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With partners Braeden and Caroline Whitelock otherwise occupied at a rugby ground in Sydney, Phil Creighton made a lightning return trip to  Melbourne on Saturday to witness Princess Tiffany score an impressive win in her Breeder's Crown semi-final. He was pleased to hear Mark tell him everything was on schedule for the final next weekend and thrilled when Mark told an interviewer after the race he doubted he had had a better juvenile filly than Princess Tiffany, now unbeaten in eight starts and an emphatic favourite for the BC Final after an authority-stamping end to end victory home in 27.1 "Mark said to me the draw was a wee bit of a worry and he might try for the front rather than end up parked and it worked out well" said Phil who bred the filly's dam, big winner Dancing Diamonds with Stu Gillan and raced her with the Whitelocks. An earlier foal of the mare, Rock Diamonds, bred by the Whitelocks is a good winner in Perth. "I thought I should make the effort to go and see the semi. She is a very special filly. You  love to watch your own horses even if you have to make the effort and Mark's words made it worthwhile. He has had some very smart juvenile fillies, like Dream About Me and many more" Phil, who also races Ultimate Machete a G1 winner in Australia this season,  has since lost Asabella the dam of Dancing Diamonds whose two previous foals had been smart pacer Code Red and the high class pacer Ohoka's Bondy. Phil and wife Margaret have recently cut back on their commercial breeding interests but Princess Tiffany will be claiming a lot of his attention for some time.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables   View the video here!   2 5:34pm ALWAYS B MIKI ALABAR BREEDERS CROWN SERIES 21 (2YO FILLIES) (1ST SEMI-FINAL) 2150M $20,000 2YO Fillies. RBD. Mobile Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 OUR PRINCESS TIFFANY NZ      Fr4 4 Mark Purdon Mark Purdon   $ 1.50 fav  PRS GS L 1 SWAB   BAY FILLY 2 by ART MAJOR USA out of DANCING DIAMONDS (NZ) (BETTORS DELIGHT USA)  Owner(s): B J Whitelock, C J Whitelock, P J Creighton, M C Creighton  Breeder(s): B J Whitelock, C J Whitelock 2 KUALOA      Fr3 3 Emma Stewart Chris Alford 5.70 $ 3.00   RRAS LCD B LCRT 4 3 SWIMSUIT EDITION      Fr1 1 Emma Stewart Mark Pitt 11.30 $ 11.10   RRAS WI 2 4 ENCHANTED STRIDE      Fr7 7 David Miles David Miles 14.10 $ 33.00   PRS GS INC 6 5 LARAJAY MACRAY      Sr1 8 Jess Tubbs Greg Sugars 17.70 $ 35.30   5 RR SHO 6 MY GIRL PEARL      Fr2 2 Ahmed Taiba Monique Burnett 17.90 $ 76.70   GS 3 7 MY ANNA RANI      Fr5 5 Roy Roots Jnr Kima Frenning 19.90 $ 79.80   RES 8 8 ROSIE SAMBROSIE      Fr6 6 Chris Svanosio Chris Svanosio 35.10 $ 150.00   RAS 9 9 ILLAWONG ASTRO      Sr2 9 Jodi Quinlan Craig Demmler 61.60 $ 215.00   7 TIRE NAT Scratchings   NO WIN NO FEED 10 Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 2:39:2 Mile Rate: 1:59:1 Lead Time: 39.5 First Quarter: 32.5 Second Quarter: 31.6 Third Quarter: 28.4 Fourth Quarter: 27.2 Margins: 5.7m x 5.6m  

