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By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    The Gr.1 New Zealand Cup (3200m) is the pinnacle for many trainers in New Zealand and South Auckland horseman Ray Green believes he has the horse that could be a major contender in the time-honoured race this year. His exciting colt Copy That has had a standout three-year-old term winning six of his 10 starts and placing in the remaining four. The season was highlighted by victories in the Gr.2 Three-Year-Old Classic (2200m) and Gr.2 Flying Stakes (1980m), while he also finished runner-up in the Gr.1 Sires’ Stakes Final (1980m) and Gr.1 Northern Derby (2700m). “You couldn’t fault what he did (this season), he stamped himself as one of the best,” Green said. “The last start (Flying Stakes) was the most impressive for me.” Green labelled Copy That has one of the best horses he has trained and he is excited about what lies ahead for the son of American Ideal. “He’s as good a horse as we have ever had, we are pretty fired up about him,” Green said. “We will put a nomination in for the New Zealand Cup and we will see where we are at at the time.” The classy colt has some big targets in front of him and he will kick-off his campaign in the McMurty Farms Handicap Pace (2700m) at Alexandra Park on Wednesday night. Green has been pleased with the way his charge has been progressing in his work, however, he cited his 45m handicap as a major concern in his first-up assignment. “He is really thriving,” Green said. “His work has been good and he has trialled well. I think it will probably take him a couple of runs to get back to where he was the last time he raced. “I think he is classy enough to still win it in spite of the 45m handicap, but I wouldn’t want to label him as a sure thing. “He will be vulnerable because of his lack of race fitness, but he is a classy individual.” TAB bookmakers have installed Copy That as a $2.90 second favourite behind On The Cards at $2.30. Copy That won’t be the only stable representative having his first-up run on Wednesday night, with Green also lining up half a dozen fresh hopefuls. American Dealer, Larry Lincoln, and Man Of Action have all pleased Green in their recent trials and he believes they will all put in a good showing in the Dawson Harford Mobile Pace (2200m). “Larry Lincoln is having his second lifetime start,” Green said. “He had a few little issues early on, but he seems fine now and is trialling well. “Man Of Action trialled particularly well, and so did American Dealer, so I am confident all three of them will go a good race.” Green will also line-up a trio of runners in the PGG Wrightson Mobile Pace (2200m) and he believes debutant Apieceoflou is one to watch for the future. “Franco Nandor and Captain Nemo are probably better prospects at this stage,” Green said. “Apieceoflou is still on the way up and the experience won’t hurt him. He looks like a nice horse for the future.”

Trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan have reason to celebrate even before they head to Alexandra Park tonight look for more. The long-time friends have lodged papers this week to resume their training partnership in the new season, nine years after last training together. Phelan cut his teeth working with Hall of Famer Purdon and they trained together from 2008 to 2011 before Phelan briefly moved overseas. The 38-year-old first worked for Steve Telfer when he returned from his time in Australia but has been with Purdon for the last few years and is thrilled to be re-entering their partnership. “It is like coming home to me,” says Phelan. “It is a wonderful property which I love and Barry and Katrina have been great to me. “And we have some lovely horses here so I am looking forward to next season even more now.” Purdon may have nothing left to prove in harness racing but he has rarely trained better, with his strike rate last season the highest of his career, albeit with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity these days. “Scott and I get on really well and he is a great worker. But the quality I admire most is he cares about the horses and getting the job done well,” offered Purdon. While the partnership won’t officially resume until the new season in August, the stable could easily have two winners tonight. They have both Major Jellis (10m handicap) and On The Cards (55m) in tonight’s main pace where they clash with NZ’s best three-year-old pacer in Hard Copy (45m) and in-form mare Callie’s Delight (30m). The small field and step up to 2700m distance may partially negate the handicaps for the favourites but the tempo for the first mile of the race could dictate their chances “I think On The Cards will be better for his fresh up run but these are tricky races,” says Purdon. Rival trainer Ray Green feels the same with Hard Copy, who be believes is forward enough to win yet still at the improving stage. “I am happy with him but he has been away for a while and a lot will depend on how fast they go and where they all end up in the running,” says Green. Purdon has impressive debut runner-up Marathon Man in the first race at tonight’s race Wednesday meeting at Alexandra Park, in which he has barrier one rather than the poor barrier he had to come from last start. “He was very good behind what looked a nice maiden winner last start and should be hard to beat,” he says. One of the other highlights of the night is the return of Credit Master and Kenny’s Dream in the main trot (race five) but like Copy That they face big handicaps fresh up and may have to chase a race fit rival like Tricky Ric who won the comparable race last start but doesn’t receive a penalty for that.   Michael Guerin

