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Trois-Rivieres, QC - Throughout the harness racing season, the half mile oval at Trois-Rivieres averages nearly eight starters per race, but this Sunday the track hosts a Preferred Pace with just five starters. And these five starters have been superb performers all season long. The small field may be one of the most competitive races assembled. The morning line favorite at 5/2 odds in the third race feature is the hard-hitting pacer Maracasso for trainer/driver Carol Voyer. This seven-year-old gelded son of Lis Mara is on a three-race winning streak between H3R and Rideau Carleton Raceway. You could almost say it was four-in-a-row except that Maracasso skipped a couple of pylons back on September 15, won the race but was placed last. A nine-race winner this year, Maracasso and Voyer starts from post four for the Alpha Stable of Metabetchouan. Predominately, Maracasso does his best racing on the front end where he has wired the field in nearly all his victories, winning at Rideau in a lifetime best 1:54.2 and just two weeks ago doing the same at H3R in 1:54.4. Considering that Maracasso was unraced last year, trainer Carol Voyer has done a superb job in bringing back his star pacer for the 2019 season. Of course, it will not be a walk in the park for Maracasso on Sunday as he faces last week's Preferred winner, Hooter Shooter, who goes from post three for driver Pascal Berube. Last week at H3R the six-year-old Badlands Hanover gelding posted his eighth win of the year, coming from off the pace, actually was seventh at the three-quarters, and closed to win it all by a half-length in 1:55.4. Another starter who has missed nearly two years of racing is Histoire Enchantee from post five driver Stephane Gendron. This $100,000 plus winner at the end of his three-year-old season with a record of 1:50.1, was injured and it has taken nearly two seasons for trainer Maxime Velaye to get him back to the races. This season Histoire Enchantee returned and flourished with three straight wins, the fastest in 1:56.4 and in his debut in the Preferred class saw him finish second in 1:55.1. Also entered are six-time winner, Surf Report, from post one for driver Tyler Jones and Appleby Hanover in post two, who is also a nine-time winner in 2019. First race post time is 1:00 pm Sunday. For a free race program and to view the races live on the internet, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

HARRINGTON, Del. - Harness racing's Frank Chick and David Hamm's Nerida Franco N ($23.60, Mike Cole) was a 1:53 winner in the $20,000 Mares Open Tuesday at Harrington Raceway. Firing from her rail post position, Nerida Franco N was the pacesetter and authored fractions of 27 seconds and 55.4 to the half-mile. Artrageous mounted a first-over attack with Jamie's Renegade perched second over to three-quarters in 1:24.1. The outer tier stalled as Empress Deo sat the pocket throughout but was outkicked for second by a late surging Cruzinforavictory. Empress Deo held third. Trained by Kevin Lare, Nerida Franco registered her 25th career win. The 9-year-old Lis Mara mare has banked more than $310,000 lifetime. Meet leading driver Art Stafford Jr. had four wins on the program. Tony Morgan and Jon Roberts each had a double. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway  