The long-awaited clash between the best NZ and Australian fillies in the Breeder's Crown gets off to a cracking start at Bendigo on Saturday evening. PRINCESS TIFFANY faces her toughest task yet in a scintillating career when she goes from gate four in her semi over 2140m While she should still be too good, her clash with two of the Emma Stewart stars both of whom are drawn inside her will be of considerable interest on both sides of the Tasman. KUALOA (gate 3) has only been beaten once when going down to TWO TIMES BETTOR in her BC heat, At her previous start she continued her near perfect record by winning the VicBred Final at a meeting where Stewart horses completely dominated, and beating Two Times Bettor in an impressive 1.56.6 mile rate. She has won 6 from 8  though she disappointed in the APG final when caught wide improving and finishing only 7th 22m from the winner, Soho Nolita in 1.53. Two Times Bettor has drawn awkwardly in the 2nd heat on Saturday. The other possible upset hope  to Princess Tiffany is SWIMSUIT EDITION another Stewart runner drawn the ace though she would have to improve on her two starts to date. She won her heat of the BC at odds-on but only with a neck to spare and a 1.59.5 mr. Her debut at Ballarat when a $1.60 fave was disappointing in that she did not pace well early which cost her her winning chance. Princess Tiffany has posted a 1.58.9 mile rate over 2200m in New Zealand Kualoa is by Art Major from an American Ideal mare and Swimsuit Edition by Somebeachsomewhere from a Badlands Hanover mare. Another Masterpiece also faces a major clash with a representative of the Stewart stable on CENTENARIO winner of 7 of his 9 starts including the Vicbred Final with a 1.55.9 mile rate. An American Ideal youngster from an Art Major mare, he also won the APG Gold Final of $A350,000 and has gate 3 on Saturday while Another Masterpiece has gate 9,outside of the second row but with only two runners in it and he may be able to track his strongest rival. Former All Stars runners THINK ABOUT ME and DUPLICATED are in the three year old heats with another, MACH UP, a withdrawal. Think About Me disappointed when 6th in his heat and Duplicated, with strong Queensland form recently is up against the unbeaten IGNATIUS  (11 starts) who has posted a 1.51.3 mile time at Menangle and Stewart star POSTER BOY  a sensational two year old last term who went on to win the NSW Derby this season  Courtesy of All Stars Website http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Graeme Anderson has proved as good as his word now that Eamon Maguire is back at All Stars and ready to embark on a NZ Cup preparation. Last season co-owner Graeme, an astute trainer in his own right, handled Eamon Maguire through his summer and early autumn preparation before transferring him to All Stars near the end of April for his northern campaign. But after the Harness Jewels win Graeme made the decision that the NZ Cup prep. would be entirely at Rolleston even if that was the more expensive option. He based that on the progress Titan Banner had shown when undergoing a full prep there for the 2016 Cup. That was ok with Mark and Natalie, especially Natalie who has a high opinion of the gelding.  Like Graeme she puts the horse first and it has paid in spades in 2018. And 2018 is not over yet **Lazarus is a 6/5 favourite for is US debut at Hoosier Park in spite of drawing the outside. The only real threat, McWicked, a 7 yo who has done stud duty is the 2-1 2nd fav.   Courtesy of All Stars Stables  

It was paint by numbers simple for the three Kiwi trio using yesterday's low-key Menangle meeting as a lead-in to the Breeders Crown. All three - Show Gait, Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece - led and won their their Australian debuts easily before they head to Victoria next week for the rich Breeders Crown finals on August 25. Both Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece are Harness Jewels winners so it was no surprise they were able to win without being extended but trainer-driver Mark Purdon was thrilled with how they came through their first proper races in two months. "They were both really good without being asked for their best, which is ideal for this stage of the preparation," said Purdon. "Before we loaded Another Masterpiece on the float to come home he was really full of himself so I think he is in a good place," said Purdon. Both juvenile pacers will have to contest semifinals of the Breeders Crown at Bendigo on Saturday week, where finishing in the top half of the field will get them into the final. Show Gait won't have to contest a semi for her three-year-old trotters division at the Crown, with heat winners straight into the final. She took on the older horses yesterday and also worked to the front easily, with Purdon doing the driving for young Canterbury trainer Regan Todd, who is travelling with the Purdon-Rasmussen runners. Purdon had to shake Show Gait up inside the last 50m to keep her mind on the job.   Michael Guerin

The first four races at Menangle on a quiet Tuesday afternoon usually slip by without a lot of interest on this side of the Tasman. But then again, they rarely contain two Harness Jewels winners and a Sales Series Trot star. So today's mid-afternoon Sydney harness should not only be worth a watch but also prove a valuable guide to the rich Breeders Crown in Victoria on August 25. The meeting is headlined by unbeaten juvenile pacing filly Princess Tiffany (race three) and fellow Jewels winner Another Masterpiece (four). Princess Tiffany meets some handy two-year-old rivals but is so brilliant, anything but a victory would be disappointing, especially as trainer Mark Purdon has been thrilled with her preparation. Rivals like Regulus have shown themselves to be good 1m 55s mile juveniles but Princess Tiffany came from last to win her Jewels untouched in 1m 54.2s, suggesting she will remain unbeaten. To split his pair, Purdon has put Another Masterpiece in a maiden race, but oddly, he ends up against former talented stablemate Gentle Giant, who was an Ashburton feature raceday winner for the All Stars last October and could have been expected to go further in life than he has. So while he might have to pace 1m 55s for his mobile mile, Another Masterpiece has gone two seconds faster than that and should also jog home. The programme kicks off with Show Gait, who has been travelling with the Purdon-Rasmussen team, making her Australian debut in a lower grade standing start 2300m trot. The Sales Series winner has shown high speed for a three-year-old trotting filly but trainer Regan Todd says she is still peaking. "My aim is to have her spot on for the Breeders Final so she has to be a little bit underdone but she has definitely improved since she got here," Todd said. "It is a lot warmer here than at home [Canterbury] and it has really brought her on. And her race being 2300m and a stand suits better than some of the mad miles over here." To add to the strong Kiwi flavour at the meeting, former northern pacer Bettor Step Aside makes his Australian debut in race five after being sold out of the Derek Balle stable and looks ideally placed. Michael Guerin

