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Tristan Larsen is applying the same patience to his career that he used to win with Zach Lowe at Invercargill on Wednesday. The 18-year-old reinsman produced the tiny pacer at the right time in a torrid run race on a soaked track for the first win of Zach Lowe’s career and the sixth of his driver's. “I was proud of him winning because he is only a little horse and it was very testing out there,” says Larsen, the son of trainer Kirk and Michelle. The three-year-old pacer was helped no end by Larsen’s patience in the race and the young man sees his career the same way. Like almost every junior driver who pulls the colours on and starts getting some wins Larsen would like to make the NZ Young Drivers Champs but says it that doesn’t happen this year that is okay, especially as the South Island boosts enormous depth in the junior driver’s ranks. “It is really only my first season of driving because last season was so cut short by Covid,” says Larsen. “I had one winner then and I have had five this season so I am going well. “So if I don’t get enough points for the series this season then hope fully I will learn and be better next season.”  That learning includes working for his father first in the morning, then Brett Gray later and then back to Dad’s late afternoon. “Dad wanted me to go learn from somebody else too and it has worked out well because I now have two people helping me learn.”  On the driving front Tristan says his listens to Brent Barclay as a guide as well as his Dad, even though he looks different in the cart from Kirk’s stiff back style. “I haven’t really moulded myself on another driver, I just try and be me. But Dad and I probably look different in the cart because he has more weight on him than me,” laughs Tristan. “Then again, I am only 65kgs.” Larsen’s drive may have been one of the best of the day but Samantha Ottley was the undoubted star of the driving three winners, giving her half the card of the races that were completed as race two was abandoned. Two of Ottley’s wins were for trainer Michael House taking him to 43 for the season only 10 behind the stalled Purdon/Rasmussen stable so he should pass them at some stage and push for second on the premiership.   by Michael Guerin

Robert Wilson could take a step closer to a personal best season at today’s Invercargill meeting. The Balfour trainer has three of his six racehorses in training engaged at the short and sharp seven-race meeting and all three appear to have at least each way chances. And if any of Tease My Tartan (race one), Galleons Future (race six) or Better Galleon (race seven) were to win it would take Wilson to 10 winners for the season, edging closer to his PB of 13. He recorded that number in the season ending 2017 and is on track for a similar total with good draws a help today. “The draws should definitely help us on Wednesday and we have two of them backing up from Sunday, which has worked well for us before.”Bettor Galleon is the best of Wilson’s trio, having already won five races from 56 starts, and she has high gate speed so looks ideally suited by the ace in the 2200m mobile last race today. “She can use that gate speed to lead early but to be honest she is better with a trail,” says Wilson. “So I’d like her to take a sit on the right horse and hopefully not get pushed too far back.”Bettor Galleon did just that when finishing second to the handy Chuckles last start and looks a good each way chance today. Wilson rates his still learning trotter Galleons Future, who has been luckless lately but looks to be in the right race today. He bolted in in a fast time four starts ago to leave maidens, got trapped wide at Addington when venturing north after that and was taken on in front in a far stronger field last start. “He is a good horse and if his manners are good he will be hard to beat,” says Wilson. “I thought enough of him to take him to Addington a couple of starts ago so he can win a race like this.”Tease My Tartan is a 23-start maiden so may never make it to Addington but Wilson would love to win a race with the now eight-year-old. “That would be very satisfying if we could,” he offers. “We almost sacked him last year but he is a lovely old horse and we have kept going and he has rewarded us with some better runs and I actually think he is getting better. “So I think there is a maiden win in him somewhere even though he doesn’t have much speed.” View the Invercargill fields click here!   by Michael Guerin

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Ascot Park today with a ten race program starting at 12.00pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. Riverton selections 13th February 2021 Best Bet:  R4 Quaddie VC Best Value:  R8 Lifes A Beach   Race 1 Noosa Beach Arizona Doll Honour Before Glory Northview Peg Selections:  Noosa Beach (4),   Arizona Doll (3),   Honour Before Glory (9)   Northview Peg (8)   Race 2 Lifes A Beach Debutante Party Change At The Top Tangier Tango Selections:  Lifes A Beach (4),   Debutante Party (1),   Change At The Top (3)   Tangier Tango (2)   Race 3 Calico Hill Vintage Rose Matrika Fireforefiddle Selections:  Calico Hill (10),   Vintage Rose (12),   Matrika (4)   Fireforefiddle (8)   Race 4 Quaddie VC Smilelikeyameanit Beauty Barry Wonthavtime Selections:  Quaddie VC (12),   Smilelikeyameanit (4),  Beauty Barry (6)   Wonthavtime (3)   Race 5 Miss Auckland Duke Of Dundee Baileys Diamond Lynryd Skynryd Selections:  Miss Auckland (3),   Duke Of Dundee (1),   Baileys Diamond (6)   Lynryd Skynryd (5)   Race 6 Tweedledee Get Lucky Kahress Cuchulainn   Selections:  Tweedledee (7),   Get Lucky (8),   Kahress (2)   Cuchulainn (9)   Race 7 Chuckles Trinity Star Shillelagh Benio Ben Selections:  Chuckles (6),   Trinity Star (11),   Shillelagh (10)   Benio Ben (3)   Race 8 Robyns Playboy U May Cullect Vintage Cheddar Johnny Mac Selections:  Robyns Playboy (7),   U May Cullect (8),  Vintage Cheddar (9)   Johnny Mac (4)   Race 9 Peregrine Wai Key Wee Svelt Riley Moment Selections:  Peregrine (6),   Wai Key Wee (11),   Svelt (8)   Riley Moment (1)   Race 10 Sentry Buck Omaggio  Robyns Shadow Selections:  Sentry (10),   Buck (4),   Omaggio  (11)   Robyns Shadow (5)   Harnesslink Media