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Maracasso and trainer/driver Carol Voyer were able to steamroll over the field to capture the Preferred Pace at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday. The fifth race feature first saw Ninoscredit and driver Stephane Gendron leave from the rail for the early lead. Voyer also had Maracasso on the move from post four, but Gendron was not going to let them get to the lead with ease and parked them out to the opening quarter mile in :27.1. Voyer pressed the issue with Maracasso and they took command by the half mile in :55.1. From that point on Maracasso took off, leading the field by three lengths in the backstretch. At the three-quarters in 1:24, Maracasso was still in command. Stock and driver Pascal Berube moved three-wide in the backstretch and was able to get behind Maracasso and gave a game effort, closing within a half length as Maracasso went on to win in 1:54.4. Ninocredit was second. It was the seventh win this year for Maracasso. The seven-year-old gelded son of Lis Mara is owned by the Alpha Stable of Metabetchouan and he paid $5.40 to win. Jimbelina, the long mare in the field, saw her five-race win streak come to close, finishing fifth. The Filly & Mares Preferred Pace saw Uptown Woman ($6.30) and driver Pascal Berube pulled the pocket at the three-quarters on pacesetter Sauble Bonnie and then scoot away from the field to win in a romp by six and one-quarter lengths in 1:57. Solid Man ($3.40), after overcoming going wide into the first turn, was an easy winner in the Two-Year-Old Open Pace, wiring the field by two and one-half lengths in 1:59.2. Histoire Enchantee ($2.10) continued his remarkable comeback after being away from the races for nearly two years, winning the tenth race pace in 1:56.4 for his third straight win. He was driven by Stephane Gendron for trainer Maxime Velaye. Francis Picard led all the drivers with a triple and H3R's leading trainer, Francis Richard, sent out two winners. Track Notes: The final stop of the Regional Fair Circuit in Quebec took place Saturday at Ormstown. The track record for 1 ½ mile race was broken by the pacer Hooter Shooter, who went in 3:11.1 for driver Sam Filion and owner/trainer Marc Andre Simoneau. The old record was 3:12.3 set by Strokin (LPR) on July 16, 2016. This was the fifth track record broken this year on the circuit. Next Sunday, H3R will host the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit Championships. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Culinary Delight N (Lis Mara) flirted with a win a couple of times in her three local starts heading into Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Kim Asher-trained distaffer finished second in last week's Fillies and Mares Open and was the public's second choice in the wagering on Friday night in the $14,500 feature. Larry Stalbaum pilots the eight year old mare who got away third in the seven-horse Open. With the favored Lady Shadow (Wally Hennessey) on the front end looking to go back to back in the ladies' feature, Culinary Delight N sat patiently in third before powering to the outside approaching the three quarter pole and cruising past the odds-on favorite at the top of the stretch. Culinary Delight N came on to win in 1:52.2 on Friday, drawing away from Lady Shadow who had to settle for second. Spreester continued her lengthy stretch of finishing in the money as she earned the show spot after coming from last in the Open. Culinary Delight N returned $6.50 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $17.80 and $53, respectively. The win time was the second fastest of the season for any pacing mare at the Spa. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time set for 6:45pm. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Lis Mara gelding Ontario Success had quite the adventuresome trip going from last at the quarter to first at the finish in the $20,000 pacing feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night, but he got the job done nicely for harness racing driver Anthony Napolitano in 1:51.2 with the temperature in the cool mid-50s. Ontario Success did not leave, but the two primary quick starters, Milliondollarwave and Maxdaddy Blue Chip, hooked wheels coming out of the first turn, with several of the horses directly in behind them having their chances severely compromised in the ensuing melee. Napolitano had to go wide in front of the stands to avoid major trouble, but indeed would suffer relatively minor difficulty and went up to third going to the second turn. Off that bend Ontario Success started a first-over journey, wore down El Bloombito, who had emerged with the lead after the early trouble, then held off the second-over Bruce's Magic by a length. Ron Burke trains the winner of $425,430 for his family's Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Pocono will race as usual Sunday night at 7:30, and then on Monday it switches over to that day's post time at the mountain oval for the rest of the year, 4:30 p.m. The Labor Day Monday card is a great one - the $1.2M+ Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships for two-year-olds, featuring the undefeated trotting filly Manchego and other stars of the future. PHHA / Pocono

