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Jonny Cox, Ricky May, Alana Cameron, Kerryn Tomlinson & Gerard O'Reilly give us their best drive for Sunday at Addington.   Harness Racing New Zealand

Trainer-driver David Moran took Lochinvar Art behind enemy lines in Ballarat on Saturday night, but it proved a hostile experience for the four-year-old with local Major Times overpowering the Victorian record holder. Next weekend's planned showdown with superstar Ride High is now on hold after Moran's entire endured a tough run and was eventually beaten into third place in the Flying Horse Takeaway Pace. Moran told Adam Hamilton that Lochinvar Art had pulled up mildly lame in his off front leg and with an elevated heart rate following the 6.7-metre defeat. "I'll get him fully vetted tomorrow and we'll go from there," he said. It was a "teammate" of Ride High's Cardigan stables that landed the knockout blow. Emma Stewart-trained Major Times scored a long-odds triumph after pressing forward to sit outside Lochinvar Art at the bell and then out-toughing him in the run to the line. Driver Jodi Quinlan got to work early on Major Times, but he responded to head Moran's charge early in the home straight and then fended off a late challenge from My Kiwi Mate to score by three metres. The early burn might have been telling for Lochinvar Art, who was bustled forward early by Moran from barrier 12 and took until the end of the back straight the first time to eventually find the front. The lead time was a sharp 41.0 and he had nothing left in the tank after quarters of 29.3, 30.5 and 28.7 as the field zipped home in 27.7. "He did a power of work early. Didn't think we'd have to do that much. A 41 lead time is like a 26 quarter," Moran said. Major Times, who is raced in part by Ride High's owner Peter Gleeson, has now won three on the trot and taken his career record to 18 victories from 41 runs. Dubbed the smiling assassin in the post-race interview, Quinlan couldn't have been more proud of her horse. "This horse is a very good horse and (Stewart's partner) Clayton (Tonkin) has always said that. He told me basically to drive him fairly confident tonight and thought he was fairly forward," she said. "He was winning those races in (regional racing) at Melton and I think people just sort of thought he was probably beating second-raters, but he ran some phenomenal times when he did do that and he proved tonight that he's up there with the good ones, don't worry about that."   HRV - Tim O'Connor

WILKES-BARRE PA - A trio of $14,000 events for fast-class horses highlighted the Saturday afternoon harness racing action at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. In the single trot, Mississippi Storm got some racing luck when, sitting fourth-inside late backstretch, the two- and three-holers moved outside to challenge, allowing him to use the Pocono Pike and power through to a new mark of 1:52, beating out Lord Cromwell by a length. The Cantab Hall gelding, a winner of $331,788, was driven by Anthony Napolitano for trainer Tom Fanning and owner Joseph Smith. The photo finish camera was needed to determine the winner of the two pacing headliners. In the first, the Roll With Joe gelding Joesstar Of Mia A was parked to a hard 3/8 by War-N-Munn before making the lead, then had to be game to repel that one's inside stretch charge, winning by a neck and earning a new speed badge of 1:50; Ohio shipper Our Corelli N, who may have been in the Buckeye State going to the ¾, was in overdrive late to be another neck back in third. A winner of $208,394, Joesstar Of Mia A was handled by the hot-driving Simon Allard for trainer Steven Brabrook and the ownership of Jonathan Lapp Jr. and Wish Me Luck Stables LLC. Perennial Pocono sulkysitting leader George Napolitano Jr. kept the Art Major gelding Alluneedisfaith N rolling on the front end, with Twin B Tuffenuff flying up the Pocono Pike but coming up a head shy at the end of the 1:50.4 mile. Alluneedisfaith N now has banked $307,673, with Nifty Norman training the game winner for the Robert Cooper Stables LLC. FINISHING LINES - Pocono will host Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action (and its companion Stallion Series races) the next three cards: the undefeated Party Girl Hill and 2019 champion Lyons Sentinel top the three-year-old pacing fillies Sunday; Grace Hill, 2-for-2 in the Sire Stakes, heads the two-year-old pacing fillies Monday; and Allywag Hanover has the highest profile among the hardhitters in three-year-old pacing colt action Tuesday. PHHA / Pocono