Pembrook Playboy’s star is well and truly on the rise. With two Group harness racing wins in his last two starts he’s already being talked about as a potential New Zealand Cup runner next season. After a great beginning in today’s Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup Nathan Williamson settled the entire in third place as Franco Santino took over the pacemakers role. With 1600 metres to run Williamson came off the inside running line and took Pembrook Playboy to the front. “I thought the opportunity was there to take the lead and then they have to come and get you. He’s never been beaten when he’s been in front. He travelled lovely throughout and dropped the bit when he got to the lead. I think it was the right move,” Williamson said. Henry Hubert began to put pressure on Pembrook Playboy inside the last 600, and the second favourite The Fixer was on Henry Hubert’s back. Williamson had a quick peek inside the last 400 metres knowing  his horse was still travelling well within himself. Driven out,  Pembrook Playboy responded. “He actually pulled up in the home straight. He just knocked off once he sprinted clear. Luckily he’s so quick he put a bit of a gap on them and he was good enough to hold on.” The winning time was 3-20.2 just outside Robyns Playboy’s track record of 3-19.8. The time was a new race record, bettering Dadndave’s 3-22.9 recorded last season. This is the second year the race has been run over 2700 metres. The closing splits 54.4 from the 800 metres, and 26.3 from the 400 metres, made it too hard for his rivals to chase him down. The Fixer got closest, a length and a quarter away in second, with Henry Hubert another length and a half away for third. The win was the first for a Southland trained horse since 2016 when Costa Del Magniifico won the feature. “It was a massive thrill winning the race. I’ve made Southland my home for the last ten, twelve years. I’ve always thought it’s the biggest race in our province to win,” said Williamson. Williamson, who only arrived home from driving at Addington at 4.00am this morning says Pembrook Playboy has grown up in the last few months and backing him up after his Central Otago win was not a problem. “He’s so much more mature now. Since Cup Week he’s come on leaps and bounds. I’m looking forward to giving him a few more trips away.  He’s definitely a better horse than he was three months ago.” Pembrook Playboy is owned by Chris Alcock and has now won eight of his fifteen starts and has banked over $80,000. Chris Alcock holding the Invercargill Cup with Chairman of the ILT Alan Dennis       – Photo Bruce Stewart Williamson says the horse will start next in the $30,000 Group Three Summer Cup at Addington in a fortnight. The race is run over 1950 metres under free for all conditions. His travelling companion will be Ragazzo Mach who will line up in the Listed Woodlands Stud Sires Stakes Harness 7000. It’s  worth $40,000.   by Bruce Stewart

Branxholme trainer Alister Black is running hot at the moment, winning three  races at the Invercargill Cup Meeting at Ascot Park today. Zaccy Mac got the ball rolling. Having his second start, he beat Beauty Barry by a length and a quarter in the Beach Road Holiday Park Mobile Pace. “I was pretty happy with his run at Winton. Nathan (Williamson) came back in and said if the horse had got a go he would have run in the first six,” Black said. Driver Matty Williamson settled the Net Ten EOM gelding just beyond midfield on the outside running line before improving to sit parked with a lap to run. “I said to Matty today not to be frightened to send him (forward). He just lacks that bit of high speed so he took the speed out of them down the back, so it couldn’t have worked out better.” With 600 metres to run Williamson served it up to pacemaker Beauty Barry and finished the race off too well. Zaccy Mac was bred by Brent McIntyre at Macca Lodge and is named after his grandson Zac. He’s out of the Falcon Seelster mare Lillian which was bred by Tuapeka Lodge. The gelding is raced by the Thomson brothers Lindsay and Ian, who raced Lawrence, a half-brother to Zaccy Mac. Winners circle, pretty relaxed.                  --Photo Bruce Stewart Three races later Wai Key Wee won his second race from as many starts in the hands of Blair Orange. By The Pres, the four year old began well and with two laps to run Orange took Wai Key Wee to the front. There he stayed, winning by a length and a quarter from early pacemaker Steve. “He’s got beautiful manners. He hasn’t really learned his trade yet. It’ll come. Being out of a Sundon mare, I’ve just let him find his way. Blair said he had plenty left,” Black said. It was the gelding’s second win for his owners Art Shirley, Paul McEntyre and the estates of KJ Egerton and RD Hampton. “It’s hard in Southland. They just get handicapped out of it. We’ll try and find a penalty free race now.” Normally Oamaru driver Brad Williamson would be at the reins for Black but he’s in Australia looking to win Group races with Majestic Man. “I hope he drives a couple of Group Ones over there because he’s missed out on about six winners so far. Hat’s off to him to be going.” Later in the day Black made it three winners for the day when the highly talented Keep On Dreaming won his second race in two starts. The Better’s Delight showed just how green he is, goofing around a bit while challenging for the lead with 1600 metres to run. The win was one of two for Matty Williamson who is in a hot vein of form at the moment too, winning four races at Forbury Park on Thursday. Keep On Dreaming is also owned by Lindsay and Ian Thomson and looks to be a leading candidate for the end of season Southern Supremacy Stakes. Meanwhile Boarding Pass won for Kennington trainer Greg Hunter . She won the first race on Cup day in the hands of Craig Ferguson.   by Bruce Stewart

