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By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    Wedding plans for a well-known racing couple have been put on hold, and Covid-19 is the reason why. Canterbury-based driver-trainers Kimberly Butt and Jonny Cox had put a circle around April 17, at Darfield’s Bangor Farm. Now that’s off and been rescheduled, with fingers crossed, to October 9. The decision, Kimberly Butt says was ultimately straight-forward “It just puts a lot of people at ease, it just wasn’t feasible.” The problem is two-fold. 140 people were on the invite list and large gatherings of people are a no-no at the moment because of the Corona Virus outbreak. The other revolves around her dad, Anthony Butt, who’s based in Australia and facing lengthy periods of self- isolation if he travels. “There was no pressure to postpone but he’s a big part of it so it would be rude not to and it was just easier to call it off now.” Anthony Butt and his partner Sonya Smith live in Sydney and prepare a big team owned by high profile entrepreneurs Emilio and Mary Rosati at Menangle. As he’s based in Australia he needs to self- isolate for 14 days when he arrives, and then do the same across the Tasman on his return.  “He’s just too busy training and driving, it’s not so viable.” Before moving across the Tasman, Butt was best known for his association with star trotter Lyell Creek (34 wins) and his three New Zealand Cups with Flashing Red  (2006-07) and Blossom Lady  (1992). Kimberly Butt is the fourth generation of her family to be involved in racing, dating back to her great grandfather and seven times leading trainer Wes Butt in the 1940-60s.      The couple have been together for five years with about a dozen horses in work at their Dunsandel stables, 30 minutes south of Christchurch. Currently Butt has 114 wins from 1430 drives, since reining her first winner in 2014.   By October she’s hoping the Corona Virus crisis will be over.  She’s not alone there. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    Trotting star “Tickle Me Pink” has run her last race, her future now will be as a broodmare. The four-year-old bay mare pulled up with muscle soreness after a lacklustre ninth on February 21 at Cambridge with subsequent investigations finding “multiple hotspots”. Breeders Breckon Farms saying the decision just made sense. “Extended rest could have seen her race again but given the depth of her CV and the battles she'd already overcome it was decided it was in the mare’s best interest to retire her.”    In 2018 “Tickle” nearly died after suffering from travel sickness during a trip to Australia. She made a triumphant and emotional return to the track, winning the Group 2 Sires Stakes Championships.  Champion reinsman Tony Herlihy trained and drove her in all 16 starts, winning nine of them, including the Group 1 3YO Harness Jewels.  She won $160,174 in stakes. She also set a New Zealand record of 2.07.2 over 1700 metres at Cambridge. Crtitical to the horse’s success was Chanelle Lawson. Chanelle said, “I feel so grateful to have been part of her story. She was a pleasure to do anything with and it won’t be the same without her around. She took me on the ride of a lifetime and for that reason will forever be my “One In A Million”.  “Tickle” will now join her mother Luby Ann in the broodmare band at Breckon Farms base at Ohaupo. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    How keen Waikouaiti mare Kiwi Crusher is to race in the feature trot at Wingatui today could decide her winning chances. The Amber Hoffman trained squaregaiter comes in to the 2200m event after going a big race after pulling hard in her last start at Forbury Park. Kiwi Crusher brushed the inside of her sulky wheels with her hooves when fighting on for third behind Valley Star and Da Moon’s Mission. Hoffman has gone to extra lengths ahead of today’s race to make sure the same doesn’t happen again today in race 4. “It better not happen again because I have gone and bought her a new cart,” the trainer said. “It had happened before and I didn’t want her doing it again, so I got an extra long sulky.” Hoffman hopes Kiwi Crusher’s new wheels will help her mare relax, but is not convinced they will be an instant fix for the mare’s over racing. “She was very fired up for a week after her last start, but she seems to have settled down now and her work has been good.” “I just hope she will settle and doesn’t go back to over-racing.” Kiwi Crusher starts from the 15m back mark in today’s 2200m feature alongside promising 4yr-old Andy Hall. The trotter will be driven by junior reinsman Mark Hurrell, who has recently started working for Hoffman. Andy Hall was an impressive winner of his first two starts before galloping out of his last outing at Wyndham. The Nathan Williamson trained trotter has won and run fifth in two workouts since then. Hoffman also starts the consistent Motoring Major in today’s feature pace. The 5yr-old comes in to the highly competitive 2200m mobile after running third and fifth in his two starts last month’s Waikouaiti meeting. Hurrell will try to adopt different tactics today. “He was up on the pace in both of his starts at Waikouaiti,” Hoffman said. “We are going to try to drive him a bit quieter at Wingatui.” “He sprinted up really well in his work on the beach this week, so he should go a good race.” Hoffman has a big team of three horses in race 5. To Ri Caitlin has the best draw of Hoffman’s trio in barrier 5. The 5yr-old will be having her first start for the Waikouaiti trainer today. “She is quite a nice horse and I quite like her.” “Her work has been quite good since she arrived, so I would expect her to go a pretty good race.” Gomeo Romeo has had one start for Hoffman and disappointed at Forbury Park, earlier this month. The trainer is hoping for better when the 6yr-old starts from barrier 7 today. “His work has been good enough, but he is better suited to standing starts and there are not a lot of them around at the moment.” “He was very disappointing at Forbury, so we are hoping for much better.” Rakagem has been relegated to being the outsider among Hoffman’s three starters after drawing the outside of the front line in barrier 9. Hoffman’s trio clash with leading contenders Black Ops, Allaboutjoy and Wolf West. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner   Rocknroll King will attempt to take his game to the mainland in today’s Waimate Cup. The Robert Dunn trained pacer headed west to show off his staying prowess to win the 3200m Inangahua-Grey Valley Cup in his last start at Reefton. The 4yr-old will step back in distance and head south in an attempt to make it back to back cup wins in today’s 2600m handicap. Driver Gavin Smith can not see why Rocknroll King can not go another great race. “He went really good on the coast, this race is a wee bit harder, but not a lot harder.” “He won with a wee bit in reserve over there [Reefton], so if he got a reasonable run he would be right in it again.” Rocknroll King starts on the 10m mark alongside fellow recent grass track winners One Direction and Shadow Minister. Both Vulcan Star and Gilligan’s Island will attempt to complete hat-tricks of wins from the front line. The favourite, Bettathanfast, will start from the 30m following his big performance to run second to Stars Tonight in his last start at Addington after sitting parked throughout. Bettathanfast was the $5.50 favourite, ahead of Rocknroll King ($6), when the Waimate Cup fixed odds market opened last night. Smith lines up two trial winning first starters from his stable at today’s meeting. Kiwi X Factor comes in to his 2000m standing start assignment after stretching out to win his by four lengths at the Rangiora trials. The 3yr-old has the motor to make an impact on race 4, but is yet to fully develop his racing game. “He is going to be a nice horse, but he can’t be hustled up too much yet, he needs to be looked after,” Smith said. “But he is going to be a lot better than a maiden.” “He is not one of mine that will just jump to the front, he will have to be handled a little bit quieter.” Kiwi X Factor has been rated the $5.50 third favourite by bookmakers behind equal favourites, Lizzie Richter and Uber Express ($4.80). Smith will start his 2yr-old, Helluva, against older horses over 1700m in race 5. The trainer-driver has high hopes for the pacer later this season. “He goes really good and if he keeps improving he could be up with the better 2yr-olds later.” “But, he is still a bit soft, mentally.” “That is why we have gone with an easy option first up.” “He can do a bit wrong, he is not hardened and he is not a racehorse yet, either.” Helluva has been rated a $7 chance by bookmakers. Mossman, who galloped in tight quarters and was pulled up in his last start at Addington, headed the market for race 5 at $4. Smith also starts Amulet from his stable in race 6. The trotter has the ability to win the race, but needs to show it today. “She has the ability, but has been very frustrating.” Smith also drives Atarah in race 3 and Don’t Look Back in race 11. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Canterbury filly Who Made Who rocked her rivals when thundering to an impressive debut at Winton on Saturday. The 3yr-old shook her opposition all race long when showing electric speed on a slushy track to score by two lengths for driver Brent Barclay. Trainer Steven Boyd had given the Sweet Lou filly a good grounding going in to her debut, stepping her out in six trials and workouts over the past year. Who Made Who’s size and scope has meant she has been a long work in progress. But, it also means there is plenty more to come. “She is a very nice filly, she has taken a bit of time to strengthen up, she is a big girl,” Boyd siad. “But, she is going good now.” “She has always show ability, it has just been a matter of hanging fire and now hopefully we are away.” Who Made Who put in a polished performance, leading soon after then start, before scoring by two lengths over American Eyretime for driver Brent Barclay. The quinella makers cleared out from the rest of the pack by a massive seven lengths. Who Made Who’s victory was so comfortable she barley got a sweat up. “She was really relaxed and she came in afterwards and her nostrils were not even moving,” Boyd said.  “I hardly needed to wash her, she hardly got a sweat up.” “She did it really easy and that’s good, you want them doing everything nice in their first run.” The possibility of travel restrictions in response to the COVID19 pandemic look the only factor that stands between Who Made Who and more success in Southland. Boyd plans to return south after the Sweet Lou filly qualified for a graduation final following her victory. Another good performance would put Who Made Who in Southland Oaks contention. “We will come down and try to qualify for the Oaks, we just need to work out how many more starts she might need.” “It is going to be quite a strong field this year.” “But, first we might take her to the next premier meeting at Addington.” Who Made Who was not the only Sweet Lou pacer on song at Winton. Spirit Of St Louis showed he was on track for a New Zealand Derby tilt when beating a smart field in Saturday’s feature pace. The Graeme Anderson trained 3yr-old showed new versatility when easing off the gate and getting back in the field, before powering home to win in a competitive finish for driver Matthew Williamson. Spirit Of St Louis ran a sizzling 26.8sec last 400m on a rain-affected Winton track to score by a head over deat-heaters Parama and Born To Boogie. Anderson and Williamson also combined to win Saturday’s 2yr-old event with American Lightning.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