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Trainer Nancy Takter continued something of a family tradition Saturday (Aug. 8), winning the $600,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old harness racing trotting fillies with Sorella at The Meadowlands.   Takter, whose father Jimmy won a record eight editions of the Oaks, became the first female trainer to ever win the race, which began in 1971.   Sorella and driver Yannick Gingras rolled to the front in the first turn and cruised to victory by 1-3/4 lengths over Hypnotic AM in 1:51. Panem, also trained by Takter, finished third. Hypnotic AM and Panem both started from the second tier, with Hypnotic AM in post 12 and Panem in post 11.   It is the sixth time in seven years the Oaks was won by a Takter and Gingras, who extended his record for wins by a driver to six.       “It certainly doesn’t get old,” Gingras said. “With any of these big races, you win them once and you want to win them again. I think it’s a pretty good accomplishment to have six of them. Definitely I’m proud of it.”   Gingras and Sorella started from post seven and saw Whose Blues leave for the front from post six. Whose Blues settled in the top spot, but only briefly, as Gingras pushed forward to claim the lead in a :26.1 opening quarter. From there, Sorella hit the half in :54.3 and three-quarters in 1:22.3.   “I thought there were three horses in the race that really stood out and the other two had posts 11 and 12,” Gingras said. “When I left the gate, I saw they were going to get away somewhere in mid-pack. They weren’t going to get away too close, so I was taking no prisoners from there. I figured she was the one to beat at that point and took no chances.”   Said Takter, “I thought my horses both raced super. I wish Panem would have gotten up a little bit more, but they were both really good. It kind of worked out the way I expected, so that’s good when things go that way.”   She added that Sorella’s next start would most likely come in the Zweig Memorial on Aug. 21 at Vernon Downs.   Sorella, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Kadealia, has won four of five races this year and six of 14 lifetime with earnings of $503,376. She is owned by breeder Elmer Fannin, Crawford Farms Racing and Brent Fannin. Elmer Fannin named the filly after a bottle of wine.   “We’re very excited about Sorella,” said Brent Fannin, Elmer’s son. “We knew one day (Kadealia) was going to throw a good one, and we just kept being patient and bred her to one of the better sires we could. And along comes Sorella and we’re real excited. We lost her mom earlier this year, who was in foal to Father Patrick, and hopefully Sorella can carry the torch from here.”   by Ken Weingartner with Derwick Giwner

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A first-over grind proved no problem for even-money harness racing favorite Darlene Hanover, who dashed away in the stretch to win the $350,300 Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday (Aug. 8) at The Meadowlands.   In his fourth victory on the day, Queensland native Andy McCarthy floated Darlene Hanover off the gate while Ixia Maculata S barreled for the lead from post eight into a :27.1 first quarter. May Karp raced in second as her stablemate Mazzarati rolled first-over towards the front and cleared command midway up the backstretch. At that point, Altar, the second choice at 3-1, galloped while uncovered heading to a :56.3 half.   Darlene Hanover ventured into the far turn with no cover, racing sixth, and began to advance towards Mazzarati. By three-quarters in 1:26.3, Darlene Hanover ranged to within a length of command and soon downed the tiring pacesetter at the head of the stretch. The Chapter Seven-Danielle Hanover filly strolled through the lane in progress to a 1:55.1 victory while chased by Material Girl, who rallied from third-over to take second. Ineffable closed for third.       "I actually didn't think I would see the inside," McCarthy said of Darlene Hanover's overland grind to victory. "The way it worked out, I was happy to be first-over. I didn't really use all of her the first half, so I kept going up there and I could just hang onto her until the head of the stretch, and she turned around nice."   Darlene Hanover won her second race from four starts and has earned $188,700 for Yankeeland Partners LLP. Brett Bittle conditions the filly who paid $4.00 to win.   by Ray Cotolo, for the Hambletonian Society

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When Dovescry ($11.20) sustained a first-over strike on the far turn, dueled down champion mare Manchego. and became harness racing's newest millionaire by way of a 9-2 upset in the $166,550 Dr. John R. Steele Memorial for harness racing trotting mares on Saturday (Aug. 8) at The Meadowlands.   The 4-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill challenged Plunge Blue Chip for the early lead before retreating to the pocket on the first turn. After drafting closely behind a :26.4 quarter, When Dovescry was relegated to third up the backstretch when Dexter Dunn brushed 1-9 favorite Manchego out from fourth to clear the lead at a :54.3 midway split.   Driver David Miller angled When Dovescry off the pegs with three-eighths to go, and she quickly made up 2-1/2 lengths before engaging Manchego past three-quarters in 1:23 and setting the stage for a stretch duel -- but Manchego offered little resistance to When Dovescry's advance into the lead an eighth from home. From there, Miller kept When Dovescry to task, and they defeated Plunge Blue Chip -- who rallied up the pegs in deep stretch -- by a half length while driven out in 1:50.3. Manchego could only muster third, another three-quarters of a length in arrears.       When Dovescry, whose 11 career wins include the 2019 Hambletonian Oaks, is trained by Brett Pelling for Yves Sarrazin, Dumain Haven Farm, Singh and Soulsby, and John Lengacher.   by James Witherite, for the Hambletonian Society .