Have Faith In Me N was a winner once again on Saturday when he smoked his harness racing rivals in the $18,000 Open Pace at Scioto in a slick time of 1:49.3. J D Perrin trained the winner and also second placed Our Corelli N making it a Down Under Quinella. Our Corelli N was some 1.7 seconds behind the winner. Blindswitch Racing Stable and Bukers Stable were the successful owners of the Down Under quinella. The win took Have Faith In Me N to over $1.7m in stake earnings for his racing career. The son of Bettors Delight set Down Under harness racing alight when he won the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle in Sydney in a scotching time of 1:47.5.   Monday 22nd June Harrington Raceway DE Waikiki Beach A – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $2,500 Bettor Rock On N – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $2,500   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Stormont Czar A – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $6,800   Tioga Downs NY Shecouldbegood N – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $6,700   Tuesday 23rd June Running Aces Casino & Racetrack MN Firenglow A – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $6,700 Keep On Rocking A – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $10,000 Last Flight In N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $5,200   The Meadows PA Amelia’s Courage A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $11,500 Tioga Downs NY Kotare Yael N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $5,600   Yonkers Raceway NY Provocativeprince N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $14,250         Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Fizzing N, 3rd Kenrick N Rockin The Boys A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $17,250 Yayas Hot Spot N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $17,250   Georgian Downs CA American Tour N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $8,800   Wednesday 24th June Buffalo Raceway NY Empire Earl N – Time: 2:01.0, Stake: $8,400 Harrington Raceway DE Stella A – Time: 2:03.2, Stake: $20,000   Thursday 25th June Harrahs Hoosier Park IN The Empiressister N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $19,750 Saratoga Harness NY Bontz N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $8,500 Culinary Delight N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $4,800 Scarborough Downs ME Dontustopbelievn N – Time: 1:57.2, Stake: $3,500 Yonkers Raceway NY Wardan Express A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $14,250 Raukapuka Ruler N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $33,000 One Off Delight A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $20,250 Charlottetown Driving Park CA Misty Memory N  – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $1,550   Friday 26th June Harrahs Hoosier Park IN Saloon Passage N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $7,500 Threeofthebest A – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $12,500 Ana Malak N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $15,000 Scarborough Downs ME Rock Diamonds N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $5,000   Saturday 27th June Buffalo Raceway NY Electric Chapel N – Time: 1:58.4, Stake: $4,400 Harrahs Hoosier Park IN Backup A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $7,000 Late Night Date A – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $8,000 Meadowlands NJ Campora N – Time: 1:48.4, Stake: $10,000 Campora N Persimmon N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $12,000 Ana Afreet N – Time: 1:50.0, Stake: $15,000 Northfield Park OH Rollin Witholly A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $6,500 Scioto Downs OH Havefaithinme N – Time: 1:49.3, Stake: $18,000 Messi N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $11,000 Picard A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $14,000 The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Lachie Maguire N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $11,200   Sunday 28th June Harrahs Philadelphia PA Vettel N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $11,600 Our Max Phactor N – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $14,400 Saratoga Harness NY Nerve Of Steel N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $5,750 Crockets Cullen N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $8,500 The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Rock n Shard N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $10,000 Rideau Carleton Raceway CA Darcee N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $6,000 Flying Isa N – Time: 1:56.3, Stake: $9,000 Carter Dalgety

By Jonny Turner    Trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis and owner Tom Kilkelly can dare to dream again after their star pacer U May Cullect got an important all clear this week. Dunedin Vet Peter Gillespie gave the excitement machine a tick of approval to resume fast work following a scan on the tendon injury that cut short his 2019 New Zealand Cup preparation. Barclay admitted it was hard to contain her excitement following the news. “Its hard not to be excited with news like that,” the trainer-driver said. “Peter was very happy with him and he gave us the all clear to start fast working him.” U May Cullect’s latest scan came after his troublesome tendon had been closely monitored for nine months. The winner of seven of just eight career starts started his rehabilitation process with just a five minute walk each day. Barclay and Ellis’ patience to slowly built that up in baby steps clearly paid off with the 6yr-old successful scan. “He is up to 45 minutes trotting now,” Barclay said. "We started off with five minutes walking and built that up to 10 minutes, 15 minutes over the past nine months.” Barclay gave U May Cullect some strong work ahead of this week’s crucial scan and instantly got back the magical feeling the pacer had given her in the past. “There is nothing like driving him – he just feels so balanced.” “I gave him a couple of bowls in the cart last week and he felt nice.” U May Cullect’s clean winded and athletic physique, coupled with him already being jogged up, means he is just a matter of weeks away from trial or workout fitness. But, that does not mean he will be stepping out publicly any time soon. Barclay and Ellis plan to take a patient approach to work towards their ultimate goal – making it to this year’s New Zealand Cup. “He won’t take much to come up – the only caution is that we will try to limit the amount of races he has before the cup to try to get him right." “He won’t go to every cat and dog fight.” “We will limit him to a few starts and hopefully we can qualify for the cup.” Though he is not quite in the same realm as U May Cullect just yet, the Barclay-Ellis-Kilkelly combination have produced another exciting pacer recently in Love On The Rocks. The 3yr-old Terror To Love pacer has impressed with two powerful post-lockdown wins. Both have come off the unruly, with Love On The Rocks having to circle a capacity field of older, race hardened horses in his second Ascot Park victory. “He is a pretty sharp horse,’ Barclay said. “Having to come off the unruly again a go around them – I know he got a drag in to it – but it was a big effort.” “He is a pretty sharp wee horse.” Love On The Rocks will come off the unruly in race 10 at Ascot Park on Thursday. The 3yr-old is ineligible for the upcoming Sires Stakes and Sales Series races, which could persuade his trainers to send him for a short spell soon. “He is not paid up for anything, so we might just give him this start and give him a wee spell and get him ready for the new season,” Barclay said. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