Chase Auckland’s New Zealand Cup campaign may be over before it really got started. The champion three-year-old pacer is almost certainly out of contention for November’s  $800,000 Addington classic as he is taking longer than expected to recover from a pulled muscle in his hind quarters. “It is not a major thing but it is costing him valuable work from a Cup point of view,” says co-trainer Mark Purdon. “He has been sidelined for 10-12 days now and I don’t see him coming back into work for at least another 10 days.  “And even then it could be longer. We will let him tell us when he is ready.” While the Cup is still over three months away the setback could cost Chase Auckland a full month of ground work and means at best he would be trialing by mid October, which makes the New Zealand Cup almost impossible. “I am not totally writing it off but I would say it is very unlikely he will be there,” says Purdon. “He is going to be a long away behind our other horses as well as the other open class horses from other stables. “For his first season in open class and his first Cup you would want a perfect build-up and a chance for him to get used to that grade. “So I think he might miss the Cup carnival and while that would be disappointing it was never set in stone for him. “Being a four-year-old he has a lot of other options this season and will get his chance at the Cup next year.” Chase Auckland was clearly New Zealand’s best three-year-old pacer in the season just finished, emerging from maidens to win the Sires’ Stakes, Sales Series Pace and the Northern Derby.\ He is listed as the $10 fourth favourite for the NZ Cupt, alongside last season’s runner-up Jacks Legend and Interdom runner-up Chicago Bull. The latter is looking more and more likely to became a rare West Australian-trained New Zealand Cup starter for a variety of reasons. Not only is Chicago Bull back racing and winning effortless, admittedly in moderate fields, in Perth but the New Zealand Cup has already lost another big name in the injured Soho Tribeca and it looking a more attractive target by the day. But perhaps most importantly Chicago Bull is being aimed at the Victoria Cup in Melbourne on October 13 and will therefore be halfway to Christchurch and trainer Gary Hall is planning to send him to New Zealand soon after before heading back for the Inter Dominion, which starts at Melton on December 1. While Chase Auckland is sidelined, a smaller than usual All Stars team left for Australia on Tuesday to contest the Breeders Crown on August 25. Both Harness Jewels-winning juveniles Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece have been flown to Sydney where they will race at Menangle next Tuesday before heading south to Melbourne. They have been joined by open class stablemate Cash N Flow, who faces a wide draw on his A$20,000 Menangle debut on Saturday night while the Regan Todd-trained Show Gait will travel with the All Stars team and also race next Tuesday before heading to Melton for the three-year-old Breeders Crown Trot. Michael Guerin

Chase Auckland’s New Zealand Cup campaign may be over before it really got started. A champion three-year-old pacer he is almost certainly out of contention for November’s  $800,000 Addington classic as he is taking longer than expected to recover from a pulled muscle in his hind quarters. “It is not a major thing but it is costing him valuable work from a Cup point of view,” says co-trainer Mark Purdon. “He has been sidelined for 10-12 days now and I don’t see him coming back into work for at least another 10 days. And even then it could be longer. We will let him tell us when he is ready.” While the Cup is still over three months away the setback could cost Chase Auckland a full month of ground work and means at best he would be trialing by mid October, which makes the New Zealand Cup almost impossible. “I am not totally writing it off but I would say it is very unlikely he will be there,” says Purdon. “He is going to be a long way behind our other horses as well as the other open class horses from other stables. “For his first season in open class and his first Cup you would want a perfect build-up and a chance for him to get used to that grade. “So I think he might miss the Cup carnival and while that would be disappointing it was never set in stone for him. “Being a four-year-old he has a lot of other options this season and will get his chance at the Cup next year.” Chase Auckland was clearly New Zealand’s best three-year-old pacer in the season just finished, emerging from maidens to win the Sires’ Stakes, Sales Series Pace and the Northern Derby. He was listed as one of the favourites Australasian-wide for the NZ Cup last night, alongside last season’s runner-up Jacks Legend and Inter Dominion runner-up Chicago Bull. The latter is looking more and more likely to became a rare West Australian-trained New Zealand Cup starter for a variety of reasons. Not only is Chicago Bull back racing and winning effortless, admittedly in moderate fields, in Perth, but the New Zealand Cup has already lost another big name in the injured Soho Tribeca and it looking a more attractive target by the day. But, perhaps most importantly, Chicago Bull is being aimed at the Victoria Cup in Melbourne on October 13 and will therefore be halfway to Christchurch. Trainer Gary Hall is planning to send him to New Zealand soon after before heading back for the Inter Dominion, which starts at Melton on December 1. While Chase Auckland is sidelined, a smaller than usual All Stars team left for Australia yesterday to contest the Breeders Crown on August 25. Both Harness Jewels-winning juveniles Princess Tiffany and Another Masterpiece have been flown to Sydney where they will race at Menangle next Tuesday before heading south to Melbourne. They have been joined by open class stablemate Cash N Flow, who faces a wide draw on his A$20,000 Menangle debut on Saturday night, while the Regan Todd-trained Show Gait will travel with the All Stars team and also race next Tuesday before heading to Melton for the three-year-old Breeders Crown trot. Michael Guerin for Trots Media