August 8, 2020  - The 3.1/1 odds Moni Viking (7m Maharajah-Jeunesse Doree-Coktail Jet) rallied boldly to win the harness racing Gr. I International Aby Stora Pris (purse 3,580,000SEK total purse with 2,000,000SEK to the winner, 3140 meters autostart, 12 starters). Bjorn Goop trains and drove the winner for Jan Lyng of Norway as he won for the sixth time in nine 2020 starts and 13th career win in 43 appearances now for life earnings of 5,894,440SEK.  Who’s Who (6m Maharajah-Reality Pride-From Above) was second with Orjan Kihlstrom up for trainer Pasi Aikio. Third was Cyber Lane (7g Raja Mirchi-Sybaris Hanover-Cantab Hall) with Johan Untersteiner at the lines. Race time was 1.12.4kr with quick later speed. Watch the race here. The time at the 2000 meter post was 1.13.7kr. Cokstile and Pacific Face finished fourth and fifth. Moni Viking   Earlier in the day was the Regnar Thorngrens (220,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart) with a rallying victory to Aramis Bar (4m Napoleon Bar-Guendalina Bar-Bon Vivant) with trainer Bjorn Goop at the lines for owner Forspro AB.   This was his third 2020 win in six outings and 10th in a 21 race career. Power (4m Googoo Gaagaa-La Vici-Orlando Vici) held gamely from his front trotting duty to be second for trainer/driver Robert Bergh. Third was Galantis (4m Zola Bokoi) with Johan Untersteiner up. Aramis Bar The Bertil Knutssons Minne (STL Diamantstoet Final, 220,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters voltstart) saw Argbiggan (5f Maharajah-Kemp’s Emilie-Enjoy Lavec) score in 1.12.5kr with trainer Rickard Svanstedt up. This was the third 2020 victory in 11 starts for the Lennart Johansson owned mare. Divine (8f Dream Vacation-Barbie Do-Ken Warkentin) was next for Erik Adielsson and third was Princess Kloster (4f Classic Photo-Perfekta Kloster-Carmody Lobell) for Peter Untersteiner. The winner and third mares overcame 20-meter handicaps. Arbiggan   Vagabond Bi (6g Varenne-Felicity Bi-Toss Out) took the STL Bronze Final (purse to winner 220,000SEK, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) clocked in 1.10.8kr with Ulf Ohlsson up for trainer David Persson and owner Stall Skaven HG.   Off at 5.5/1 the winner recorded his 14th career victory in 56 starts. Adde SH (5g Nu Pagadi-Fast Allegro-Fast Photo) took second for Peter Untersteiner and Twigs Ceasar (8g Muscle Mass-Twigs Goldie-Texas) took third for Bjorn Goop, also the trainer. Vagabond Bi The STL Silver Final (250,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) saw Pastor Power (6g Pastor Stephen-Tobina Pazzione-JR Broline) win in 1.11.9kr for trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner. He was off at 9.2/1 odds and he won for the 11th time in 42 career starts, Zap di Girifalco (5m Dream Vacation-Bea di Girifalco-Waikiki Beach) was second for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop with the third check earned by Man At Work (7g Ken Warkentin-Illustre November-Viking Kronos) for Orjan Kihlstrom. Pastor Power Several other interesting winners today included Stoletheshow (5m Dream Vacation-Abba Hall-Garland Lobell) in the Linsons Stora Sprinterpris (purse 220,000SEK first prize, 1640 meters autostart) for Rikard N. Skoglund timed in 1.10.6kr and off at 5.7/1. Staro Leonardo (6g Make It Happen) was second for Peter Ingves. The Aby Stora Trearingspris (three year olds, purse 125,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart, nine starters) went to 16.5/1 Hopeusteponalego (3m Donato Hanover-Gliding Phoebe-Yankee Glide) for Orjan Kihlstrom timed n 1.13.4kr. Stall Courant AB owns this one. The Klass II Final (220,000SEK to the winner, 2140 meters autostart, 12 starters) went to 1.12,4kr timed and 3.1/1 odds Newport Beach (5m Ready Cash-Sugarbush Hanover-Andover Hall) for driver Peter Ingves and trainer Josef Franzi. Gunter Herz owns the winner that now has six 2020 wins in seven starts and 10 career victories in 13 outings. At the start of this exceptional program was the Aby Stora Monte Prix 2020 (125,000SEK to the winner, 1640 meters autostart, 10 starters) and post 10 Rajesh Face (7g Raja Mirchi-Nippy Girl-Ginger Somolli) scored easily in a new SWE record 1.10.1kr (mile 1:52.4F). Rajesh Face Thomas H. Hicks  

Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran has no reservations entering enemy territory tonight ahead of a looming showdown with the Ballarat beast, Ride High. While the latter is resting after a breathtaking win at Bendigo on Saturday, Shepparton’s pacing superstar Lochinvar Art will contest the Flying Horse Takeaway Pace at 8.32pm at Ballarat’s Bray Raceway. This marks the second hit-out of Lochinvar Art’s campaign and an important lead-in to the much-hyped clash with Ride High. “We’ll try and get the job done the best we can and move on from there,” Moran told RSN 927 ahead of tonight’s free-for-all pace. The race presents as a crucial lead-in to a likely showdown between Ride High and Lochinvar Art at Shepparton on August 15, which racing fans have been craving since Clayton