By Jonny Turner    Trainer Regan Todd heads into Saturday’s Invercargill Cup with plenty of respect for the small but select field Thefixer clashes with. The former New Zealand Cup winner visits his trainer’s home province on the back of a strong North Island campaign which ended with his second placing behind Copy That in the Cambridge Flying Mile. Some might argue Thefixer will be to be dropping in class at Ascot Park after racing New Zealand’s established open class stars. Though Todd does not fully agree with, especially considering his horse starts from the 30m back mark in Saturday’s 2700m handicap. “I wouldn’t say it is a big drop back,” Todd said. “I know the ones he raced up north are pretty smart – Self Assured and Copy That.” “But the ones down south have been pretty impressive.” “He has got to give Pembrook Playboy and horses like him 20m.” “It is still not going to be easy to win.” Thefixer comes into the Invercargill Cup without having raced in over three weeks. Todd is confident his the seven-year-old’s fitness levels are where they need to be with the work he has had since. “He had the trip home and then he was basically straight back into it.” “He has had that racing early in the New Year and at Cambridge.” “So I would be surprised if he has lost too much fitness.” “He looks good, the old fella.” Thefixer is the lone 30m marker, 10m behind 20m handicappers Vintage Cheddar and Henry Hubert. The Canterbury pacer’s biggest threat Pembrook’s Playboy starts from the 10m mark alongside Robyns Playboy. Todd hopes Thefixer’s usually brilliant standing start manners can help him overcome his handicap. “In the Franklin Cup he was off 30m and he ended up pretty handy early.” “If some of the horses in front of us were slow away it might work to our advantage.” Pembrook Playboy is set to start favourite for the Invercargill Cup after his dazzling win in the Central Otago Cup at Winton. The Nathan Williamson trained four-year-old left all of his Invercargill Cup rivals, except Thefixer and Franco Santino, in his wake when unleashing a brilliant finish to win last week. Thefixer will be driven by Bob Butt, who has picked up three catch drives on the Invercargill programme. Butt drives Robo Trouble in race 5 following the trotter’s unlucky fifth at Winton where he was denied clear running in the home straight. Butt will also combine with A Taste Of Honey in race 8 and Better Galleon in race 9.

She had every right to get beaten, but the class and fighting qualities of Ashburton filly Better’s Tart prevailed and provided the highlight of the Southern Harness scene so far this season. “From what she did today she’s got a future. It was only her third start and it was a pretty tough run,” said driver Sam Ottley. From a wide draw Ottley wasn’t able to get cover and sat three or four out until sitting parked with a lap to run. “They all punched up and made us work a bit but that’s competitive racing isn’t it.” Ottley said the Brent White trained filly wasn’t overly fazed at being posted wide. “She was very relaxed. Typical Bettor’s. She dropped the bit wherever I put her. Down the back straight she was still relaxed and entitled to get tired but to her credit she picked the bit up in the straight and wouldn’t let anything pass her.” The winning margin at the end of the 2200 metre mobile was three quarters of a length with second favourite Magic Mike running second.   Bruce Stewart