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

Trainer Mark Purdon has given up trying to get the superstar three-year-old to the final major race of he season (which is a month later in Australia) after leg issues flared up this week. “She started to have a few problems on Monday and examinations showed there was a bit going on in an area of her leg we have had concerns with before,” Purdon said. “It doesn’t appear serious and long-term but we don’t want to put the pressure on her so she can have a spell now.” That will come as a blow to the series organisers but a relief to rival trainers as Shez All Rock was a hot favourite for the three-year-old pacing fillies division after a stunning season. She won the NSW and the Always B Miki Victoria Oaks Final before being sold to US-based former Kiwi trainer Chris Ryder and joining the Purdon-Rasmussen stable. Her New Zealand debut was a stunner, smashing her NZ Oaks rivals at Addington and she then became the first Australian invite to win a Harness Jewels with a breathtaking catch me if you can performance. She qualified for the TAB Breeders Crown at Addington earlier this month but now joins two-year-old trotter Enhance Your Calm as a high-profile withdrawal from the series for the All Stars stable. The remaining members of the All Stars team will head to Sydney next week and have their final Crown lead-ups there, with open class pacer Cash N Flow to join them and he could race at Menangle as early as next Saturday and then stay in New South Wales for more regular racing opportunities. The team’s best Breeders Crown hope is now unbeaten juvenile filly Princess Tiffany, who has pleased Purdon with her recent work. Michael Guerin

DEXTER Dunn’s glorious winning drive on Let It Ride in last night’s $200,000 Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park almost didn’t happen. In fact, just 20 hours before the race, Dunn was back home in NZ and almost convinced a stomach bug would ground him, as it had done the night before at Addington. “When I went to bed about 7pm (Friday) I thought I was no chance to be on the flight to Brisbane,” Dunn said. “I sort of tossed and turned between 1-3am then at 3am I had a glass of water and said to myself if I kept it down, I’d head to the airport.” The water stayed down, Dunn scrambled together his gear and lobbed at Christchurch airport at 4.30am. The rest is now Grand Circuit history. Dunn, driving a horse who wasn’t even going to contest the Blacks A Fake just six days earlier, reminded everyone why is a former World Champion and one of the very best in the game. The spot everyone wanted to be in the race was leading then taking a sit on tough and classy four-year-old Atomic Red. Dunn’s early smarts and aggression landed him in that prized spot. “I knew I had to do a bit early and then when I got the front, Atomic Red was the right horse to sit on,” he said. “I was bolting all the way then when I said go, he just put a gap in them. He felt awesome out there tonight.” The win took Dunn’s unbeaten record on Let It Ride to five races, but the first four way back at the start of the now rising five-year-old’s career. “When I drove him he was a bundle of raw talent. He galloped out at his first start and still won. The potential was there, but he’s a different horse now. Tim (Butt) has done a fantastic job with him.” Dunn’s genius in the sulky was matched only by Butt’s quick-thinking and bold decision late last Sunday to switch from chasing the 4YO feature to the main event with Let It Ride. “When we knew Tiger Tara wasn’t coming up and Soho Tribeca went amiss, we thought it was worth giving Let It Ride his chance. You don’t get many $200,000 Grand Circuit races without many of the real stars of the sport in it. “I don’t like rushing my horses into things, but this looked a good option. “I must say I was surprised how easily he did it. He made light of work of it, but Dexter’s drive was a fantastic.” The win was Butt’s 52nd at Grand Circuit level – across pacing and trotting – and extended his commanding lead on the all-time winners’ list over Mark Purdon (32) and Gary Hall Sr (26). Butt hopes to add more later this year with Let it Ride, but his Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal, who ran way below his best again last night, won’t be racing again for quite some time. “Let It Ride will be set for the Inter Dominion. He’s earned it now. He’s not an NZ Cup horse … not yet, anyway,” he said. “He can have a month out now then I’ll target the Inter Dominion in Melbourne. “Something obviously isn’t right with My Field Marshal. We went right over him after last week and couldn’t find anything, but he’s not right. “I’ll get him checked over again, but he’ll go out for a big spell. He’s not an NZ Cup or Inter Dominion horse, so he won’t race again this year.” It’s a changing phase for Australia’s open-class ranks with so many big names retired, moving to the US or sidelined with injury, which makes the Blacks A Fake result so important. Let It Ride led home a quinella for four-year-olds with the ultra- tough and promising Atomic Red finishing a brave second. Just for good measure, Let It Ride’s 1min54.8sec mile rate also broke Our Hi Jinx’s 1min55.0sec track record for 2680m. It was also much quicker than the late Yulestar went (1min56.2sec) winning the 2001 Albion Park Inter Dominion over 2647m.   Adam Hamilton