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras rushed Ontario Success to the lead at the quarter in a pulse-pounding :26.4 and then was permitted to tap the brakes for the middle half-mile, which proved to be the difference as the pair took the Saturday night feature at the Meadowlands, a $17,500 conditioned pace. Ontario Success, a 7-year-old gelded son of Lis Mara, was permitted to sleepwalk to the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:25. Off a middle half that was timed in :58.1, the lifetime earner of $386,613 then sprinted home in a quarter identical to his opening split to win by a diminishing neck over the fast-closing 6-5 favorite Bettor's Edge in 1:51.4 for trainer Ron Burke, upping his lifetime stats to 30 wins from 103 starts. As the second choice in the wagering, Ontario Success returned $5.00 to win. J J Flynn was third. BOMBS AWAY: Longshots ruled in the first three legs of the Pick 5 (Races 1-5), setting up a big payday for one lucky bettor. One Tough Nut ($34.60), Jaye's A Lady ($63.00) and Stitch In Time ($27.60) took the first three races on the card, so even after favorites Sams Triple Crown ($3.80) and Cherokee Ranger ($4.00) completed the quintet, the payout for the winning combination of 5-4-2-8-3 was a whopping $28,411.20. CHALKY COREY: Driver Corey Callahan led the driver colony with four winners on the card, each was the pubic choice. ... All-source wagering on the program totaled $2,310,037. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. Ontario Success By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands

Exciting former Kiwi Van Mara (Lis Mara-Van Seraa) can overcome his extreme draw at Tabcorp Park Melton tomorrow night, says harness racing trainer Andy Gath. Speaking with Nadia Horne on RSN Friday morning, Gath spoke glowingly of his four-year-old, who is two-for-two since joining the Kate and Andy team. “He had really good form in New Zealand. It tapered off a little bit before he came over to us but he’s a horse we have a pretty big opinion of,” Gath said. Van Mara, to be driven by Andy's wife, Kate, starts from outside the second row in the DNR Logistics Pace Final (Race 2) at 5.55pm. “He can do it tough if he has to,” Gath said. “And he’s got good speed, even if he’s back in the field. He’s a horse that we think is going to develop into a pretty nice horse. He’ll be fighting out the finish.” Gath has always had an eye on Van Mara and always expressed interest in purchasing the gelding. “Finally he came down to a price I was comfortable at and I was fortunate enough to be able to get him in the stable,” the Long Forest horseman said. GET THE INSIDE WORD FROM ANDY GATH Meanwhile, TAB.com.au has a projected Quaddie pool of $125,000 ($20,000) jackpot tomorrow night at Tabcorp Park Melton. Sign up to receive your GoodForm Game Plan delivered hot off the press daily from our dedicated team of form analysts.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

DOVER, Del.--- Singing Saint, driven by Tony Morgan, came from off the pace to record a 1:53.1 victory to win the Monday, Feb. 13 $9,000 Male pace at Dover Downs. Harness racing driver Montrell Teague drove four winners, three for trainer Clyde Francis and two for owner George Teague. Morgan moved the Lis Mara-Celestial gelding three wide on the final turn to quickly join the leaders turning for home. In the lane, Singing Saint fended off Go Collect N (Corey Callahan) in a stretch duel to register his first win of 2017, after two seconds and a third, for owner-trainer Bob Stevenson. Rock N Roll Jet (Bret Brittingham) picked up third place in the nine-horse field. Singing Saint won for the 21st time in his career while annexing a $142,382 bankroll. In the sub-feature, Vic Kirby and Shellysblockbuster won the dash-to-the-wire beating Casey At Bat (Allan Davis) in 1:52.2. It was the second win of the season for the Bettor's Delight-Lover's talk veteran gelding owner by Don Reed and trainer George Wagner. Western Young Gun (Jonathan Roberts) finished third. Shellysblockbuster won for the 26th time in his career while earning $226,510 lifetime. Montrell Teague led all drivers with four winners. Vic Kirby had three wins; Jonathan Roberts, trainer Clyde Francis haltered three wins while owner George Teague had two winners. SHARP SWEET BOBBIE SEEKS REPEAT IN $20,000 MARES OPEN Sweet Bobbie, never farther back than third in her last eight races, returns this week to the $20,000 Mares Open Handicap, facing KJ’s Caroline, who steps up after a win last week, among seven starters in the Tuesday, Feb.14 Valentine’s day feature at Dover Downs. Post time is 4:30 p.m. Enhance Your Mind, with Vic Kirby driving for owner-trainer Bryan Truitt had been burdened by outside posts recently after winning four-races in a row heads the opposition. Nat A Virgin, piloted by Corey Callahan, moves from an outside post to the rail this time, for owners J&T Silva and Robert Cooper Stable. Another solid contender, Rich Pollucci’s Mischief Maker N with Ross Wolfenden finished a close-up second last week for the second straight time. Scott Woogen’s KJ’s Caroline and Yannick Gingras leaves from post 2 with Dave Banks and Layfield Horses’ Sayulita, handled by Allan Davis, and Killean Finale with Jonathan Roberts driving for trainer Josh Parker and Nanticoke Racing completing the competitive lineup. After Frank Carzone, Bob Sabatini, trainer Ed Gannon and driver Yannick Gingras’ Vintage Babe’s six-race win streak was snapped two weeks ago, the four-year-old returned to the winners circle last Tuesday. Now, she takes on eight rivals in the $15,500 Mares 4&5-Year-Old pace. She tangles with the red-hot Dismissal (Montrell Teague), from the rail, who has front-paced to three consecutive wins for CTC Stable in a nine-horse secondary feature female pace. An  excellent all-female pacing undercard is on the Tuesday program.  Monday through Thursday live racing begins at 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are ‘dark days’ at the track. Fine food is available while watching the races at the acclaimed Winner's Circle Restaurant Buffet. Call 302-674-4600. Marv Bachrad  