King Of Trumps looks to have a bright future – he won well on debut at the Northern Southland meeting at Ascot Park today. He was taken straight to the front by driver Brad Williamson and while some of the more favoured runners struck trouble, the talented American Ideal gelding stayed on nicely to beat Tommy Waterhouse by two and a half lengths with Speights On Tap running third. King Of Trumps was bred locally by Russell Morton and is out of the McArdle mare Queen Of The Crop. The three year old gelding is closely related to the handy New York Town. He’s owned by Black along with stable helpers Craig Milne and Paul McEntyre, and the partnership payed $17,000 for him as a yearling. “I had New York Town a few years ago and he did a good job. Craig (Milne) and I spotted him (King Of Trumps) at the sales. I was saying stop (bidding) and Craig carried on. It’s good for Russell. He’s got a full brother to him at the sales. The win today by this horse should help the price a bit,” Black said. King Of Trumps had a couple of workouts as a two year old but was immature and was turned out. “I’ve always like him. He’s always had speed and he’s tough too, and he showed that today. He’s still a bit green but he’ll come to it. He’ll have a few days off now and we’ve got a bit of time before the Supremacy if he’s not sold.” Black’s two stable stars Vintage Cheddar and Get Lucky are down to start again at Winton next week. “Really happy with them. The Central Otago Cup will be for Vintage Cheddar and there’s a nice trotting race for Get Lucky.”   Bruce Stewart