The ban on 100 people or more gathering together due to the impact of Covid 19 created an unprecedented race day at Winton, devoid of the public. Horses, trainers, drivers, registered stablehands, raceday officials and media only, were permitted to be present on the racetrack, and only those named on the register were allowed through the gate, which was then padlocked. With just a dozen cars in the car park, no racebooks or totalizator and at most fifteen people watching each race from the stand, it was an odd experience. Full marks to those present who treated it professionally as usual, but not a raceday as we know it. Between races  -not a soul in sight                               --Bruce Stewart photo   Tote closed for the day                        --Bruce Stewart photo Bruce Stewart

American Lightning was the first winner in an extraordinary day at Winton today. In the first ‘no public’ day of racing in the south brought about by the Corona Virus, the return to the birdcage by American Lightning was devoid of celebrations with not even part-owner and trainer Graeme Anderson on-course, preferring to stay at home and watch the races on television. The two year old colt was taken back early by driver Matty Williamson while Boyzhavtime speared to the lead. Williamson started to get serious inside the four hundred and took the colt wide. He finished the race off nicely and got up to beat a game Boyzhavetime by a neck. The winning time for the 1609 metres was 1-58.5. “He didn’t pace so good in the wet but he never drew a breath,” said Anderson happy with the way the colt ran and pulled up. American Lightning is by American Ideal out of Christian Cullen mare Zesty Philly. Anderson bought him at the sales paying $16,000. American Lightning getting up to beat Boyzhavetime on the inside    --Bruce Stewart photo He trained Zesty Philly with his then training partner Amber Hoffman after getting the mare from Gavin Smith. Anderson and Hoffman won one race with her at Winton in August 2012. “I got her second hand and she had all the ability in the world but she had a crook back. We gave her a few starts and she went huge then she succumbed to her old injury. I was always keen to buy one out of her.” The colt is owned by Anderson, Steve Pulley, Ray Chaiklin, Bruce Masson, Virginia Duncum, Edwin Corby, Kieran Corby and Tony Gow. “He’s a lovely big strong two year old. There’s a lot of Christian Cullen in him. They went their last quarter in 27 on the wet track and he must have gone better than that so it was a good run. I think we’ll push on with him. The Welcome Stakes is on the same night as the Derby. If Spirit Of St Louis does what he’s supposed to do today they’ll both go to Addington.”   Bruce Stewart

Afterburner won as he liked in his first start at Winton The three year old trained by Brett Gray and owned by Baynes Bloodstock and like many of their horses, his name is connected to aviation.  Afterburner trotted down to the line to beat Superfast Kiwi by four lengths. Although his headgear was removed Afterburner appeared to have plenty in hand at the finish and he looks like a promising trotter. He’s the first winner for Coktail Jet sire The Best Madrik who has left only four foals in New Zealand, all of which are three year olds. Another of The Best Madrik’s foals Madrik, which races out of the Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis stable, is qualified but unraced. He too looks promising. Afterburner’s out of Knapdale Girl an eight win Sundon mare whose first foal is the four win trotter Full Noise. The Optimist appears to have a liking for Winton, having won two races both on the Central Southland course. She overcame a second line draw and a stout challenge by The White Rabbit to win by a nose. Kiwitrix can’t seem to win a trick. The talented trotter has galloped a number of times when racing, and today just when he looked as if he’d win his second race he galloped shortly before the finish line and was relegated to second with Christmas Babe promoted to first. Kickupyaheels won the fourth heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series today. Kickupyaheels and Johnny Morrison winning the Southern Belle Speed series heat.   --Bruce Stewart photo The four year old A Rocknroll Dance mare won last weekend at Wyndham and produced a similar run, finishing late wide out on the track to beat Bunters Dream by three quarters of a length. First starter Who Made Who looked like a potential Southland Oaks filly when, in the hands on Brent Barclay, he beat American Eyretime by two lengths. The Sweet Lou filly out of Arden Banner is trained at Aylesbury by Stephen Boyd and prior to today’s debut had won five of her six trials or workouts ironically when driven by Terry Chmiel who drove the runner up today. Arden Banner won twice in her thirteen start career. Her biggest win was in the Group One 2008 Sires Stakes Fillies Championship when she beat close relative Arden’s Darlin. Who Made Who will have to start once more in the district before she’s eligible to start in the Southland Oaks Final at Ascot Park at the end of next month. Who Made Who winning for Brent Barclay                --Bruce Stewart photo Major Watson lived up to his potential when he impressively won the Western Electrical Limited Mobile Pace. Trainer Nathan Williamson thinks a bit of the four year old which won two starts in a row earlier in the season but hasn’t had too much luck since. Owned by Williamson and Ben and Karen Calder the son of Art Major has now won three races from eight starts. Mach’s Back returned to winning form today. The six year old last win was at Wyndham on the 31st January 2019 over a mile in 1-52.5. From a second line draw driver Brent Barclay took the gelding back. He came down the middle of the track to beat a brave Stingray Tara which had sped to the lead at the 800 metres, and pinched a break at the top of the straight but was unable to hold out Mach’s Back which won by a half a head. The Kirk Larsen trained Forsure capped off some consistent form to win for driver Blair Orange.   Bruce Stewart