Tonkin’s pacer returned from a spell in June. Ride High, who’s trained at Tonkin and Emma Stewart’s Cardigan stables, has gone on a tear, winning all four of his starts, breaking records and improving to 14 career wins from 15 starts, but with the caveat of modest competition. Enter Lochinvar Art, the quickest horse in Victorian history and reigning 4YO Bonanza and Chariots Of Fire champion, who returned to racing with a Shepparton win on July 25 and has the second start of his campaign tonight. “He’s pulled up brilliantly, he’s jumping out of his skin,” Moran said. “It was probably a perfect first-up run really, he got around there pretty cheap, he’ll take a lot of the run. He will probably take a bit more out of (tonight) and I’d imagine after that he’d be pretty close to 100 per cent.” Tonkin had already circled August 15 at Shepparton as Ride High’s next hit-out and this week Moran said “he’d be silly not to” take the chance to face-off against Ride High “right in our backyard”. “As long as he pulls up good (from tonight), we’ll obviously know a bit more Monday how he is, then I’ll nominate him and go from there.” While confident of the talent he has in his hands Moran was also effusive in his praise for Ride High. “He’s a beautiful horse,” he said. “To do what he did and just the way he savages the line, to me I guess that’s the scariest part of taking him on – how he attacks the line.”   HRV - Michael Howard

By Jonny Turner    Magic Mike can help Mitchell Robertson build on the successful start he has made to his training career at Addington on Sunday. The Templeton horseman has just completed his first season in partnership with father, Peter, racking up eight wins. Though pleased with that effort, Robertson is looking forward to building on it this season. Magic Mike could set the platform for a successful twelve months if his debut third for driver Tim Williams at Invercargill three weeks ago is anything to go by. The 4yr-old was caught three wide during a quickening of the race speed before working to the parked position and fighting on for third behind impressive debutante Maximus Prost. “We were pretty pleased with that run because we sort of thought he still might one hard run away from full fitness,” Robertson said. “And he didn't travel or settle in down there as good as we’d have hoped.” “So we're pretty pleased with the run taking those things into account.” The likely improvement from his debut they will see Magic Mike steps out from barrier 2 in race 4 has the Robertson stable hopeful of a big second up run. “We are thinking – slash hoping – that he will have improved, so that should hopefully make him pretty hard to beat.” Magic Mike goes up against his stablemate, Fomo, who was just fair when fifth for Williams at Ascot Park last week. Though the performance may not truly reflect her ability. “She has got her share of ability, but her gait is not perfect,” Robertson said. “Tim said she was travelling pretty well at Invercargill, but she ran out up the straight and didn’t want to take the passing lane.” “Hopefully the bigger track at Addington might help her.” Williams will not drive either of the Robertson team, instead he will be behind Zambia for trainer Paul Kerr. Blair Orange takes the drive behind Magic Mike and Robbie Close will steer Fomo. Williams will drive Im Jimmy James for the Robertson stable in race 9. The 7yr-old looks to have an ideal opportunity to get back to winning form after drawing barrier 2 in the 2000m standing start. Im Jimmy James was third behind American Lightning at Ascot Park before running sixth behind Ideal Rule at Addington the following week. “I am thinking the 2000m stand should suit him,” Robertson said. “His run at Invercargill was pretty good behind a smart horse.” “I was a little bit disappointed in his next run, but he was backing up for the third week in a row.” “He has had a week off race, so hopefully he should be better on Sunday. Ladbrooks trainer Dean Taylor has a key hand to play in race 2 with Jake and Spirit Of Arden. Spirit Of Arden got things horribly wrong on debut early last month, but looked much better when second in a recent Ashburton trial. “He has just got a few hang ups - he hit the footrests and he panicked completely in his first start,” Taylor said. “He has trialled up quite good and done things right since, but if things go wrong he gets very stirred up.” Spirit Of Arden is a 4yr-old half-brother to smart performers Bettor’s Strike, Southwind Arden and Rocknroll Arden. Taylor is hopeful that in time the horse could do his dam, Winter Rose, proud. “I am picking he is going to be a very good stayer one day.” Jake has featured in the thick end of most of his 11 starts. His last start fourth behind Ashes To Ashes, after sitting in the trail, may have disappointed his backers, but it did come after in a sharp step up in distance from 2000m. “His last run was his first run over 2600m,” Taylor said. “He did go hard early and it might have just caught up with him at the finish.” “But, he is very genuine.” Robbie Close will drive Spirit Of Arden and Ken Barron will steer Jake. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Southwind Tyrion continued his impressive winning ways Friday night at The Meadowlands, upping his lifetime record to three wins in as many starts after taking the $60,000 Garden State - sponsored by the Standardbred Owners and Breeders of New Jersey - for 2-year-old colts and geldings on the trot in 1:54.3 over a track labeled 'good'. The popular 1-9 favorite swung wide off the far turn and sprinted past his foes through the stretch to record a safe 1-length win for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Cricket Fashion was second with Red Redemption third. Two weeks ago, Southwind Tyrion took the New Jersey Sire Stakes Final in a lifetime-best 1:54. He now has earnings of $122,500 for owners S R F Stable, Ake Svanstedt, Knutsson Trotting and Brittany Farms.   In the first of two Garden State divisions for 2-year-old fillies on the trot, Lindys Dollywood, the 4-1 third choice in the wagering, came from off the pace to nail Beautiful Game at the wire. The George Ducharme-trained, Scott Zeron-driven daughter of Muscle Hill-Lindys Crazy won for the first time in three career starts after stopping the clock in 1:54. The Svanstedt-trained Presto made it two wins in three lifetime outings in the second division, hitting the wire in a lifetime-best 1:56.2. Yannick Gingras guided the product of Trixton-Susie's Magic to an easy score as the 1-5 favorite. Dune Hill ran her winning streak to four in the Continentalvictory for 3-year-old filly trotters, holding off Ms Savannah Belle by a nose in 1:53.4 in winning for the sixth time in 16 starts for trainer Ron Burke with Gingras in the bike. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Quite Possible paid $9.20 as the third choice in the betting. Hillexotic, a Muscle Hill-Exotic Destination colt trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer held off the late-charging 3-5 favorite Play Trix On Me in the Muscle Hill for 3-year-old colts and geldings on the trot. The winner, who was sent to the gate as the fourth choice in the betting at odds of 6-1, won for the first time in four career starts, hitting the wire in 1:53. A LITTLE MORE: Gingras recorded three wins on the program while Dexter Dunn had one. Heading into the last day of the meeting, Dunn leads Gingras 83-82 in the driver standings. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,377,908. ... Racing resumes Saturday, Hambletonian Day, at a special early post time of noon. ... There will be a 60-minute Hambletonian show telecast on tape delay on the CBS Sports Network at 6 p.m.   By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Promising pacer Arden Messi will be vying to add another win to his tally at Addington Raceway on Sunday when he contests the Allied Security (Junior Drivers) Mobile Pace (1980m). The Grant Payne-trained four-year-old has already tasted victory in his four career starts, and finished runner-up on two other occasions. Tim Williams has done the steering on all four occasions, but junior driver Mikayla Lewis will hop in the cart on Sunday in the junior driver event. Payne has been delighted with the way the son of Bettor’s Delight has been progressing in his first racing preparation and he said he was pleased with the gelding’s last start runner-up effort at the Christchurch track last week. “He’s been going really good,” Payne said. “He is a horse on the improve. Every time I take him off the place he just seems to get better. “He just got a bit lost in front (last start) I thought. It’s the first time he has been in front, he is a lot better with a bit of cover.” All four of his starts have come after the COVID-19 lockdown period, however, Payne said he took plenty of improvement from the enforced break. “I gave him a break when we had to and he came back much better,” Payne said. “I was really surprised with how much he had improved. “I am sure after another break he will come back better again.” Payne believes his charge is the one to beat on Sunday and he has every confidence in Lewis. “I will just leave it up to Mikayla, I don’t want to put any pressure on her,” he said. “If he gets an economical trip he will be very hard to beat.” Payne doesn’t have any set plans with Arden Messi at this stage, but he believes he can make his way through the grades. “He will tell me when he needs a break,” he said. “At the moment he is just thriving on his work so we will just press on.” Arden Messi is not the only southern-bred horse that is exciting Payne at the moment. “I am working about a dozen at the moment,” he said. “I have got a very nice three-year-old by Rock N Roll Heaven that I really like from Joyfuljoy’s family. “I bought him as a yearling from the sales. He is a lovely going horse and he has qualified.” Reflecting on last season’s tally of six wins, Payne said he was pleased with his small team’s efforts. “I only train a small team here, so I was pretty happy.”

