. “This will be tough for him, there are some really nice horses in there.” “I definitely think ability-wise he can measure up to them, but only a few weeks ago he was a maiden.” “His lack of experience compared to horses like Robyns Playboy, who has been in that grade for a while, could be the problem.” Moulding Love On The Rocks from a wayward maiden in to a rising star has seen Barclay patiently handle the 3yr-old early in his races. That is likely to be the case again on Thursday unless he feels drastically improved behind the gate in what will be his second start off the unruly position. “If he did things right we might drive him a bit differently, but it just depends on the first 100m.” Southland Oaks and Southern Supremacy Stakes qualifying – which requires 3yr-olds to have two starts at Southern Harness meetings before the end of the season – has also helped spice up race 9. In her second qualifying attempt, Mitchell Kerr trained filly A Taste Of Honey will again have to overcome barrier 1 on the second row to win. The 3yr-old clashes with in-form Southland Oaks contender American Eyretime, fellow Canterbury raider Miss Impression and emphatic recent winner Yankee Party. Matthew Williamson looks a driver to follow in the remaining races at Ascot Park. The reinsman pairs with two excellent chances from Graeme Anderson’s stable in Tres Chic (race 3) and American Lightning (race 7). Tres Chic produced a big debut effort when recovering to run seventh after an early gallop at Ascot Park last weekend. “Graeme has put on overcheck on her, which should help and if she behaves she should be a pretty good chance.” “But, I am a bit weary about Tact Fergie, who has been trialling really nice.” American Lightning looks close to a racetrack certainty after his excellent first up win last weekend. “He won pretty easy – he only does what he has to – but he did ran a pretty good time.” “It is a little bit of a step up this week, but he should be pretty hard to beat.” Williamson also drives Tactical Change for Anderson in race 6. The reinsman has opted for Funky Monkey (barrier 2) ahead of her stablemate The Artful Dodger (barrier 8) in race 4. Funky Monkey went a good race behind Top Pocket Chance at Ascot Park last weekend, while The Artful Dodger was solid when working hard and running fifth at Addington behind Wanna Play Me. “I think with the draws Funky Monkey will be the better chance.” “The Artful Dodger is still working on his gait and being out wide, it won’t help.” “The Funky Monkey is not a bad horse and I think she will go on to win a few races.” Another of the Phil Williamson barn, Horse Of Course, looks the best of Williamson’s remaining chances on Thursday in race 2. “He has been pretty consistent lately and he should go another good race.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Ascot Park again today with a nine race program starting at 1:01pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Invercargill.   Invercargill Thursday 23rd July 2020   Race 1 Von Art  running on ok last start and driver change here. Top selection and can win with a run closer to the speed…… Miss Auckland could end up with a nice trip here from the draw. Not the worst at bolters odds …… Narcissist  good third two starts ago and down from Canterbury top three player…….      Racing Minister  in good form and could be following the early leader here. Needed. Selections:  Von Art  (4),   Racing Minister  (9),   Miss Auckland (1),    Narcissist (3)   Race 2 Afterburner mobile will suit him here and getting closer to top form. Can win at good odds….. Horse Of Course  Been racing in Canterbury last start which is good form for this. Include.…….. Da Moons Mission ok last start and will be improved. Winning claims……. Rydgemont Milly has been disappointing but gets her chance here. Place chances best. Selections:  Afterburner (6),   Horse Of Course (7),   Da Moons Mission (5),    Rydgemont Milly (8)   Race 3 Tact Fergie first start but stable can get them winning first up. Has won nearly all his trials and workouts and will start hot fav here……. Tres Chic galloped last start with money on. Has ability and can test the favourite .…. Archaic Lustre could get a suck along in the trail here and not the worst at bolters odds…. La La Land in top form and a good winning chance if she can clear traffic. Include in combinations Selections:  Tact Fergie (2),   Tres Chic (3),   Archaic Lustre (1),   La La Land (9)   Race 4 Funky Monkey Tidy second here last start. Good winning claims in this field…..  The Artful Dodger  his form is ok in Canterbury and mobile will suit. Should be a major player in this field….. Jannah Jaccka has been a bit disappointing but has ability. Can win but place chances best…..         