“I think you’d have to be happy – it was his first run for a while. He came down the outside of the track and he wasn’t going to get there but he tried really, really hard and picked them up,” trainer Graeme Anderson said of three year old Spirit Of St Louis which beat the older horses at Wairio today. From a wide gate driver Matty Williamson took Spirit Of St Louis back. With 1000 metres to run he was able to improve three back on the outside line. When Spirit Of St Louis was asked to improve with 300 metres to run he was forced four wide. The gelding show tenacity and under strong urging from Williamson got up to win by a head with Parama and Born To Boogie dead heating for second. The mile was run in 1-56.5 on a slushy track with the last 800 metres timed in 56.9 and the last 400 metres in 26.8. “He was at about ninety percent today so the run should tighten him up.” Like most trainers Anderson says it’s hard under the new handicap system to place three year olds and they’re regularly forced to race against the older horses. “It’s always been tough. With the old handicapping system you used to get every second win free. But now you get up there (the grade) pretty bloody quick but you don’t have many options. We had to race down here because we’d have to have gone to Addington last night (Flying Stakes) and then come home again so it was a good fit.” In a fortnight Anderson hopes to run the Sweet Lou three year old in the Group One New Zealand Derby. “If they still hold the race we’ll go to the Derby now and hopefully lob three back on the fence, mind our own business and have a dash at them. We took Eamon Maguire on exactly the same path and he ran third in the Derby.” Further up the road in the galloping code Anderson and a few of the owners in both Spirit Of St Louis and American Lightning watched Stella Creek, trained at Riccarton by Teri Rae, run second on debut.   Bruce Stewart

Following the announcement from the Government earlier today regarding the move to Level 2 on the new COVID19 alert system, HRNZ has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the two-day harness racing meeting at Manawatu that was scheduled to take place on Wednesday and Friday of next week. All trainers with horses entered at the meeting have been notified. The meetings scheduled for (Sunday) and Wingatui (Monday) will continue as scheduled. HRNZ continues to work closely with RITA, NZTR and GRNZ in an effort to continue to keep racing going as long as we possibly can; with an absolute focus on doing so in a way that is safe for all involved. HRNZ would like to extend our thanks to those in the industry who have assisted the clubs in adapting to running our meetings on a public-excluded basis. We encourage all participants to follow advice from the Ministry of Health, particularly in regard to self-isolation, social distancing and hygiene measures.      As a result of the new Level 2 alert status, HRNZ is moving to limit the movement of licensees between islands. An updated Order and Direction will be issued to this effect by Monday morning.   HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Winton trainer Des Baynes will step out a small team packed with winning chances on his home track at today’s Wairio mile day.   Baynes has produced brilliantly consistent results this season with a win and ten placings from just 21 starts. Naturally, Baynes would have liked to have converted more of his run of placings in to wins. “I joked with some of the boys that I might have to start training a Kidz Kartz pony so that I can get a win,” the trainer said.  “But, I am not too worried about it, so long as the horses all go good honest races I will be happy.” The trainer’s highly talented two pronged attack on race 8 with smart pacers Slate and See Ya Write looks best chances of upping his winning strike rate today.  Baynes has Slate just ahead of his stablemate as his leading chance in the race. “Slate is a 5yr-old and a little bit older and tougher, so I would lean towards him.” “See Ya Write is a nice little horse and he has been going some good races.” “I am just not sure where he might end up from his draw. See Ya Write starts from barrier 5, with Slate inside him in barrier 4. Slainte and See Ya Write are two of several smart types that will do battle in race 8. Pocket Watch steps up in class after dealing to inferior opposition in his last start at Forbury Park. The 3yr-old and Stringray Tara, who has produced consistent form in strong fields recently, will both give away a draw advantage to the Baynes pair when they start on the outside of the front line. Baynes had thrown his maiden mare, Might Be Me, in the deep end in one of today’s features. The runner-up in her last three starts will take on seasoned, race winning mares in a Southern Belle Speed Series heat. “This is the last heat of this series, so I was keen to get her in to get some points,” Baynes said.  “This is probably the weakest heat and without wanting to disrespect the opposition, she should be up to them.” Amore Lancôme looks the toughest horse for Might Be Me to beat. The 4yr-old was third in a stronger mares event behind Cheezel and Yankee Party, at Winton two starts ago. Baynes will also step out Dress Code for her debut in race 6. The 3yr-old comes in to her mile (1609m) assignment after finishing in the first two in her last five trials and workouts. “She is a nice filly – she is Slate’s half brother – she  has gone well at the workouts and trials,” Baynes said.  “It’s her first start, so you don’t know what might happen, but she should go a good race.” A patchy form line and a tricky draw make Saint Tropez in race 10 the roughie among the Baynes team.  The 3yr-old will start from barrier one on the second row of the mobile in a capacity field. “He didn’t go too bad in his last start at Wyndham,” Baynes said.  “From where he is drawn it will depend how many times the lead changes in front of him.” Today’s Winton meetings is the first in Southland to be run under new rules excluding spectators and owners in response to the covid19 pandemic.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Ray Green is confident the next big thing of New Zealand pacing will be staying put here. But he wouldn’t mind sneaking Copy That across to Australia this winter to show the Aussie how good he is. The South Auckland pacer bounced back from his luckless defeat in the Northern Derby two weeks ago with a bullying win in the Flying Stakes at Addington on Friday night, refusing to be parked out by arch rival One Change at the bell and once he got to the lead he never looked like being beaten. He cruised the last 800m in 56.3 in the hands of new driver Blair Orange to beat One Change again, as he has every time they have met since Cup week, with early leader Minstrel a strong third and Heroes Square losing few fans in fourth. Bad To The Bone, who got pushed back in the inner, was an eyecatching fifth. The win saw Copy That promoted to $2.50 favouritism for the NZ Derby back at Addington in two weeks but Green is already thinking further ahead and further afield. “He was great tonight, he really is a very good horse with a big motor,” says the popular trainer. “I know he was beaten up north but I think he did a good job to run second after losing momentum.”Green says safely through the Derby, Green will return north for the Jewels at Cambridge on May 30, by which time everybody is hoping the world feels a little more normal. Then Green wants to take Copy That to Australia, travel restrictions allowing of course, for a two-race Queenland campaign that he hopes will include the new A$250,000 Rising Sun. The new three and four-year-old race will be held at Albion Park on July 18 with two three-year-olds to be invited and get preferential draws. Should one of them win they would get a $100,000 bonus and Green likes the sound of that. “So ideally that is what we would like to do providing these restrictions are eventually lifted.” Copy That is owned in Victoria by Merv and Meg Butterworth and while many of their horses eventually end up being trained there, Green hopes Copy That can stay here next season and beyond. “It think for good horses, horses as good as him, there is just as good a money here and they can head to Australia to race when needed. “Merv and Meg have been great and have never made any noise about him racing over there full time so I’d love to see him stay here.” While Copy That surprised nobody with his win Friday night’s two main trotting winners One Apollo (Four and Five-Year-Old Championship) and Vacation Hill (Trotting Oaks) did sting punters. One Apollo has always looked an open class horse but few would have seen him beating the Inter Dominion champion in Winterfell, especially coming from behind him to do it. Winterfell, who started off a 30m handicap, surged to the front down the back straight but wasn’t trotting perfectly squarely on the home bend and One Apollo wore him down the hands of Gerard O’Reilly. It was the seventh career win for the son of One Over Da Moon and his fourth this season for trainer Brent White, although not his richest as they won the Sales Series Trot at Addington during his two-year-old career. Vacation Hill gave driver Samantha Ottley her biggest trotting win in the Oaks as she came from behind hot favourite Tailored Elegance to beat her fair and square. “I don’t think I have won a lot of big trotting races before,” said Ottley. “So to even get a drive in any Oaks or Derby, for trotters of pacers, is a big deal. “Kevin (Townley, trainer) has always had really big opinion of her and she had just kept getting better and better.”The night’s other feature, the Superstars, was over the second hot favourite Another Masterpiece strode to the front at the bell as he held off the big late charge of Triple Eight.   Michael Guerin

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk  South Auckland horseman Tony Herlihy had a good night at the office at Alexandra Park on Friday night, recording a driving treble and training double. The night was headlined for Herlihy by regally-bred filly Platinum who was able to topple $1.30 favourite Sky Delight to take out the Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes 2YOF (H1) Mobile Pace (1700m). The daughter of multiple Group One winner De Lovely stalked her more fancied opponent the entire trip and was able to utilise the passing lane to win by 1-3/4 lengths. “She went really well, got a lovely trip and finished it off really well,” Herlihy said. “I thought she was a good chance of being right there, but I thought Barry’s (Purdon, trainer) one might have been a little bit smart for us. But she has improved a bit, so that was good.” Platinum finished fifth in the Gr.2 Delightful Lady Stakes (1700m) at Alexandra Park a fortnight prior and Herlihy was pleased to see an improved performance from the promising juvenile. "She was a fraction disappointing there and perhaps didn’t quite back-up from the week before, being a big filly at this stage,” he said. “The two weeks in-between runs seemed to suit her tonight.” Herlihy is now looking forward to a busy couple of months with Platinum, which he hopes will culminate with a tilt at the Jewels at Cambridge Raceway in May. “She has got a bit of racing coming up heading towards the Jewels,” he said. “There’s a sales series race coming up as well, so there is a bit there for her.” While Barry Purdon tasted defeat at the hands of Herlihy in the race, earlier in the card the pair united to take out the Jacobsen Headstones Mobile Pace (2200m) with On The Cards. After being stuck three-wide early in the piece from their wide draw, Herlihy elected to press forward with his charge and take control of the race. The son of Bettor’s Delight didn’t relinquish his lead and was able to hold out a game Double Rocket to win by 1-1/4 lengths, with the Purdon-trained Wainui Creek a further head away in third. “I have driven him a couple of times before and he has always raced well. He is a good, honest horse,” Herlihy said. “He got to the front nicely and it worked out well.”  LL Cool J completed a training double and driving treble for Herlihy when he won the “Ahh Gimme That Schweppes” Mobile Pace (2200m).  “He is a nice, honest big fella, and he got around good,” Herlihy said.  “The draw (8) made it a little bit awkward, but when I got around to the front without doing too much, it certainly made it a lot easier for him. He stuck to his guns really well.”  – Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