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope will be looking to summit bigger mountains this season with another quality trotter. Four-year-old gelding Muscle Mountain made it six wins from just nine starts when he was victorious in the Lamb and Hayward Handicap Trot (2600m) at Addington Raceway on Friday night.  He began well from his 10m mark and was able to navigate his way around a couple of breakers. Driver Ben Hope pushed his charge forward early to take the lead and was able to dictate the pace for the rest of the race. He kicked clear turning for home and was able to hold out his only challenger, Doff Your Cap, to win by 2-1/4 lengths, with a further 8-1/2 lengths back to The Player in third. “He is a very nice horse,” Nina Hope said. “Greg has got a pretty high opinion of him. “He can get a little bit hot and can pull a bit, but he went super first up. We have really been working on his manners.” Hope was delighted with his win and said the sky is the limit for the talented square-gaiter. “If he continues to improve and keeps his head and manners right, he will go right to the top,” she said. While he has plenty of ability, Hope said they will continue to take a cautious approach with the Gr.3 NZ Two-Year-Old Trotting Stakes (1980m) winner. “We tend to take each race as it comes,” Hope said. “We will just go by how he races, we don’t like to throw them in the deep end too soon.” Muscle Mountain’s victory completed a double for the Hope barn after stablemate Luella was dominant in the previous race on the card, the Allied Security Mobile Pace (1980m). Ben Hope was in the cart once again and took similar tactics into that race, taking Luella straight to the front and dictating terms throughout. She proved too strong for her rivals and ran away to a 5-3/4 length victory. “She went super last start (when finishing fifth),” Nina Hope said. “She ran her last half in 55, we were rapt with her. “We were pretty confident she would go a good race because it was down in grade a little bit.” While she was confident heading into the race, Hope admitted she was a bit nervous when the Sweet Lou mare took a front-running role. “She led up in her first start back and she was a little bit disappointing, so I was a little bit worried when she was leading up,” Hope said. “But she ran 56.2 for the last half, so she was pretty hard to catch from there.”

If you are worried about Copy That’s standing start record on his way to the New Zealand Cup, don’t be. Because trainer Ray Green is adamant Thursday night’s stunning Alexandra Park winner will erase those fears next start. Copy That left no doubt he has the motor for open class by destroying most of the north’s pacing elite over 1700m on Thursday, blasting to the lead and tearing off a 53.8 last 800m and a 26.2 final 400m to win by five lengths. He went into the race with one race start of fitness under his belt as an advantage over his rivals but it would have mattered, it was his arrival on the big stage with his 1:52 mile rate one of the fastest seen in the north. The demolition job saw him shorten into $7.50 third favourite for the New Zealand Cup behind Self Assured at $2 and the yet to return Spankem. But while Green says the Cup at Addington is the aim, a casual punter might be wary of Copy That’s standing start record: two attempts for a pulled up and a third. They shouldn’t be as the third came in a first race for two months back in February and stepped away slowly bu safely while the pulled up three starts ago wasn’t because of an early gallop but the four-year-old entire hitting the foot rests on the sulky with his hind legs, forcing new driver Maurice McKendry to retire him from the race. Those standing start manners will get a full public appraisal next start in the standing start Spring Cup over 2200m at Alexandra Park on August 20. “I don’t think it will be a problem at all,” says Green. “He is that good a pacer he will handle it and he should get a few more before we head south.” Green says he would prefer to stay north with Copy That until at least weeks before the Cup so he can prepare him from home and with 10 starters last Thursday night two or three more NZ Cup lead-up races in the north look certain. “It is very satisfying having a horse like him,” says Green. “And there might be some good ones around but I wouldn’t swap him.” While they were all chasing a dream as soon as Copy That lead on Thursday there was still enough to like about the runs of horses like Belle of Montana, Triple Eight and Mach Shard. But while the second Tuesday in November is a long way away, Copy That deserves his place at the most favoured northerner at the moment and a horse who could excel in Australia after Christmas in races like the Bonanza, Chariots Of Fire and even Miracle Mile.   Michael Guerin

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

Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every Friday brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound   Justice Served’s breeding background Justice Served, who is proving one of the stars of regional racing in Victoria, is a five-year-old gelding expected to graduate far beyond his present rating. He has won $61,180 in stakes, a worthwhile return for the $16,000 paid for him as a yearling. By Rock N Roll Heaven, and one of the third crop of the Rocknroll Hanover horse, Justice Served is out of the Aces N Sevens mare Keepers Daughter, whose dam was a champion juvenile in Pelicanrama 1:53.4 ($730,271), the winner of a record 18 races at two, a Panorama mare who left the high class WA pacers Soho Highroller 1:51.4 ($187,531), Soho Tokyo 1:54.2 ($176,316) and Soho Leviathan (1:54). Justice Served (John Justice up) winning at Melton – photo by Stuart McCormick   Pelicanrama was out of the noted producer Beauteous, who ranks as a half-sister to the Victoria Cup and Derby winner Bag Limit, being by Globe Score (a son of Sheffield Globe) from Royal Blend, by Golden Adios from the Grand Scott mare Jennifer Scott. This was the family founded by the NZ bred mare Linton. From the Jennifer Scott branch of it and to which Justice Served belongs, others in Come On Frank 1:52 ($404,650), Mustang Fighter, Yarracoola (WA Golden Nugget), Albert Terrill (Bathurst Gold Crown), Gotanedge, Armchair Ride, Hes A Corka, Jilliby Generator (1:49.8) and fine trotters in Storm Blazer and Chuck Wagon also belong.   While They Pray top four-year-old While They Pray, winner of the Manea Classic at Bunbury and recently The Kerry Clarke 4 and 5YO Classic at Gloucester Park, is one of the best four-year-olds in Western Australia at present. He has now won eight and been five times placed from 15 starts this season. In the Kerry Clarke, he was never really extended in running out the 2100 metres at a 1:56.4 rate, the last 800 in 56.7 and the final quarter in 28.2, figures which he could have sharply improved. While They Pray                                        ---photo Hamilton Content Creators   While They Pray has an all-NZ breeding background and one which has been most successful. By the Christian Cullen horse Alta Christiano, who died earlier this year when at the height of his stud career, he is out of the Bettor’s Delight mare Slick Bird (1:55.7), who won a string of races in Perth including a WA Oaks heat.  Slick Bird, who was bred in Christchurch, is also the dam of the Dainty’s Daughter Classic winner Slick Artist 1:52.2 ($175,670), now racing successfully in America. She was a sister to the NZ Southland Oaks winner Smokin Byrd (1:55.1) and a half-sister to the good Australian winners Whos Escaped 1:52.7 ($127,377) and High Courage 1:53.4 ($143,950), being out of Who’s The Bird (2:01.7), by Falcon Seelster from the Golden Greek mare Donna Who, the glamour Queensland filly in the early 1990’s. Donna Who won 19 races including the Australian Pacing Gold and Redcliffe Breeders Crown, took a record of 1:57.1 and earned $244,668 and at the stud left Mr Whoudini, a winner of 18 races and $149,933, Wholigan (1:57.2) and Whola Dancer (2:00.9).   Weekend winners closely related Zahven Banner and Flaming Flutter, who won at Menangle and Yonkers, New York respectively in the identical time of 1:51.8 last weekend, are members of the same family.  Flaming Flutter, a 10-year-old gelding, is out of the In The Pocket mare Twice As Hot, while Zahven Banner, a six-year-old, is from When You’re Hot, a McArdle daughter of Twice As Hot. Both bred in NZ are by Bettor’s Delight, the leading sire in Australia and NZ. Zahven Banner ranks as a brother to Cyclone Banner and the three-year-old Typhoon Banner, both good winners in WA this year.   Star trotter by Majestic Son Homonym, a brilliant straightout trotter by Majestic Son from A Touch Of Sun (a member of the same maternal line as the champion Sundon), emerged as a genuine classics contender when she won twice at Ballarat recently. Bred in New Zealand by Victorian breeder Harvey Kaplan, Homonym is co-owned and trained by Richard Brosnan, who was associated with the Inter Dominion Trotting Final winner No Response. A Touch Of Sun, who won five races, is also the dam of the dual Derby and Harness Jewels winner King Denny Tr 1:55.9 ($298,914), now racing in Victoria, Sarah Lindenny (10 wins) and the Albion Park winner My Thunder Maker. By the Valley Victory horse Simon Roydon, A Touch Of Sun was out of the American-bred Sungait Song, the dam of the great Sundon, the Victoria Oaks winner Sunning and a top NZ trotter in Sungait Reb (Tr 1:57.2) and the grand-dam of dual Derby winner Solar Fire, the exported Flight Of The Kiwi (Tr 1:53.4), Outpunch Enchanter (Tr 1:59.7), Burano, Likeaplayboy, and others.  Sheemon, the winner of four Group 1 races and $548,064, and the Breeders Crown champion Show Gait, are other members of this family.   