Promising three-year-old Messi, surprisingly beaten for the first time in a seven-start career when second to Starlight Brigade at Albany last Saturday night, gets his chance to make amends and return to the harness racing winning list when he contests the $18,000 Grace Smedley Pace over 1730m, at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, the New Zealand-bred Lis Mara gelding carried all before him and was touted as a leading prospect for the WA Derby this year when he won in good style at his first six starts in a race (two as a two-year-old and four this season). He was favourite at 7/4 on when he started from the back line last Saturday night at his outing for two months. He raced in seventh position in the first lap before Ryan Warwick sent him forward, three wide, to move into the breeze outside the pacemaker Starlight Brigade. Messi got to the front, by a neck, at the 1200m mark, but was unable to cross to the front. He fought on gamely, but wilted in the closing stages to finish more than three lengths behind Starlight Brigade. He is sure to be improved by his first-up effort. However, he will need to be close to his top against some smart three-year-olds, including the only filly in the race, the Mike Reed-trained Beach Goddess, who will be driven by Colin Brown from the coveted No. 1 barrier on the front line. Beach Goddess won four times from eight starts as a two-year-old and she reappeared after an absence of seven and a half months in a 2130m event last Friday night in which she started out wide at barrier seven. She raced on the pegs in fifth position before fighting on to finish fourth behind stablemate Maczaffair. She is a smart frontrunner and Brown is likely to attempt an all-the-way win. The David Thompson-trained Allmightyjoelouis has resumed after a spell in fine style and demands plenty of respect. He will start from barrier six and looks set to fight out the finish. Allthemightyjoelouis will be handled by Gary Hall jun., who has excellent winning prospects with Soho Chelsea, Ideal Alice and American Boy. Ken Casellas