The Victorian campaign of New Zealand juvenile trotting star Enhance Your Calm is off. The early fixed odds favourite for both the Redwood and the Breeders Crown juvenile male trot will miss both races after co-trainer Mark Purdon wasn’t happy with him this week. “I think he needs a break and has a few niggly things that mean he is better off in the paddock,” says Purdon.  “They are nothing major and I thought he was actually having a few growing pains heading into the Jewels but then he turned the corner and was fine. “But he isn’t right enough now for a tough campaign like that so we will give him a spell.” Enhance Your Calm bolted away with the Harness Jewels Juvenile Trot at Cambridge last month and has looked a special talent since the Purdon-Rasmussen stable purchased him off former trainer Gavin Smith. He is one of two big name juvenile trotters to join the stable this season, with the other being Oscar Bonevena but both will miss the Australian riches next month as the latter has already for a spell. That will open up the markets for both the Redwood and the Breeders Crown boys trot on August 25. Purdon and Rasmussen will have two three-year-old pacers in glamour filly Shez All Rock and the well-related Think About Me trying to qualify for the ABC in their small non-tote heats at Addington on Friday night.   Michael Guerin  

Don’t let Chase Auckland’s place near the top of the early New Zealand Cup markets fool you. Because while trainer Mark Purdon has confirmed the superstar three-year-old will be nominated for the great race he is anything but certain to start. Chase Auckland was unheard of this time last year but has emerged as our best three-year-old pacer, winning eight of his nine starts for nearly $400,000 in stakes. A mid-season injury saw him robbed of his shot at the New Zealand Derby and Jewels but after winning the Sires’ Stakes, Sales Series and Northern Derby he will be crowned three-year-old of the season at the national awards on September 29. The silver lining to his post-Northern Derby problems are that he was in the spelling paddock earlier than a fellow three-year-old star like Sheriff so will be back racing in plenty of time to get the miles in his legs needed for the 3200m Cup on November 13. But Purdon says while the Cup is the first aim it is still a tentative target. “He will be nominated and then we will let him tell us if he is ready for it,” he explains. “Because of the rating he will be on he will have to race the best horses at some stage early in the season and that will give us a guide as to whether he is ready for the Cup that early or whether we wait to later in the season to target an Auckland Cup. “So he will start on a Cup campaign but if we think he is not ready he could do what Ultimate Machete did this season, miss the Cup and wait for the Free-For-All.” That strategy worked last year when Ultimate Machete wisely dodged stablemate Lazarus in the Cup and won the Free-For-All three days later but this year’s Cup is far more open without the enormous judder bar that was Lazarus in the way. The TAB has pleasingly opened their earliest ever New Zealand Cup market, with nominations not even taken until August 29 and the fact Ultimate Machete is the $5.50 opening favourite confirms how open this year’s classic looks. Purdon is happy with how Ultimate Machete’s issues which ruined the second half of this season for him have settled down and indicates the $800,000 Cup will suit him better than the four races of an Inter Dominion a month later. With him being set specifically for the race his $5.50 quote makes far more sense than the $6 for Chase Auckland, who is far from guaranteed to be there. Any punter eying the Cup market should be careful though as the bookies haven’t included Soho Tribeca, one of Australia’s best pacers, who has been set for the race and should be viewed as coming. And West Australian trainer Gary Hall confirmed to the Herald he will nominate Inter Dominion runner-up Chicago Bull and rates him a 70-30 chance of coming. If that pair make it to the race they will be among the favourites so until they are included in the market it is very much buyer beware. With so many high profile pacers exported or retired this year one of the few genuine Cup winners still in the hunt for Addington this season is Dream About Me, who is the most forward of the Purdon’s big guns. She pushed Lazarus to a half-neck in the Flying Stakes at Ashburton last season and as a former Auckland Cup winner would only need to hold together to be one of the NZ Cup’s major players. “She has had all sorts of problems with corns but they are good at the moment and she is not too far away from the trials,” said Purdon. “So if we can stay on top of those problems she is right up there with our best chances of winning the Cup this year. “But obviously we don’t have the same firepower as the last couple of years without Lazarus so the race looks a lot more open.” Meanwhile, the stable’s exceptional three-year-old filly Shez All Rock starts her Breeders Crown campaign in an easy non-tote heat at Addington on Friday and should headline a five-strong team for next month’s rich series in Victoria.   Michael Guerin