Seeuinnashville shows promise Seeuinnashville, who has now won three of his last six starts at Menangle, promises to make rapid progress through the classes. A five-year-old Mach Three gelding, he is out of Zoeyzoey, who was by Fake Left from the broodmare gem Grace Robinson, by Perfect Art from the Tarport Low mare Jasmarilla, a former Australian juvenile mile record holder and the best filly of her era. Zoeyzoey, who was unraced, ranks as a half-sister to the Seymour Nursery winner Two Eye See 1:52.4 ($306,703), the NSW Breeders Challenge winners Eye See Diamonds 1:51.6 ($284,875) and Hardhitter 1:51.4 ($175,430), Oh Eye See 1:54.5 ($101,705) and to Eye Betta Fly, the dam of the Pink Bonnet victor Eye Can Run (1:54.2). Seeuninnashville, who was bred by  Gisborne couple Ian and Kath Sutherland, won the Goulburn Sapling Stakes and finished runner-up in the APG Consolation as a two-year-old.    Smart filly’s 10th win The three-year-old Weewah, who won her 10th race at the Gloucester Park midweek meeting, is by the Cam’s Card Shark horse, Bettor’s Delight, sire of this season’s top filly Dr Susan. Weewah is out of Its My Style (1:56.2), by McArdle from Simply Devine, by In The Pocket from the Nero’s B B mare Awfully Nice, a daughter of Dream Bel, the dam of Defoe (Taylor Mile and Queensland Sunshine Sprint), a high class pacer in All Systems Go and others. Weewah is a sister to the NSW Carousel winner The Black Prince 1:51 ($230,240), Im Stylish 1:56.8 (WA Western Crown) and The Moonshadow (1:51.2), a winner at Yonkers, New York recently.   The Shallows on top in Tassie The Shallows, who has won eight of his 10 starts this season, and has graduated to a NR79 mark, is regarded as one of the best young pacers in Tasmania. The Shallows is a four-year-old sired by the Cam’s Card Shark horse Shadyshark Hanover, who stood several years in Victoria before returning to America. He is out of the unraced Exotic Angel, a Grinfromeartoear mare from the Australian Pacing Gold winner Exotic Strike, who established a great winning line for western Victorian breeder Ian Stanley. She left a capable racemare in Striking Spirit (1:58.4), dam of The Graduate winner Spiritwriter (1:53.1), and Smiley Ella (2:00.2), a sister to Exotic Angel, who became the dam of the speed merchant Ellas Puppeteer, who set a Victorian mile record of 1:52.8 in 2015.   Well related three-year-old Youaremy Sunshine is proving himself a three-year-old of some worth in Victoria and at his first start for almost five months he comfortably defeated older rivals from the front end at Bendigo, clocking 54.4 for his last 800 metres. Earlier in the season he won the VHRC 3YO Classic at Melton and finished a creditable fourth in the Victoria Derby. He is a colt by the deceased Cam’s Card Shark horse Hurrikane Kingcole from the Moonee Valley winner Princess Dilinger (1:58.2), who left others in Top The Ace 1:55.2 ($105,181), Shadow Of Fortune (1:55.7) and Idle Times (1:57.6). Princess Dilinger ranks as a half-sister to a smart pacer in Chirpy Chuckles (1:54.8), being by D M Dilinger from Kylie’s Reason, by Muckalee Strike from Jazz Band, by Jazzy Spark.  Youaremy Sunshine was bred and is part-owned by central Victorian identity Ken Griffey.   Breeding of Adios winner Catch The Fire, the winner of the $375,000 Adios, a three-year-old classic run at The Meadows, Pennsylvania, is a Captaintreacherous colt from the same family as the champion sires Rocknroll Hanover, Grinfromeartoear, Panorama and Safely Kept. He has a good deal in his favour on the score of blood. Apart from being by Captaintreacherous, and one of his second crop, Catch The Fire is out of the Bettor’s Delight mare Dream Outloud (1:55.8), a half-sister to a fine racemare in Lifesliltreasure (1:51.4), dam of the outstanding colt pacer Control The Moment 1:48.4 ($1 million). Their dam, Treasure For Trish (1:54.6), was by Jate Lobell from the Sonsam mare Sonspree, and tracing to the Ensign Hanover mare Golden Miss, whose family today is one of the best in the American stud book. The Adios winners Strike Out (1972) and Cactus Creek (2006) are also members of this tribe.   From family of Lazarus Lamandier, a most impressive winner on debut at the Terang midweek meeting, is a two-year-old colt who can claim some worthwhile blood. A $70,000 yearling, he is by Somebeachsomewhere from the Art Major mare Champagne Dreams (1:55.6), whose dam, Bethany, ranks as the dam of the great NZ pacer Lazarus 1:48.8, who is now standing at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga. Bethany was by Christian Cullen out of the Soky’s Atom mare Spirit Of Beth, a sister to the NZ Sires Stakes champion Spirit Of Zeus 1:57.8 ($243,472), the NZ Kindergarten Stakes winner Karmic Reward (1:58.6) and to Star Of Bethlehem, dam of Stars And Stripes 1:51.2 ($796,528), winner of 40 races including four Derbies, and the top flight juvenile Light And Sound 1:50.4 ($560,833).   By Peter Wharton  

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