DOVER. Del.--- Mel Mara led off the 2016-17 harness racing meet at Dover Downs recording a 1:49.1 triumph in the $30,000 Preferred Open Handicap. Drivers Art Stafford Jr., Bret Brittingham, trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta made the winner's circle three times each to highlight the opener of its 48th season on Monday, Oct. 31. Corey Callahan and Dylan Davis, the meet's defending leading driver and trainer combined as Mel Mara led from early and never looked back posting his seventh win of the season for owners Robert Cooper and J&T Silva stables finishing his mile with a :26.4 final panel. The victory lifted the Lis Mara-ML Revrac horse to $233,540 earnings this season and $$691,464 lifetime. Dancin Yankee and Tim Tetrick raced second throughout with Mustang Art, piloted by Sean Bier, third. Meanwhile. In the $18,000 3,4&5-Year-Old Open, Soto closed strongly for Art Stafford Jr. to notch a 1:50.4 score for the Wood, Dittman and Iaquinta ownership and trainer Eric Ell. The game Remember Me VK (Montrell Teague) cut the mile and finished a strong second. Trading Up (Pat Berry) took third. In another $15,000 event, Cajon Lightning, a four-year-old altered son of Mach Three-Tex In The City, with the same driver, trainer and owners along with Minisink Farms came through with a 1:51 verdict in a $15,000 Male pace. Lew's Maverick (Kevin Switzer Jr.) and Rock On Precious (Russ Foster) finished second and third. The other $15,000 pace, went to Swapportunity, another gelded son of Mach Three from Swap Blue Chip, driven by Jim Morand for trainer Les Givens and owners Ed Maas, Arlene Paisley and Nanticoke Racing, overcame post 8 to best Poisonous (Tim Tetrick) in a 1:52.4 victory. The win in the 3,4&5-Year-Old Winners-Over pace, gives the owners a $54,023 reward thus far this season. Fashion Bythebeach (Vince Copeland) was third. Driver Bret Brittingham and trainer Ben Stafford combined for two of Brittingham's three wins. Cloud Speed, A three-year-old Dragon Again-Cams Extic gelding scored a lifetime best 1:53 to win an $11,000 pace for young horses. Machine Team won in a lifetime fastest 1:54 in another $11,000 race. All Music, owned by Benton, West and the Wyatts, was his third wi in 1:55.1 in a $9,000 pace. Janet Hudson's Just A Jolt and Star Messenger, who she owns with Joanne Looney King gave driver Vic Kirby and trainer Jim King a double. Just A Jolt, by Village Jolt-Just Wait Kate, scored in 1:51.2 in a $12,500 Male pace beating Sicily (Allan Davis) and Golden Gun (Pat Berry) while Star Messenger, a Jereme's Jet-Manhattan Killean gelding romped in 1:51.4. Allan Davis, also added a pair of wins. Trainer Gary Simpson and Eric Good's Ideal Kiss won a $13,500 pace for younger horses in 1:54, the American Ideal-Ruffle's Kiss sophomore gelding's eighth win of the year. Earlier, he drove Allan Pullman and Barry Glickstein's Doctor McSwing to his third lifetime win, all this year, wnning an $8,000 pace in 1:56. In Tuesday feature race, a $20,000 Filly and Mares Open Pace, Nike Franco N and Scandalicious head a field of eight topping a female filled 15-ra The week's top female pace leads Tuesday's racing. The top trotters head Wednesday's card while all four rich Matron Stakes for male and female two-year-old trotters and pacers is set for this Thursday, Nov.3. Monday through Thursday post time is 4:30 p.m. No racing on Friday and Saturday. Sunday racing now starts at 5; 30 p.m. Simulcasting of harness and thoroughbred racing and NFL three-game wagering is available daily from 12 Noon until 12 Midnight. There is no charge for parking and admission. Early reservations are suggested for the acclaimed Winner's Circle Buffet Restaurant and for those planning to stay at the 4-star Dover Downs Hotel. Call 302-674-4600. ce card. Marv Bachrad          

HARRINGTON, Del. - Robert Stevenson's Singing Saint (Tony Morgan, $9.80), won the harness racing featured $19,200 Open Pace Monday at Harrington Raceway in 1:52. The race was named in honor of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, a non-profit organization aimed at increasing awareness for breast cancer in The First State. Volunteers from the DBCC were on hand selling harness horse bracelets and other miscellaneous merchandise, with proceeds benefiting the DBCC. To learn more about their organization, please visit www.debreastcancer.org. The aforementioned Singing Saint, a 6-year-old Lis Mara gelding, notched his seventh win of the year for his owner/trainer Stevenson, courtesy of a fierce charge in the stretch that catapulted him by his rivals for the win. Little Ben was second, with Special T Rocks third. Montrell Teague and Bret Brittingham each had three winners on the program. Matthew Sparacino    