Welcome to todays segment from our harness racing analyst who provides you with free expert tips and selections for harness meetings run in New Zealand. Harness racing hits Invercargill today with a twelve race program starting at 3:18pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a great day of racing. Invercargill selections 13th January 2021 Best Bet:  R12 Croesus Best Value:  R9 Aveross Majesty Invercargill selections 13th January 2021   Race 1 Sacred Mountain not far away from the placings in stronger fields. One of the leading chances in this lineup….. Galleons Future tidy second last start and seems ok at the start. Good winning claims…… It's Summertime has run some good races but manners a concern. No surprise to see him in the money at good odds if he trots all the way….. Dem Bones Dem Bones running on well last start and only needs a safe beginning to be in the money again here Selections:  Dem Bones Dem Bones (8),   Sacred Mountain (9),   Galleons Future (3)   It's Summertime (6)   Race 2 Noosa Beach going well before disappointing last start on grass. Has to be a big chance here but will need luck from the draw.……. Jaffie J building a reasonable form line and looks a good win hope again here. Has to be included…… The Naenae Express throws in the odd good race but tricky draw. Place chances look best but has claims…… Shezdawon has been disappointing but not the worst in a weak field. One for longer odds Selections:  Jaffie J (12),  Noosa Beach (9),   The Naenae Express (13),   Shezdawon (11)   Race 3 The Night Watchman last run better than it looks on paper. Better draw and good chance at nice odds….. Vintage Rose good third a couple of starts ago and she has run time on the track. Has to be included here….. Lilac Becky good third last start and will be improved. Can run top three here….. Archman has been disappointing but getting fitter with a nice draw. One for longer odds Selections:   Vintage Rose (15),   The Night Watchman (5),   Archman (4)    Lilac Becky (1)   Race 4 Maudarchy quick beginner who will take some catching if she can land the front from the front row draw. Top selection here….. Funky Monkey racing into form and has been good in stronger fields. Great winning chance at good odds….. Miss Crazed an early gallop cost her last start. Can win with her best manners….. Madrik effort for new stable last start and another with a good chance if he trots all the way. Needed Selections:   Maudarchy (7),   Madrik (3),   Miss Crazed (11)   Funky Monkey (10)   Race 5 Seventh Heaven tricky draw but Canterbury raiders have a good record here and trial form is very good. Needed….. King Of Trumps in good form at trials and good draw. Winning claims and tote the guide….. Rock'n Kiwi drawn well and should get a good run in transit. Can win fresh up..….. Bettastar good at workouts and respect the stable. Another first starter with winning claims in an even field Selections:   Bettastar (5),   Rock'n Kiwi (1),   Seventh Heaven (11)   King Of Trumps (2)   Race 6 Emerald Abbey conditions suit and drawn well. Good winning claims and can run top three.…. Lynryd Skynryd nice draw and plenty of ability. One for the leading chances and will give a good sight in front here…… Wrecking Ball tricky draw but has a big finish when saved for one run at them. Place chances best..… Beta Than Love should be quick off the gate and will get a soft run. Winning claims Selections:  Emerald Abbey (2),   Lynryd Skynryd (3),   Beta Than Love (4),   Wrecking Ball (8)   Race 7 Jimmy Cannon building into fitness and well drawn. Upset chance at good odds…. Gabby's Star usually holds his form ok and paying good money. Would be no surprise to see him in the placings here if back to his best….. Tony The Pony has been fair the last couple but lobs up every now and then at good odds. Could upset in the right mood…. Insarchatwist getting better with racing and form is good. Has to be included from the good draw Selections:   Gabby's Star (15),  Insarchatwist (3),   Tony The Pony (10),  Jimmy Cannon (1)   Race 8 Better's Tart good win last start and will be fitter. Stable in form and will be hard to beat if she goes forward early….. Change At The Top good last start and better drawn here. One for longer odds in this….. Rakarippa tricky draw but good last start. Should be close to the placings with luck in the running….. Onedin Hurricane should get a run through early from the draw and form is ok. Needed Selections:   Better's Tart (6),   Rakarippa (9),   Onedin Hurricane (10)  Change At The Top (2)   Race 9 Aveross Majesty racing well and paying great money. Distance suits and will be hard to beat if he can get handy before the home turn….. Tweedledee racing well and good stayer who should appreciate the 2700m. Can run top three at nice odds….. Sekkie Monkey getting to be a bit of a headache at the start but has speed. Can go close with manners ….. Afterburner good run last start and very speedy. Hard to beat here if he can get near the lead early Selections:  Aveross Majesty (10),  Tweedledee (12),   Afterburner (3)    Sekkie Monkey (8)   Race 10 Rocknroll King drawn for a soft run on the fence but will need luck. Winning claims at good odds with a trail all the way….. Watch Me Now running on last start and should get a run forward early. Good winning claims….. Yankee Party tricky draw but good win last start. One of the leading chances here and has  to be hard to beat….. Love On The Rocks in good form and drawn to get a run through early. Quick improver who can win Selections:   Watch Me Now (7),   Yankee Party (6),   Love On The Rocks (10)   Rocknroll King (1)   Race 11 Sentry freshened for this and has a big reputation. Top selection here….. Wolfenstein racing into form and has been good in stronger fields. Great winning chance at good odds….. Benio Ben has run some good races on the track and well drawn. Tote the guide but has claims….. Tulsa Jaccka drawn for a soft run on the fence and has a good sprint. Needed Selections:   Sentry (5),   Wolfenstein (11),   Tulsa Jaccka (1)   Benio Ben (2)   Race 12 Flight Crew tricky draw but big on ability. Manners a bit of a concern but no surprise to see her winning this….. Croesus in good form at trials and has been racing better fields. Winning claims and will start favourite….. Baileys Diamond drawn well and should get a good run in transit. Can win with a god run in transit..….. El Dorado good last start and respect the stable. Will need luck from the draw but has winning claims Selections:   Croesus (7),   Baileys Diamond (5),   Flight Crew (11)   El Dorado (12)   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    A cool and calm drive from Kerryn Tomlinson helped her pay tribute to her late great-grandmother when Miss Crazed produced a brilliant effort to win at Ascot Park yesterday. Tomlinson wore a black armband during yesterday’s meeting in memory on her great grandmother, Shirley Stokes, who died in Canterbury on Tuesday. Stokes is the mother of Dianne Ford, wife of Canterbury trainer Ken Ford. Stokes was a big supporter of her great grandchildren - Tomlinson and her sister, Sheree. Tomlinson was eager to pay tribute to her great grandmother when driving for the first time since her passing at yesterday’s meeting. “She was a massive supporter of ours,” the junior driver said. “She followed all of the races and she would always watch Sheree and I on TV.” “She would yell at the TV and cheer us on.” “Her sons own a lot of granddad’s horses, too.” Miss Crazed looked to be building nicely towards delivering Tomlinson and her family a special win until she galloped 1500m from home in yesterday’s 2700m event. “She started hanging around the bend and she hit her knee,” Tomlinson said. “She is still green and she has still got a bit to learn.” The break cost the mare about eight lengths and set her a big task to get up and win with a lap to go. The four-year-old’s assignment got even bigger when she drifted further off the lead at the 800m when the leader King Of The North skipped four lengths clear of the field. Tomlinson worked Miss Crazed back into the race at the 400m and she safely negotiated the same bend she galloped on earlier. With three lengths to make up on King Of The North on the home turn, the junior driver was hopeful, rather than confident she could pull off a special win. “I was really hoping she would get there,” Tomlinson said. “She just kept coming, it was a good effort.” Tomlinson and her sister will again seek to honour their late great grandmother at Motukarara on Sunday. Ken Ford lines up four horses at the Akaroa Trotting Club meeting and his family shares in the ownership of each of them. Kerryn drives Mordecai (race 3) and That’s The Story (race 10). Sheree will drive Uno Mia (race 3) and Hope For Love (race 5). Miss Crazed’s win completed a double for trainer Phil Williamson, who prepared first starter Celebration Stride to win race 1. Miss Crazed’s victory followed another standout performance – Kagee VC’s epic effort to win race 2. The seven-year-old saved the best performance of his career for his 80th start when sitting parked for the entirety of his 2200m assignment in very blustery conditions. Trainer Doug McLachlan admitted he did not see the powerful staying effort coming. McLachlan is Kagee VC’s fifth trainer and he came to his Myross Bush stable with a reputation for being highly strung. But the longer the pacer has stayed, the better his attitude has got. McLachlan puts much of the credit down to the work of down to his partner, Sylvie Crighton, who owns Kagee VC.