Evermore second row draw but top driver on. Place claims here Selections:  Funky Monkey (3),   The Artful Dodger (8),   Jannah Jaccka (5)   Evermore (10)   Race 5 Jabali racing well and drawn to get a run through early. One of the leading chances in this race and top selection….. Bettors Atom two good runs this campaign and a place hope again here….. Shot In The Dark good trailing draw and is getting fitter with racing.Place hopes best. …  To Ri Caitlin has been freshened after a disappointing run last start. Top four player here in her best form Selections:  Jabali (10),   Bettors Atom (3),   Shot In The Dark (9),    To Ri Caitlin (11)   Race 6 Wecandream back on the front row draw for this. Should be hard to beat and will start favourite here…… Proviseur has Addington form and gets a good draw to work with. One of the better chances in this field….. Pete's Dash should get a run through early and has place claims in this field….. My Georgie Boy bobs up when you least expect it. Big odds available but can place Selections:  Wecandream (4),  Proviseur (3),   My Georgie Boy (2),    Pete's Dash (9)   Race 7 American Lightning Fresh up win was excellent and should win this easily on that form. Short odds available.…… Champagneandwine has Addington form and gets her chance here. Looks a good place bet in this….. Dangerous  coming in fresh and top driver booked. Could sneak a place here….. Robyns Shadow good run to win last start but this is a big step up. Outside place chance Selections:  American Lightning (6),  Champagneandwine (4),   Dangerous  (1),    Robyns Shadow (9)   Race 8 William Wallace has been ok in strong Addington fields. Good draw here and top selection….. Lulu Le Mans tricky draw but went well last start at Addington. Will be running on……            Franco Huntington  drawn to get a good run in transit and getting fitter. Outside place hopes here…..  Love On The Rocks  another with good form and going places. Winning claims with a good run in transit Selections:  William Wallace (3)   Lulu Le Mans  (10),   Love On The Rocks  (6),    Franco Huntington  (1)   Race 9 A Taste Of Honey good win fresh up but tricky draw. Top driver is on and good winning claims if she can clear traffic….. Laterintheday a bit one paced but good enough to be a major threat in this field on his trial form….. Yankee Party easy winner last start and will be improved. Major player here….. American Eyretime in great form and possible early leader. Top four chance Selections:  A Taste Of Honey (9),   Yankee Party (11),   Laterintheday (2),    American Eyretime (5)   Harnesslink Media

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk    When Opawa Mach won the second at Invercargill yesterday it gave Michael House a milestone that’s been 22 years in the making. It was triumph number 500 for the Canterbury-based trainer and his “Red Army”. Driven by Sam Ottley Opawa Mach ($10.30 and $3) was three back the fence most of the trip only for the gaps to open on the final bend. The seven year old Mach Three mare then slipped up the passing lane to win by half a head. While based at Prebbleton just outside Christchurch, House also has stables at Invercargill and Pukekohe, and has raced at all four venues post lockdown (Alexandra Park, Cambridge, Addington and Ascot park). Sometimes outspoken, the effervescent House is seen as an innovator and someone prepared to take risks when it comes to racing and in business. For instance his decision to take big teams to Palmerston North has paid big dividends in recent years. He had 62 winners there in 2019 as he racked up a career high 98 wins for the season. This year has been his second best season winners-wise, with 66 victories from 593 starts. His first season as a trainer was 1988. He’s also had 47 wins as a driver. This season he’s currently third in premiership with 66 wins, three behind Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, and Robert Dunn on 91. In two weeks he will win his first ever training premiership. According to Harness Racing New Zealand figures House becomes the 44th trainer to reach 500 wins either training individually or in partnership with someone else. Top of the pile are the all-powerful Purdons, they are the top three by a stretch. Barry Purdon has 2525 wins in total. That includes 940 on his own, 1463 in partnership with his father Roy and 122 with Scott Phelan. Barry’s younger brother Mark Purdon is second on 2299 (908 on his own,558 with Grant Payne and 833 with Natalie Rasmussen). Roy Purdon, the patriarch of racing’s first family, has 2020 wins, with 557 on his own, before linking up with Barry (1463). The next big training milestone could well come from Tony Herlihy, he has 974 wins at the moment, and just happens to be Mark and Barry Purdon’s brother in law.