HARRINGTON, Del. - Robert Cooper Stables and J&T Silva Stables' Mel Mara (Corey Callahan, $2.20) had an auspicious Harrington Raceway debut in his prep for next week's (September 19) $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial with a 1:50.1 win, while breaking a track record in the harness racing featured $15,000 Open Monday. The 7-year-old Lis Mara stallion never had an anxious moment in his front end score from post position five for trainer Dylan Davis. Mel Mara has banked more than $171,000 this year and nearly $630,000 in his career. He has campaigned against many of the sport's top pacers this season and took a career best of 1:47 earlier in the year at the Meadowlands. The 1:50.1 time established a new track record for aged pacing stallions, which was formerly held by Getitoffyourchest, who set the mark earlier this year on June 20. Little Ben and Handsome Henry K rounded out the trifecta. For the second straight start, Carrie Malone and Amanda Malone's Nuclear Dragon ($5.40, Jon Roberts) recorded a new lifetime mark with a sparkling 1:52 score in a $9,000 conditioned pace for trainer Brian Malone. George Dennis recorded a driving triple. Montrell Teague had two wins. The draw for 10th annual Bobby Quillen Memorial is Tuesday September 13. Matthew Sparacino  

After a solid performance against the best aged pacers in the world in the Ben Franklin two weeks ago at Pocono, Dylan Davis trainee Mel Mara returned to harness racing. This time, in a Winner's Over pace going for $25,000 at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. Starting from post 7, the 7-year-old son of Lis Mara left fast off the wings, clearing the lead well before the quarter (:26.2). After rating the half (:55), Mel Mara turned it up a notch, pacing the third quarter in :26.3 (1:21.3). Mel Mara finished strong, stopping the clock in 1:48.4 (:27.1 last qtr). He finished under wraps, as driver Trace Tetrick never asked the now 14 time winner for any pace. Clear Vision (Yannick Gingras) finished second, while Southwind Amazon (Marcus Miller) overcame a tough trip to finish third. Mel Mara is owned by Robert Cooper Stables and J & T Silva Stables. He won by four lengths in the end, and paid $2.40 to win. Michael Bozich

ANDERSON, Ind.-June 18, 2016 - In near gate-to-wire fashion, Ontario Success and harness racing driver John DeLong captured the featured event of the evening, a $21,000 Invitational pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, June 18. Slightly dismissed at the windows at 6-1, Ontario Success was able to hold off his rivals late in the lane to score in 1:49.4, just a few ticks of his career best. It was a seasonal best mark and also equaled the fastest mile of the 2016 season through the first 50 nights of racing at Hoosier Park. Leaving from post seven in a talented field of nine, DeLong settled off the gate along the rail in seventh while a host of others left aggressively for the lead. Nitro and Ricky Macomber Jr. were the first to get a call through the opening panel in :26.2 but their lead would be short lived as Sam Widger had Night Pro pointed to the front. Night Pro was able to grab command just past the half :55 but would yield the lead to Ontario Success approaching the final turn. Ontario Success was in command at third station in 1:22.2 but Night Pro wasn't going away easily. As the rest of the field began to close in on the top pair, DeLong asked Ontario Success for more. Using a :27.2 final quarter, Ontario Success dug in gamely to get the win by a length over Night Pro. K-lees Shakenbake and Jason Dillander staged a big rally late in the lane to round out the trifecta. Ontario Success returned $15.60 to his backers at the betting windows. Trained by Ron Burke, Ontario Success scored his eighth win from 11 seasonal outings. The gelded son of Lis Mara-Loving Successor has now won 22 of 76 lifetime outings while bankrolling $280,903 for his connections of Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi. The win was also one of three driving wins on the evening's 13-race for driver John DeLong. DeLong is currently second on Hoosier Park's leading driver standings with 89 victories on the season through 55 nights of racing. Trace Tetrick leads all drivers with 127 victories in 2016. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Tuesday, June 21 with a daily racing post time of 5:45 p.m. Live racing will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 12. For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com . Emily Gaskin  