Early indications are that this year’s three-year-old top pacing boys’ division is a bumper crop. Ignatius stamped his authority at Menangle last weekend in the Group 1 Breeders Challenge to take his record to 14 wins from 15 starts. Is he the benchmark? Some are comparing him to Beautide – but that may be merely because both were trained by Jimmy Rattray. The picture should be clearer – but of course could be muddied – after Saturday night’s Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series final at Tabcorp Park Melton. Emma Stewart-trained Ride High carries a 100 per cent win strike rate into the $125,000 big dance but has to overcome barrier 12 against an outstanding field, including rising star stablemates Poster Boy and Konan. Poster Boy is the reigning Vicbred champ and New South Wales Derby winner, while Konan has looked every bit the barbarian in his Vicbred heat and semi-final wins. Whichever young prodigy wins Vicbred has legitimate claims to be part of the ‘best three-year-old’ discussion, but if Ride High overcomes the draw and delivers a KO despite doing a power of work in the run, he might just be No.1 seed. Among the conversation are Brisbane gun Colt Thirty One from Grant Dixon’s stable, who outpointed Poster Boy in the Victoria Derby, reigning Breeders Crown champ and WA Derby winner King Of Swing and south-west Victorian luminary Lumineer, last year’s APG Final victor. Then there's the mystery of the Kiwis. Chase Auckland has a magnificent record with eight wins from nine starts, including victory in the Great Northern Derby for the Mark Purdon All Stars team, while Jewels winner Pats Delight for Cran Dalgety is a serious youngster.  Deciding which beast is best this year is hard enough, predicting how the alumni will be positioned looking back years from now is next level difficult. However, there are parallels between this season’s young guns and that of the super draft of 2012-13. The latter crop contained superstar Lennytheshark, millionaire earners Ohoka Punter and Bit Of A Legend, Dixon-trained Majestic Mach and Stewart-prepared Guaranteed. Of the most impressive three-year-olds in recent seasons only some have gone to be genuine Grand Circuit stars – think Bling It On (2013-14), Chicago Bull and Lazarus (2015-16). Others like Menin Gate – Victorian Horse of the Year at three in 2014-15 – and Our Waikiki Beach – 11 out of 12 at three in 2015-16 – looked potential world-beaters at three but are yet to necessarily replicate that at open-age. So will the next champion please stand up? Cody Winnell