Sylvia Crichton loves Kagee VC and her partner Doug McLachlan who trains the gelding, reckons her pampering has made the gelding into the consistent performer he’s become. “He’s Sylvia’s horse. She absolutely spoils him and it’s great what a bit of loving can do,” he said after the horse’s fifth win. The Washington VC seven year old started his career with Matt Saunders, had a short stint with Ascot Park trainer Murray Brown, and was also trained by Paul Ellis. “I got him off Artie Shirley. I went down to his place to get another horse and asked him about a little black horse that was there. I ended up with him at home instead of the one I went to get.” In today’s race despite trying to get to the front twice in the hands of John Morrison, Kagee VC had to sit parked outside leader Swift Robyn. “He did attack a couple of time so his run was commendable. He’s a funny wee horse. He’s aggressive. If he gets back in the field he can lose interest.” On the pedigree side Kagee VC goes back to open class pacer Elmer Gantry the winner of eighteen races. McLachlan says he doesn’t train the horse in the cart at all. “I never work him in the cart. He’s always on the lead with Franco Huntington. No matter what Franco’s going he goes with him.” Racing in Central Otago appears to be the horse’s next target. “I think this wee horse will suit Roxburgh.” Meanwhile Brown’s trainer Des Baynes looked to have another promising race horse in Might Be Me. The American Ideal mare was hunted out of the gate for the first time in her short career and still had enough in the tank at the end of her race to win the $12,000 Fear The Dragon Ladyship Final. She was rated superbly by driver Blair Orange.   Bruce Stewart

Smart qualifier The Hornet put his poor debut behind him and scored like a quality horse at the Riverton Trotting Club meeting at Ascot Park today. The three year old trained by Tony Stratford at Gore is owned by Kevin and Jennifer Walsh, who bought The Hornet’s dam Sally Franco in foal to Gold Ace. “He (The Hornet) was a lovely foal, very athletic. He’s a big fella and both Tony and I think his best season will be next year,” said Kevin Walsh. The gelding was broken in by Doug McLachlan before he went to Stratford. He qualified nicely in 3-02.3 at Central Southland Raceway in October before he debuted on the same track two weeks later. He was posted three wide in that start and weakened to run ninth. “This is the first horse we’ve had with Tony. He’s got that touch. We also had New Zealand’s best driver (Blair Orange) on him today.” The Walsh’s youngest son Chris holds a trainers license. His only winner was with Great Success mare Cum Laude. She’s the dam of Postgrad Success which won her first start for Kevin and Jennifer and Gore trainer Brian Norman. They also raced Caprock gelding Captain Hugh. He was trained by Colin Devery and was placed twice as a two year old before being exported to Australia where he won twenty eight races. Kevin and Jennifer also owned Mattuity gelding Young Marmion which won it’s only start for Ryal Bush trainer Murray Gray before also heading off across the Tasman. The Walshs are also breeding from In The Pocket mare Maria Die Monti which has just foaled a colt by Downbytheseaside, and Roman Goddess, a young Mach Three mare that’s part of the Tact family. But Kevin’s interest in horses goes further back than that. “My grand uncle owned a horse called Matchem which won the South Island Jump at the show grounds in Invercargill in 1942, 1943 and 1944. I’ve always had a love of horses.” Meanwhile Oamaru trainer Phil Williamson scored a trotting double when first starter Celebration Stride won on debut and talented mare Miss Crazed overcame a midrace break to get up and win her second race. The Crazed mare looks to have unlimited talent. Junior reinsman Jamie Campbell won his eighth race when he partnered the Gordon and Colin Lee gelding Melton Mafia to win the Ryder Roofing –Aparima Mobile Pace. Dark Horse underlined her talent when she put the disappointment of breaking in the Dominion Handicap behind her today, winning her eleventh race and bringing her wins at Ascot Park to five. She overcame a fifty metre handicap to win the Bill Keast Memorial Handicap by two lengths and was brought another success to the well-travelled Griffin Syndicate and the Seafield Trotting Syndicate. The day was capped off when the locally owned Yorokobi won for Paul and Brendon Duffy. The Bettor’s Delight gelding was initially educated by Kirk Larsen before heading to Woodend Beach trainer Regan Todd.   Bruce Stewart