One of the last bastions of harness racing action at the moment is New Zealand. Currently the country has a “closed door” meeting policy which aims to limit potential harm to the industry and allows the racing action to continue. The government closed all borders to foreign nationals on Thursday night with "mercy flights" to retrieve Kiwis stranded overseas a possibility in weeks to come.     Despite the major disruptions to normal life a premier card featuring a number of Group races was run successfully on Friday night (the 20th of March) at Addington Raceway in Christchurch. The card saw four feature races run and won. All the action can be viewed by clicking on the links provided below.   The first Group race of the night the The Lamb & Hayward Trotting Championship at Group 3 Level ($30’000) proved to be a competitive affair with the Brent White trained One Apollo ultimately prevailing at odds of 10/1 over the race favourite in Winterfell. A telling,sustained bid 800m out from home by both runners set up a home-straight battle but it was son of One Over Da Moon who proved the stronger late. The trifecta was made by Overzealous, a horse known for it’s noticeable grey coat and passionate ownership group. Watch the race here      The “What The Hill” New Zealand Trotting Oaks (Mobile trot) Group 2 Level ($50’000) saw trotting fillies go to the line. It was won well by the Kevin Townley trained Vacation Hill, a striking looking filly by Muscle Hill. A patient drive by Samantha Ottley early was followed by a 3 wide move 600m out from the post with the filly giving more than enough in the run home to score nicely over Chevron Action who had moved to the front of the race a lap out from home. The All Stars trained Tailored Elegance filled the trifecta after working early to the front then finding the trail. Watch the race here   The Vero Flying Stakes (Mobile Pace) Group 2 ($50’000) saw some of the very best 3yr olds in the country go to war over the 1980m distance. Early speed from behind the mobile gate by Minstrel meant race favourite One Change (who had drawn the inside #1 barrier) had to work around to get the lead back, Copy That, driven by Blair Orange forged around them thereafter to take the lead with a lap to go, Heroes Square, driven confidently by Tim Williams, joined the party with 800m to go after a back-straight move to outside of the speed. The final furlong proved a close run thing but the Ray Green trained Copy That proved his class by kicking strongly and holding out One Change and the fast finishing Minstrel. Bad To The Bone and Heroes Square lost no admirers with their efforts either while Willison, who was off the speed throughout, also found the line with some purpose. All-in-all a good barometer of respective abilities as these horses head towards the Derby. Watch the race here   The First Direct Taxis Superstars Championship (Mobile Pace) Group 2 level ($50’000) rounded out the feature races for the night and was won by the All Stars trained Another Masterpiece who wrestled control of the race after moving to the front with a lap to go. His good kick ensuring a strong win from the fast closing Triple Eight and a game Nandolo who had to sit parked for the early part of the race and bested Franco Santino in the shadow of the post for a minor share of the prize.  Watch the race here    New Zealand based harness fans will be hoping that the quality racing can continue in the coming weeks despite the trying conditions. Hooves and fingers crossed.     Ben McMillan    

Media Release Issued on behalf of:   ● Racing Industry Transition Agency/TAB ● New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing ● Harness Racing New Zealand ● Greyhound Racing New Zealand   Leaders of New Zealand’s racing industry are working closely together to combat the threat posed to the sector from COVID-19. The TAB, which provided $162m of funding to sustain racing and sport in New Zealand in 2019, continues to provide a variety of racing and sport options, however it has seen a significant reduction in content available to customers following the cancellation and postponement of racing and sporting events and fixtures around the world. The Chairs and Chief Executive of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing New Zealand and Greyhound Racing New Zealand met yesterday with the TAB to discuss a coordinated approach to tackle the impact of COVID-19.  Dean McKenzie, Racing Industry Transition Agency Executive Chair said the TAB, and the wider racing and sport community, was facing similar unprecedented challenges being experienced by many businesses throughout New Zealand and was preparing for all eventualities.  “As a business we are planning for every possible scenario and taking steps to mitigate the impact of a significant reduction in income from wagering. We are working closely with the three racing codes and actively talking with the Government about steps we can take to maintain distributions to racing and sport in the face of this crisis.  The industry knows this is a time for planning and not panic. We continue to provide quality New Zealand and international racing to our customers and we are taking steps to introduce new sporting content to our customers. At the same time, across the industry, we’re taking steps to minimise our costs as much as possible.”  