“She’s improving with every run,” is the ominous warning to rival trainers from Boyanup horseman Justin Prentice when predicting that his outstanding filly Dracarys would be very hard to beat in the $35,000 Choices Flooring Gold Bracelet at Gloucester Park on Friday night. The New Zealand-bred Dracarys is unbeaten at her four starts for Prentice since arriving in Western Australia from New Zealand just over three months ago. Prentice prepares Dracarys at his Boyanup property and has a powerful hand in Friday night’s Group 3 classic for two-year-old fillies. He also trains last-start winners Iona Diamond and Majorpride. He had little hesitation in choosing to drive Dracarys, whose prospects improved significantly when she drew the No. 2 barrier on the front line. Stuart McDonald will handle Iona Diamond from barrier one and Gary Hall Jnr will continue as the driver of Majorpride, the all-the-way winner of the Group 1 $100,000 Diamond Classic two starts ago. Prentice, who trained and drove Major Reality when she scored an effortless victory in the Gold Bracelet in 2014, said: “This will be her first time for Dracarys to race against the top fillies but I definitely think she’s up with them. “From barrier two, we’ll come out hard and look for the front if it is there. Iona Diamond is also a quick beginner, but Dracarys might be a bit quicker, point to point. Her latest run (when she raced three wide for much of the way and beat Starlight Destiny and Rollsofthetongue at Pinjarra) was super. “At all of her four runs for me Dracarys has given me the impression that there’s still more there. She’s not just a frontrunner; she’s really versatile. She has been educated by the best trainer (Mark Purdon) probably in the world and he has probably taught her all those strings to her bow.” Purdon gave Dracarys three starts in New Zealand for one win, when she finished powerfully and was not extended in beating Kayla Marie in the Group 3 Leonard Memorial Stakes over 200m at Addington on March 4 this year. Dracarys was bred and is owned by Christchurch businessman Trevor Casey, a part-owner of superstar Lazarus, the Inter Dominion Championship winner at Gloucester Park last December. Purdon had a few fillies he considered better than Dracarys and Casey decided to send Dracarys to WA to be prepared by Prentice, who trains smart trotter Sun of Anarchy for Casey. Prentice catches up with Casey at the New Zealand yearling sales every year and they are both good friends of John Lohman, the owner of Majorpride. Prentice expects strong showing from Iona Diamond and Majorpride. “Iona Diamond went really well at her latest start when she led and won easily at a 1.56.8 rate at Gloucester Park,” he said. “She’s going to come out as hard as she can from No. 1. “Majorpride has beaten these fillies before. She’s versatile and Junior (Hall) said that it was probably the best she has sprinted when she won at Bunbury last Saturday. “Soho Interceptor and Starlight Destiny are racing in good form and along with Lady Valasca and Mandy Joan they are probably our major dangers. It’s a good field and it won’t be a walk in the park for Dracarys.” Soho Interceptor, trained by Glenn Elliott, set the pace and held on to win narrowly from Delightful Reaction and Lady Valasca in the Group 1 Westbred Classic last Friday night. She is handily drawn at barrier three this week. Elliott prepared Generally Outspoken when she was driven by Hall to victory in the 2013 Gold Bracelet. Ryan Warwick will drive Starlight Destiny for trainers Greg and Skye Bond, who prepared Dodolicious for her victory (with Warwick in the sulky) in the 2015 Gold Bracelet. Warwick also was successful in this event with Spirit of Navajo (2005) and Apache Sunrise (2007). Chris Lewis will handle Lady Valasca for trainer Annie Belton. Lewis has won the Gold Bracelet with Smooth Sensation (1991), Flames And Flowers (1997), Lady Maryclaire (2002), Vinnies Sister (2003), Fidelius Charm (2008) and Sensational Gabby (2011). Ken Casellas