By Jonny Turner    Humble Ladd went to a new level with his winning double at the New Zealand Cup Carnival and he is ready to continue that brilliant form at Ascot Park today. The Phil Williamson trained trotter was one of just two horses, alongside Southland pacer Vintage Cheddar, to win on both New Zealand Cup Day and Show Day. Those victories have seen the six-year-old continue a steady rise from smart intermediate grade trotter to one that is effectively in open class. Williamson puts Humble Ladd’s transition down to him benefitting from a combination of having hard racing under his belt and having had time to strengthen. “I would say it is a bit of both,” the trainer said. “He is just a horse that has continued to improve.” “This season he has come back really good.” “Right back in his first start back from lockdown he ran second to Ultimate Stride and it was mighty run.” “So, he has been going good for a while now.” Humble Ladd starts from the 40m mark in race 7, today’s feature 2700m trot. That gives him a 10m head start on his main rival, already established open class mare Dark Horse. Williamson thinks Humble Ladd’s handicap is within his winning range. “On paper he has got to be hard to beat.” The Williamson stable will roll out yet another smart trotter owned by Emilio and Mary Rosati in race 1 in Celebration Stride. The three-year-old brings solid trial and workout form, having sparred with his smart stablemate Love N The Port several times. Though the latest of Celebration Stride’s public appearances were back in June, Williamson has no concerns about the trotter’s fitness levels ahead of his debut. “He is probably just better than those [rivals].” “In saying that he didn’t race as a two-year-old because he just wasn’t quite up with the good two-year-olds.” “At the time Leaf Stride would have been too good for him.” “But he should be giving that field a hurry up.” Celebration Stride looks to only need to trot throughout to beat the terribly out of form group of maidens he clashes with over 2200m. And the horse’s manners suggest that should not be a problem. “He has got good manners, that is the best thing about him,” Williamson said. The Williamson barn is hoping for improved manners from Miss Crazed in race 3. The four-year-old has galloped in each of her three starts this time in. Though she could have forgiven slightly for missing away in her last start after a horse jumped in front of her, Williamson was still unimpressed. “It was just a horrific performance, but I am expecting Miss Crazed to step up and be the one to beat.” Williamson expects Miss Bamboocha to be the hardest horse for Miss Crazed to hold out in her 2200m mobile assignment. “Miss Bamboocha is not a bad horse, she is a bit in and out, but on her best day she can run a bit of a race.” “But all things being equal Miss Crazed should smash them.” “It is a mobile and I am pretty happy with the way things are progressing with her.” Kerryn Tomlinson drives Miss Crazed in today’s race for junior drivers. Matthew Williamson will drive both Humble Ladd and Celebration Stride.

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 Invercargill today with a nine race program starting at 2:54pm. 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 is provided for informational purposes only Invercargill selections 3rd December 2020 Best Bet: R1  Celebration Stride Best Value: R5  La La Land   Race 1 Celebration Stride in great form at trials and from a strike rate stable. Should be hard to beat and top selection here.…… Tease My Tartan been racing better fields and reliable from the stand. One of the leading chances here..… Whangamata last couple have been disappointing but better placed in this field off the front row draw. Place chance…… Kiwi Heir racing herself into form and can run top three here with manners Selections:  Celebration Stride (7),   Tease My Tartan (6),   Kiwi Heir (10)   Whangamata (3)   Race 2 Swift Robyn nice draw here and good win last start. Needs a good run in transit but can win again.……. Iwanadancewitsumbody plenty of ability and has been unlucky. Front row draw will help and can win at good odds…… Major Menace disappointing last start but will be running on. One for longer odds…… Tetrick runs the odd good race and should receive a nice run in the race. Place chances best. Selections:  Iwanadancewitsumbody (3),  Swift Robyn (4),   Major Menace (6),   Tetrick (1)   Race 3 Miss Crazed plenty of ability but manners not great. Would probably be winning this with a safe getaway ….. Helluva Way good draw and probably the leader in the race. Can run top three in this field….. King Of The North has the game to beat a field like this and has been racing better fields. Can win  with manners….. Miss Bamboocha running on last start and weaker field here. Place claims Selections:   Miss Crazed (7),   King Of The North (8),   Helluva Way (5),   Miss Bamboocha (6)   Race 4 Lynryd Skynryd good beginner who was good last start. Top selection in this field….. Tommy Waterhouse good draw and racing into form. Will be hard to beat….. Lei Miss has the ability and first start from new trainer. Could surprise with a good run in transit….. Ideal Robyn ok last start and drawn the ace. Place chances best at longer odds Selections:   Lynryd Skynryd (3),   Tommy Waterhouse (4),   Lei Miss (13),   Ideal Robyn (1)   Race 5 La La Land conditions suit here and he should get a good run through from the draw. Good winning claims.…. Glenledi Captain good third last start and this no harder. Terrible draw but needed…… Melton Mafia tricky draw but has been racing ok. Could upset at nice money..… Archman a bit in or out with form but has the ability and drawn to get a run in the trail. Needed Selections:  La La Land (11),   Glenledi Captain (12),   Melton Mafia (7),   Archman (1)   Race 6 Clifton Jessie no luck last start but give another chance. Not the worst here at huge odds….. Might Be Me big drop in grade but tricky draw. Will need luck but can run top three here  ….. Tac Mac wide draw but getting fitter with racing. Might head forward early and can run top three…. Insarchatwist racing ok and will go forward early. Winning claims….. Selections:   Might Be Me (8),  Tac Mac (7),   Insarchatwist (6),  Clifton Jessie (12)   Race 7 Humble Ladd has been running some big races in top fields and this race suits. Can win again…. Grand Princess looks the early leader and ok last start. Can run top three  ….. Tweedledee  in good form and gets a big headstart on the favourites. Good winning chance if they go hard up front…. Dark Horse racing into form and conditions suit here. One of the leading chances in the race even from the big handicap…. Selections:  Humble Ladd(9),  Tweedledee   (5),   Dark Horse (10),  Grand Princess(1)   Race 8 Jody Direen likely to head for the front and will catching with no mid race attacks. Can run top three here….. Santanna Mach last start was a good second and top driver booked. Tricky draw but has winning claims ….. I'm Trouble good staying type suited to a fast run race which he will get here. He will be finishing on if the pace is on all the way. Include…. Mighty Flying Art wide draw but track and distance suit. Good winning claims….. Selections:   Mighty Flying Art (8),   Jody Direen (6),   Santanna Mach (7),   I'm Trouble (11)   Race 9 Yorokobi good draw to work with and will head forward early. Last run ok and he should be winning this ….. Franco Huntington tricky draw but in good form. Can run top three in this field ….. Onesmartfella fast beginner who has the ability to compete well in a field like this. Can upset the favourite….. Ivana Legacy has a big sprint when saved for the last run. Place chances best here Selections:   Yorokobi (6),   Onesmartfella (2),   Franco Huntington (7),   Ivana Legacy (11)   Harnesslink Media