Winton reinsman Brent Barclay scored a double at Ascot Park today. The first came in the Tuapeka Lodge Mobile Pace when the well-bred Maximus Prost beat a handy maiden field. The American Ideal three year old qualified before lockdown before having an enforced spell. He had two workouts on his home course prior to his debut today, running second to the talented Tact Fergie before winning last Friday. “He went real good at the workouts. He’d been working well at home. Today he got a good draw and he didn’t have to do any work early. The race panned out well for him,” said trainer Lauren Pearson. Barclay settled Maximus Prost back early before following up Unsurpassable inside the last 500 metres. He then let him run down the outside of the track to win easily by a length and a half from a game pacemaker Lynryd Skynryn. And the plan now? “The idea was to qualify him and perhaps win a race but there’s been a few people looking at him to buy. If the money’s right I’m picking he could be gone.” Maximus Prost is out of the Christian Cullen mare Summer Ale. Her early foals Summertime Lizzie and Argyle Beach each won two races for Ascot Park trainer Wayne Adam before heading to Australia. Summertime Lizzie won a further ten races while Argyle Beach has won  a further eighteen. Trainer Lauren Pearson, Maximus Prost, Brent Barclay, Stewie Somerville and John Reid – Photo Bruce Stewart “Unfortunately Summer Ale died this year after foaling. They have this fella, a filly (Bettor’s Delight) and a weanling colt, (Captaintreacherous) and that’s it.” Pearson trained Summer Ale’s full brother Montecrengle to win his first two races. He went on to win a further twelve for a variety of other trainers. Barclay’s other win today came with the consistent Nota Bene Denario owned by the Symons. The Well Said gelding had run second seven times in his previous eleven starts and was rewarded with a win today. Trained by Brett Gray, Nota Bene Denario settled in the outside running line. At the 400 Barclay moved him out three wide and he came home nicely to beat Change Is Good by a length and a half. The gelding last won at Winton in April 2019.   Bruce Stewart

There was a lot to like about American Lightning’s win at Ascot Park today. The two year old colt not only beat older more seasoned rivals, but he had to be gutsy to withstand the serious challenge that was dished up to him. From gate three driver Matthew Williamson pushed the colt forward and he lead into the first bend but had to be slapped up early to keep his mind on the job. “He’s a pretty laid back horse who is better following other horses,” he said. From there he took control of the early part of the race. “Today was an average field and we had to give him a chance to lead and do the job. He’s better running off their backs.” With just over a lap to run Brent Barclay speared Gomeo Denario forward and American Lightning was put under pressure, but Williamson said it didn’t seem to bother him. “He’s never one to pull. He was still asleep then. It wasn’t really an attack that was worrying him.  I was happy for the other horse to sit there because it kept his mind on the job.” At the 350 Williamson had a look round and saw that the field was battling behind him. At the top of the straight American Lightning was let go and he ran down to the line to beat the late finishing Toby O’Gara by two and a half lengths. The winning time of 2-43.8 was impressive for this time of year. It was the American Ideal colt’s second win, both achieved at Ascot Park. His only other start was in the Kindergarten Stakes when he ran third – the race was won by First Class. “He’s got nice speed and stamina. He’s got the makings of a good horse but he just needs to learn the game a wee bit. He’s a colt still and it’s just whether Graeme thinks he needs to lose his privileges (to be gelded). It might wake him up because he’s just a wee bit smart about things at the moment. He does what he has to rather than what he’s told.” Meanwhile quality trotter Chinese Whisper finally did things right to win his third race in his short career so far. The Sundon four year old has been getting things wrong this season. After a wee bobble and a skip, trainer driver Nathan Williamson got the talented trotter away wide out. Once he found his rhythm he took the gelding to the lead and there he stayed. He trotted down to the line under a hold with his ear plugs still in place to beat Fanny Hill by four and three quarter lengths, running his last 800 metres in 57 seconds. The Mitchell Kerr trained A Delightful Act easily won her race. The Bettor’s Delight three year old filly beat Dream Of Glory by a length and a half. If she’s to run in the rescheduled Southland Oaks she’ll need to start once more in the south over the next two weeks in order to earn enough stake money to run in the Group Three final.   Bruce Stewart