Several leading harness racing drivers have had their fines reduced after being charged for failing to come up into and/or maintain their position behind the starting gate at this years harness jewels at Cambridge. The normal penalty for breaking this rule is $100 but the Judicial Committee however, in all cases imposed higher penalties as the meeting was a major one with all stakes being higher than $40,000. Gavin Smith, Ricky May and Mark Purdon were fined $400. Natalie Rasmussen was fined $500 because she had been warned earlier in the day. Brent Barclay was fined $200 and his licence was suspended for one day and Terry Chmiel had imposed on him a three day suspension. All drivers appealed their penalties and all were succesfull with the fines reduced to $200 for Mark Purdon, Gavin Smith, Ricky May and Natalie Rasmussen. Terry Chmiel had his suspension reduced to two days and since two days had already been served there was no further penalty. Brent Barclay had his penalty reduced to the fine of $200 only.   Full details below: BEFORE AN APPEALS TRIBUNAL OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY FOR RACING UNDER THE RACING ACT 2003 IN THE MATTER of the New Zealand Harness Racing BETWEEN MARK PURDON TERRY CHMIEL BRENT BARCLAY NATALIE RASMUSSEN RICKY MAY GAVIN SMITH Appellants AND RACING INTEGRITY UNIT Respondent Appeals Tribunal: Mr Garry Thompson, Chairman Mr Russell McKenzie, Member Written decision issued on the 30th June 2018 It was ordered by consent that the appeals be dealt with on the papers. DECISION OF THE APPEALS TRIBUNAL OF THE JUDICIAL CONTROL AUTHORITY 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Each Appellant was charged under Rule 857(7) which states “no horseman shall fail to come up into and/or maintain his position” 1.2 The Rule referred to above is normally dealt with as a minor offence being listed in the Minor Infringement Schedule but the Race meeting at which this was held being the Waikato Bay of Plenty Harness Racing Club (Harness Jewels meeting) meeting on 2nd June 2018 at Cambridge Raceway had every race carrying a stake of $40,000 or greater being what is described in the Penalty Guide as a major race. 1.3 Accordingly, the RIU stewards sought to uplift the penalty amount which had a standard penalty of $100 and therefore filed the charge with the raceday Judicial Committee. 1.4 The Stewards submitted that a 100% increase in the normal penalty be imposed since in all cases these were major races. They therefore submitted that a penalty of $200.00 or an equivalent suspension was appropriate. 1.5 The Judicial Committee, however, in all cases imposed higher penalties. Messrs Smith, May and Purdon were fined $400. Ms Rasmussen was fined $500 because she had been warned earlier in the day. Mr Barclay was fined $200 and his licence was suspended for one day and Mr Chmiel had imposed on him a three day suspension. All have appealed. 2. THE APPEAL 2.1 It is necessary for the Appeals Tribunal to form its own decision on the matters placed before it and in this case the Tribunal has directed that this be dealt with on the papers. 3. SUBMISSIONS FOR THE APPELLANTS 3.1 Mr Lawson submitted that what the Stewards submitted by way of penalty was appropriate and that the penalties imposed by the Judicial Committee were excessive. 3.2 Mr Lawson raised a number of relevant matters including the fact that it was not suggested that the penalties had previously been manifestly inadequate, the losing driving fees after 6th position were the same as any other meeting, the visual aspects of knowing where 1609m starting point was created a difficulty and the mobile barrier moved faster than normal because of the distance of the race and the quality of the horses. 3.3 Mr Lawson admitted that the penalties should all be $200.00 except that Mr Barclay who received a one day suspension as well as a $200 fine simply have this replaced by a $200 fine only and Mr Chmiel who received a three day suspension, but no fine have his suspension reduced to two days. 4. SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RESPONDENT 4.1 Mr Ydgren submitted that a 100% increase on $100 being the standard penalty to $200 was appropriate except in the case of Mr Chmiel who had a previous breach of the rule so his penalty it was submitted be a two day suspension which had already been served. 4.2 Mr Ydgren explained the allowance horsemen have of half a length grace and stated that drivers are required to know where the starting position is on the track and that in the circumstances all the horseman either made a simple error and misjudged their position or were unaware of where the actual starting point was. 5. DECISION Having considered the submissions on behalf of the Appellants and the Respondent we are satisfied that a 100% increase in the penalty prescribed by Minor infringement Scheme is appropriate in the circumstances this being the submission of the RIU stewards at the Race Day Hearing. The onus is on the Appellants to show that the penalty imposed by the Judicial Committee was manifestly excessive and in our view the Appellants have discharged that onus. 6. PENALTIES We impose a penalty of $200 fine on Mark Purdon, Gavin Smith, Ricky May and Natalie Rasmussen. We impose a penalty of a two day suspension on Terry Chmiel he having had a previous breach of this rule and since two days have already been served there is no further penalty. Brent Barclay was issued with a fine of $200 and had his licence suspended for one day and his penalty is reduced to the fine of $200 only. 7. COST AND FILLING FEE Mr Lawson has made no application for costs and submits that costs should lie where they fall. He has submitted that the $250 filing fee be refunded. We agree with both those submissions. The penalties we are imposing are what were submitted by the RIU at the hearing and the Respondent should not be penalised because the appeal is successful. The Appellants should not be out of pocket as they were successful. Dated this 30th June 2018 Garry Thompson CHAIRMAN   Harnesslink Media

Think About Me probably earned a late addition to the Breeder's Crown team from All Stars after his impressive win at Addington on Friday. Think About Me coasted home in a way which made the $1.60 price seem long and might now go on to greater things. Certainly the Breeders Crown is a step up but a recall of his earlier form suggests he will not be out of his class by any means. Think About Me is a son of female star Imagine Me by Christian Cullen, and Imagine Me was by Dream Away from Scuse Me making him standardbred elite by any standard. Certainly he was well beaten in the Sires Stakes Final won by Chase Auckland but bear in mind his no 13 draw and the fact he had had only one previous start when a strong finishing 3rd in a Sires Stakes heat on debut in a 1.53 mile rate making ground strongly late. "I leave it up to Mark and Natalie about the plans" said co-owner  Paul Kenny who races Think About Me with his wife Mary and Charlie Roberts. He made a lightning trip from Auckland to watch the race typical of the Kenny's support of all their racing team.  "I think the Breeder's Crown will be the aim now" Natalie said after the race. The stable has a strong Breeder's Crown lineup but there is a space for a top three year old. While Think About Me only ran 3.17 for the trip on Friday he won with such ease the race was virtually over  from the 400m and he should only improve. Earlier on he was highly regarded in the stable and, like many from the family, has stepped up considerably from two to three years. The local heat for the Breeder's Crown is at Addington in two weeks for three year olds. Courtesy of All Stars Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

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