Carrickmannon N (Lis Mara) made her debut in the harness racing feature on Friday night at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Chris Marino-trained mare moved first over on the race's big favorite in the $15,000 Fillies and Mares Open and cruised by to prevail in a career best 1:52.3. Stephane Bouchard piloted Carrickmannon N to her tenth win in fifteen seasonal starts. The six year old New Zealand invader powered past the 2-5 shot Godiva Seelster (Wally Hennessey) while breaking that one's impressive five race winning streak. Godiva Seelster had to settle for second in the feature for distaffers while Bettorhaveanother (Frank Coppola Jr) earned the show spot. Carrickmannon N returned $7.80 to win and led an exacta and triple that paid $21.20 and $81, respectively. While it was the first career victory in the Open for Carrickmannon N, for her connections owner Mike Casalino Jr. and trainer Chris Marino, it was number six in the Fillies and Mares Open in 2016 as their Campanile has recorded five wins in the Friday features at the Spa thus far this year. Live racing continues on Saturday night with first post time set for 6:45pm. Mike Sardella

You won’t miss John McDermott’s smile over the next few weeks, because it’s one of the largest anyone in Harness Racing has at the moment. The past few weeks have been some of the best for the Prebbleton based trainer and amateur driver. It all started with the win of She’sa Tricky Bridge, on Premier day at Addington back on the 14th of May. The 3yo Stonebridge Regal filly cracked her maiden victory and gave McDermott one of his biggest victories’s to date. A week later and McDermott was down to drive Sheza Springfield and Shantahlia Knight in the first two heats of The Dexion New Zealand Amateur Drivers Championship. That night saw John salute the judge on both occasions and head to Rangiora leading the pack on maximum points. Luck continued when John was drawn to drive Franco Exeter in the third heat. “I could never have dreamed of picking up two wins at Cambridge, I drew a couple of nice horses and the luck went our way on the night” said John Apart from a failure at Forbury Park back at the end of April, the 5yo Lis Mara gelding hasn’t missed a top two finish for Burnham trainer Mark Jones. Sent forward from a wide draw, Franco Exeter took up his customary leading role and McDermott let the Wayne Higgs owned gelding roll along at a steady tempo. “The Dominator John McDermott” as commentator Mark McNamara called him, was off and gone at the 500m and had most of the field off their feet. Franco Exeter managed to hold on and win by ½ length over a fast finishing As Kiwi As (Gavin Cook), with 2 ¼ lengths back to Going Going Gone (Sheryl Wigg). “The connections weren’t that confident after his last start failure, but his previous form had been so good” said McDermott. One punter was that confident that John would go 3/3 that they placed a whopping $3,500.00 to win on Franco Exeter. Somehow even with maximum points from the first 3 heats, there was a chance that John could be pipped at the post, but that was put to bed when he took inside runs on outsider Midfrew Tarpediem to finish strongly for 5th and secure a maiden NZ amateur title. “They told me coming into the last I had to either beat Sheryl home or if she won, it would turn into having to beat four home to win, and three home to win on a count back." "It’s been a wonderful competition; having four heats this year has been great. Last year they only managed to get the 3 heats and some drivers only got to have two drives, but thanks to all the trainers and connections at Cambridge and Canterbury, we had full fields and several of those trainers backed their horses up from Friday night which really helped.” Sheryl placed 3 times and won the last heat, usually that sort of form would win most drivers series in New Zealand but nobody could begrudge McDermott’s victory, nor the smile on his face after achieving his career highlight (to date). She’sa Tricky Bridge Sheza Springfield Shantahlia Knight Franco Exeter Andrew Fitzgerald

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