The last couple of weeks have not been easy for Southland owner Brendon McIntyre. As an integral part of the What Ever Syndicate which raced Franco Ledger, he was saddened when the stallion died suddenly at Macca Lodge earlier this month. “It was a pretty good death if you’re going to have one. It was painless. I was always worried about him because he served mares naturally. If he got injured because of that someone was going to have to make a tough call one day,” McIntyre said. However his Somebeachsomewhere gelding Port Au Prince which won today may have helped soften the loss a little. Trainer Driver Peter Hunter settled the gelding at the back of the second half of the field before letting him slide forward with just over a lap to run to sit parked. “Pete talked about it before the race. If they slackened off he was going to get round them and take luck out of play.” When the leader Leconte started to get reined, Hunter took Port Au Prince to the lead and he went down to the finish to beat favourite Lynryd Skynryd by three and three quarter lengths. McIntyre who races the gelding with his wife Jaque bought Port Au Prince from breeder Ron Croon “We liked him at two, but racing didn’t get off the ground (for that age group) and when it did he was probably ready for a spell.” Franco Ledger is gone, but McIntyres, Peter Hunter and his wife Jo who is Brendon’s sister, have a promising two year old called Justalittlesip by the stallion. “He’s just having a spell at the moment but he’ll come back and we’ll give him an opportunity. He ticks all the boxes at the moment. From what we’ve been told and from what we’ve seen all the Ledgers have got great manners.”   by Bruce Stewart

By Jonny Turner   Trainer Brent Shirley heads to his home track happy with his horses and happy with the drivers he has drawn in Wednesday’s drivers’ series at Ascot Park. Shirley starts both Onesmartfella and Lala Land in the five-race competition dubbed a ‘Battle Of The Sexes’, which pits a team of leading male and female drivers against each other. In race 7, the fifth heat of the competition, Lala Land randomly drew Shirley’s number 1 stable reinsman Nathan Williamson. The four-year-old comes into the 2200m event after running second to Major Punter earlier this month. Shirley hopes the addition of sliding blinds to Lala Land’s gear can help him go one better. “He is looking really well and training really well.” “He is up on the bit and I think he has improved a bit since I gave him a bit of a let-up.” “It was a good run last time and he has got Nathan on, which is a big bonus.” “I have put the sliding blinds on him, so hopefully that will help a bit, too.” Onesmartfella comes into race 5 without being tested in his last start at Winton, when held up throughout the run home. With the success Shirley has had with Ricky May in the past, the trainer is hoping for a chance of luck on Wednesday. “I have had a great strike rate with Ricky over the years, he drove quite a few winners for my father.” “The horse has got a good draw and he has got pull down blinds on, so he should get every chance.” “He was very unlucky last time, the start before that he was disappointing, but I think he got away on us.” “He seems a lot sharper now.” Shirley will start Tac Mac in race 8, an event outside Wednesday’s drivers’ series, with Blair Orange in the sulky. The three-year-old comes into the Nugget graduation final after running down the track in a hotly contested race on Show Day at Addington. Tac Mac clashes with Ragazzo Mach, who has turned heads in his two career starts. Shirley knows what kind of challenge that is, but he is hopeful his filly can be competitive. “The trip to Christchurch did her the world of good, she seems really good since she got home.” “I have been really happy with her work.” “She probably can’t beat Ragazzo Mach, but if Blair can bit of respite during the run there is no reason she can’t go a good race.” Orange, May and Williamson are part of the ever-evolving Ascot Park drivers’ series that now pits a team of male drivers against a team of reinswomen. The trio will compete alongside John Morrison, Mark Hurrell and Brent Barclay. The women’s team is made up of Samantha Ottley, Sheree Tomlinson, Sarah O'Reilly, Kirstin Barclay, Ellie Barron and Kerryn Tomlinson.

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