Glenda Hughes, CEO of Greyhound Racing New Zealand, said the racing community had demonstrated it could work together with a common focus to benefit everyone involved in the industry. “We’ve got to be resolute in our commitment to look at the long term future of all sectors of the industry and we’re committed to work together in response to COVID-19.” Bernard Saundry of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing said the TAB sustained an industry that supported the livelihoods of more than 17,000 New Zealanders and it was critical industry leaders worked together in the face of the threats posed by COVID-19. “Like everyone around New Zealand, the racing community is worried about the potential impact of COVID-19 on their livelihoods. Right now we’re still racing but it’s prudent to take steps now to ensure the sustainability of our industry.”  Peter Jensen of Harness Racing New Zealand said the racing code was working closely with the TAB to understand the various scenarios that the industry could face over the coming months and taking steps to confront the challenge. “While the New Zealand racing industry is taking several proactive steps to reduce the impact of COVID-19, we are working with the TAB on the possibility of a reduction or total drop in New Zealand and Australian racing products available. Clearly this scenario would have a major impact on revenue and the ability of RITA to maintain distributions to the racing industry and we’re taking collective responsibility as to how we would manage the impact of a reduction in distributions for the second half of the year, should that eventuate.” The Chairs and CEOs of the racing codes and the TAB will meet early next week to continue discussions and will provide a further update then.   Ian Long Head of Public Affairs Racing Industry Transition Agency

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. Treachery leading two-year-old When she won the $100,000 The Allwood at Globe Derby Park Treachery proved herself the top two-year-old filly of the current season., It was her second success from as many starts, and she soundly trounced the best two-year-olds in South Australia in The Allwood after losing 30 metres in an early scrimmage.  She is the first filly to win The Allwood. The winner of $63,612, Treachery is a daughter of the champion colt pacer Captaintreacherous, and one of the first crop of the American horse to race in Australia. She is out of a top racemare in Lovelist (1:53.2), who won 18 races including the Southern Cross 3YO Final and the Breeders Crown 4YO and $222,889 in stakes. By Always A Virgin, Lovelist ranked as a half-sister to the Southern Cross 3YO winner Punch Line (1:54.2), Royal Crime 1:55.7 ($100,753) and Secret Life (1:58.6), being out of Lifeline, by Classic Garry from the noted producer Larrakeyah Lady. Two close relatives of Treachery to win on the same night at Melton were Out To Play and Major Times. Treachery was bred by Peter Gleeson and Bruce and Craig Cameron.                 Star four-year-old by Mach Three One of the most capable young pacers racing in Western Australia at present is the Mach Three entire Shockwave, the winner of the two plums on the WA four-year-old calendar, the Golden Nugget and 4YO & 5YO Championship. He has a wealth of blood to back up his claims to further promotion, being by Mach Three from the useful racemare Here For The Money 1:57.9 ($81,874), the dam also of the outstanding three-year-old filly Double Expresso 1:55.4 ($272,179). Shockwave winning the WA 4YO & 5YO Championship at Gloucester Park    --Jodie Hallows photo By Rich And Spoilt (a Group winning grandson of Falcon Seelster), Here From The Money is out of Regal Castle, a Safely Kept mare from the Seahawk Hanover mare Duel Queen, a half-sister to the NSW Carousel winner Gold King ($216,186), being out of Serene Queen, by Gammalite from the Ovetrick mare Taurus Lady, whose family today is one of the best in the Australian stud book. It includes the Bathurst Crown winners Chariot King, Emjayem Grand and Royal Chef, the dual derby winner Kingstar and others such as Its Only Rocknrolland (NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO), Replaced Eye, Golden Spur, Morgan Abby and Lynniemach.   Three-quarter sisters win in NSW Two of New South Wales’s star mares at present, and winners on consecutive nights at Young and Menangle last weekend, are Molly Kelly (by Four Starzzz Shark) and Delightful Jackie (by Bettor’s Delight). Both bred and raced by Bernie and Dianne Kelly are out of Jackie Kelly (2:01.6), who was also responsible for the outstanding racemare Frith 1:50.1 ($1.1 million) and the exported Stening 1:51.7 ($176,060). Molly Kelly                                                                                   --Stuart McCormick photo Jackie Kelly was by the Abercrombie horse Albert Albert from the Tompkins Hanover mare Miss Paula, a NSW Sires Stake champion and dam of 12 winners including the derby winners Albert Kelly and Greg Kelly and a Vicbred champion in McRaes Mate. Molly Kelly has won 18 races including the NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Final and $321,624 and is undefeated in three starts this season, while Delightful Jackie (by Bettor’s Delight) has won three of her 10 starts to date.   