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Ascot Park again today with a nine race program starting at 12:50pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Invercargill. Invercargill Thursday 16th July 2020   Race 1 Top Pocket Chance  unlucky last start and driver change here. Top selection and can win with manners…… Midnight Memories  could end up with a nice trip here from the draw. Top three player……Muchacha Bonita good second last start and getting better with racing, can hold form here…….Maranatha Atlas he caught the eye getting home late last start and should be improved.Winning claims. Selections:  Top Pocket Chance  (4),   Midnight Memories (1),   Muchacha Bonita (6),    Maranatha Atlas (10)   Race 2 Dreaminsover good run fresh up for a new stable and better draw here. Can run a place at good odds….. Opawa Mach  has the ideal draw at barrier one. Placed from there two starts ago,needed.…….. The Red Robber ok last start and will be improved.Top driver on and can win……. Targaryen has been disappointing but getting better with racing. Place chances best. Selections:  Dreaminsover (5),   Opawa Mach   (1),   The Red Robber (2),    Targaryen (3)   Race 3 Tres Chic first start but stable can get them winning first up. Top selection……. Von Art she went some tidy races last campaign and has been freshened for this. Place hope at longer odds .…. Ride In A Concorde improved showing last start fighting on well after looking beaten. Is stronger and can win…. Fomo good at workouts and down from Canterbury. Include in combinations Selections:  Tres Chic (4),   Von Art (12),   Ride In A Concorde (6),   Fomo (2)   Race 4 Madrik  Tidy win first up before galloping his next start. Good winning claims…..  Springbank Mason  his form is very good and decent draw to work with. Should be a major player in this field….. Da Moons Mission has been a bit disappointing but has ability. Can win but place chances best….. Miss Bamboocha second row draw but she will be running on late again. Place claims here Selections:  Madrik (7),   Springbank Mason  (5),   Da Moons Mission (9),    Miss Bamboocha (11)   Race 5 A Delightful Act down from Canterbury and has good Addington form. One of the leading chances in this race and top selection….. Tartan Trilogy good run first up this campaign and a place hope again here….. Altimeter good draw and should trail the favourite.Place hopes best. … Chuckles deserved win last start and should go on with it. Top four player here Selections:  A Delightful Act (5),   Tartan Trilogy (6),   Altimeter (1),    Chuckles (8)   Race 6 American Lightning  Fresh up and workout form is tidy in the North Otago area. Should be hard to beat and will start hot favourite here…… Wee Ring The Changes has winning Addington form and gets his chance to repeat here. One of the better chances in this field….. Franco June should get a run through early and has place claims in this field….. My Georgie Boy bobs up when you least expect it. Big odds available but can place Selections:  American Lightning  (3),  Wee Ring The Changes (5),   My Georgie Boy (11),    Franco June (10)   Race 7 Maximus Prost Fresh up and workout form is tidy. Should be hard to beat and could be over the odds here…… Zambia has Addington form and gets his chance here. One of the better chances in this field….. Lynryd Skynryd ok at his last start and is at good money. Could sneak a place here….. Unsurpassable good run for third last start and better draw to play with here. Needed. Selections:  Maximus Prost (10),  Unsurpassable (2),   Zambia (7),    Lynryd Skynryd (3)   Race 8 Change Is Good has been ok in strong Addington fields. Tricky draw here but can win and will start favourite….. Deus Ex not the worst in this field from the draw. Possible early leader and has winning claims…… Nota Bene Denario drawn to get a good run in transit and getting fitter. One of the better chances in this field….. Wolfenstein another with early speed. Place chance if he can get to the pegs first Selections:  Change Is Good (7)   Deus Ex (6),   Nota Bene Denario (1),    Wolfenstein (3)   Race 9 Humble Lad big finish last start and hard to beat here in this smaller field. Top selection….. King Cassidy a bit one paced but good enough to be a major threat in this field….. Fanny Hill disappointing last start but conditions suit and can play a part here….. Chinese Whisper yet to live up to his big reputation but will be getting fitter with racing. Leave out at your peril. Selections:  Humble Lad (8),   King Cassidy  (6),   Chinese Whisper (5),    Fanny Hill (3)   Race 10 Braeview Kelly form is good and should get a run through from the draw. Winning claims again….. Yankee Party coming in fresh but has been ok at trials. One of the leading fancies here…. American Eyretime form is fantastic but stronger field here. Has winning claims and will probably go forward early…. Fancy last start was better and has been racing good Addington fields.Can win. Selections:  Braeview Kelly (10),   Yankee Party (7),  American Eyretime (6),    Fancy (11)     Harnesslink Media

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