From Derby winning line Micton Mouse, the third Tasmanian bred pacer to win the Tasmanian Derby in the last 30 years, belongs to the same family as the triple derby winner The Sentry. Micton Mouse’s Derby win was his third success from nine starts. He raced only twice at two for a win and a second. Bred and part-owned by Michael Laugher, the gelding was sired by the Artsplace horse Stonebridge Regal, who stands at Elderslie Horse Care and Spelling near Hobart. Micton Mouse is out of the Presidential Ball mare Maisie Mouse (1:59.3), the dam of an earlier winner in Metro Mouse (1:56.7), a winner of 13 races and $85,194. Maisie Mouse was a half-sister to the Sunraysia winner Welsh Beauty, being out of Bellina Franco, by Ok Bye from the Scottish Hanover mare Belle Reign, the dam of eleven winners including the NZ Morrinsville Juvenile Stakes winner Surmo’s Reign. Belle Reign also figured as the grand-dam of Pacific Reign 1:50.6 ($249,975), the Franklin Nursery winner Vance Reign, The Sentry 1:57.9 ($452,452) and Bulldozer 1:54.6 ($118,884). Dilinger’s Reign ($265,658), winner of the WA Oaks, the Inter Dominion heat winner Wrappers Delight 1:51.1 ($414,224), Happy Together (Cambridge Futurity), the dual SA Southern Cross winner Endeared 1:56.7 ($244,650) all belong to the family which produced Micton Mouse. Stonebridge Regal, the sire of Micton Mouse, landed a second winner at the Tasmania Cup meeting in Shesa Tricky Bridge, winner of the George Johnson mares’ feature. Fides in top form Fides, a winner of five of his six starts this season and a runaway winner at Melton last weekend, is one of the most promising four-year-olds in Victoria at present. Bought as a yearling for $55,000, he has won $59,125 in stakes and looks certain to be a force in the autumn racing. By the Rocknroll Hanover horse Rock N Roll Heaven (whose first Australian crops have been most impressive and have run up a particularly good record), he is out of the Christian Cullen mare Localize, whose dam, Sabilize, a fine racemare was by No Nukes from the American mare Sable Hanover. Localize left a top flight racemare in Our Golden Goddess 1:53.1 ($442,410), a Group 1 winner in both New Zealand and Australia and who is now being from by Benstud Standardbreds in Victoria. Won Tasmanian Oaks Winner of the Tasmanian Sweepstakes as a two-year-old last season, A Spanish Dance downed the top three-year-old fillies in the $30,000 Tasmanian Oaks on Hobart Cup night, and she firmly clinched her claim to being the best of her age and sex in the Apple Isle. Earlier in the season she won the 3YO Fillies Championship, and she has won four of her last five – a scrimmage putting her out of the race at her other appearance at Devonport. A Spanish Dance                                             --Stacey Lear photo A Spanish Dance ranks as a half-sister to Albayzin (1:57.7), being by A Rocknroll Dance out of Guernica, a lightly raced mare by Modern Art from Giverny, by Walton Hanover from the Holly Sand mare Turandot. This is the family which also produced Lucyna (9 wins), dam of a useful racemare in Days Like This and Palmisano, who won the Dandy Patch and was placed in the Golden Slipper.   Cup win for Atomic Red Atomic Red, winner of the $30,600 Young Cup, continues to prove himself in the top bracket among New South Wales’s pacers. He holds a mile record of 1:50.3 and has won 15 races – including three at Group level – and $352,002 in stakes. Atomic Red is a member of one of Australia’s most successful families, being a six-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding from a handy racemare in Shoutaloud (1:58.9), an Armbro Operative mare who has produced others in Runaway Red 1:53.5 ($332,892), Power Of Red 1:50.4 ($250,515) and My Dandy 1:54.4 ($118,819), all cup class pacers. Shoutaloud was out of the champion racemare and Oaks winner In A Whisper 1:56.4 ($218,055), by Big Band Sound from Larmoyer, by Menges Hanover from Toulais, and tracing back to the Lawn Derby mare New Memory, who established a great winning line for the late Bill Wise, of the Carlton Stud, Picton (NSW). She left six winners including a talented filly in New Way and a top colt in Woodley’s Best and was the ancestress of winners such as the NSW Sires Stakes champion Flite Dynasty, Stylish Time and Pleasant Speed, both winners of the Queensland Breeders Classic, the cups winner Tricky One, Whispering Lass and Albert Aralar.  Live streaming of Bathurst sale The Bathurst Gold Crown Yearling Sale, to be held at the Gold Crown Paceway on Sunday starting at 11am, will be live streamed on the Bathurst Harness Racing Club’s Facebook page. The sale has attracted 92 lots including stock by the champion sires Bettor’s Delight, Art Major, Mach Three, American Ideal and Rock N Roll Heaven and emerging sires Always B Miki, Betting Line, A Rocknroll Dance, Bling It On, Changeover, He’s Watching and For A Reason. Yearlings are eligible for the Sale Graduate Pace with heats and finals for colts and fillies in April 2021.   Blue blooded filly Joanna, who blitzed her rivals in a heat of the Bathurst Gold Tiara, is a two-year-old filly who can claim some worthwhile blood. By Somebeachsomewhere (by Mach Three), she is out of the former crack racemare Repelem (1:52.9), by Dream way from Lombo Limelight, by Classic Garry from the Windshield Wiper mare Lombo Boucheron, a sister to former 2YO of the Year Mazzini Magic 1:56 ($367,140) and a half-sister to the Australian Pacing Gold winner Smooth Sensation ($249,419). Repelem, the dam of Joanna, totted up 41 wins including the Southern Cross Finals at two and three and $266,346 and at the stud has left two winners from two foals – the brilliant but ill-fated Revolt (1:55.6) and Joanna. She is being bred from by former Harness Racing South Australia chairman Mark Carey. Well related youngster Rocknroll Runa is proving himself a smart two-year-old – he has won two of his three starts to date – and could develop into one of the best his age this season. A gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven (son of Rocknroll Hanover) he is out of the NSW Oaks winner Shes A Runa (1:55.5), by Jereme’s Jet from the Christian Cullen mare  Runacullen, a half-sister to the NSW Rowleyalla Sprint winner Albert’s Charm 1:57.2 ($100,665), Win Or Die (1:58), who won 19 races and $90,512, and Lady Cherokee (Bathurst Sales Classic). Rocknroll Runa is the first foal of his dam. By Peter Wharton

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