What’s being hailed as ‘‘The Million Dollar Spring” has been confirmed for Auckland and Christchurch. Stakes for eighteen races have been announced for the country’s best two and three-year old pacers and trotters. The New Zealand Bloodstock Harness Million for two-year-old colts and geldings is the table-topper with a stake of $200,000 at Alexandra Park on September 25. The Garrard’s NZ 2YO Sires Stakes Final will be held the previous Friday for $140,000. The fillies will be chasing $150,000 in the two-year-old NZB Standardbred Harness Million at Addington on Friday October 2, while the $120,000 Magness Benrow Group One Sires Stakes Fillies Championship will be held at Alexandra Park on October 30. The races were re-scheduled after the COVID-19 pandemic brought racing to a halt in March and forced some feature age-group races to be postponed.    On New Zealand Cup day (November 10) the Group One Nevele R Series Final will be decided with a stake of $100,000. The richest race for the trotters will be the $85,000 PGG Wrightson 3YO final at Alexandra Park on October 9 while the Haras des Trotteurs Sires Stakes Championship for the two-year-olds is scheduled for Friday October 16 at Addington. In all stake money will top $1.13m. “It’s taken a lot of hard work to get where we are and it’s going to be a hugely exciting time,” says New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred Advisor Bruce Barlass. To view the full schedule click here The Board also wishes to thank their loyal stable of sponsors for their support and is looking forward to continuing these partnerships in our future races. “Fully supporting each other through these challenging times will provide better outcomes for us all as the Industry looks to rebound from the effects of COVID-19” concluded Martin Pierson, Sires Stakes Executive.

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    Ray Jenkins is not a big fan of Canterbury winters and in recent times has opted for the 20-plus degrees of Queensland instead. “I haven’t had a cold for six years.” Since 2014 he’s based himself near Brisbane, leaving New Zealand in April-May and staying there till October. This year though his departure for his Australian home in Logan Village has been delayed because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. “I wasn’t prepared to go into quarantine – you can’t train horses in quarantine and I’d be in quarantine when I came home so it wasn’t worthwhile.” In the meantime Kiwi trainer Graeme Harris is helping him out in Queensland. Harris trained more than 200 winners here from the late 1970s till 2009. “I have up to 6 in work, race them through and when it comes close to coming home and if people want to buy them I sell them,” said Jenkins. He cites one of his former trotters as a prime example of a horse extending its career by racing on both sides of the Tasman. “Horses like Monorail probably couldn’t have won any more than four races here and he’s gone over there and won another eight and we sold him. Monorail won three races for Jenkins and his sister Diane Kean, who both bred and owned the gelding, before being exported to Australia in 2014. At Motukarara in 2014 he won paying $75 for Jenkins’ daughter Amber Lethaby. The other two wins were at Forbury Park. Across the Tasman Nicole Molander guided the horse to more wins before being on-sold. Now, according to Harness Racing Australia statistics the horse has racked up 18 wins and nearly $130,000 in stakes and last raced for a fifth at Albion Park on April 14 Monorail is by Dr Ronerail out of Globe Trotter, a Sundon mare that Jenkins bred, owned, trained and drove to 10 wins from 109 starts. Jenkins has been associated with a swag of quality trotters over the years, most notably Tobago. He bred and co-owned the horse that won the 1989 Dominion handicap for trainer Patrick O’Reilly and driver Henry Skinner in a then record time of 4:08.4. In 2018 Jenkins decided against renewing his license. His horses are now trained by Amber and her husband Jason Lethaby at the aptly-named Tobago Lodge at West Melton just outside Christchurch. They had a win on Sunday when Majestic Rollon won at Addington, with Amber the successful driver.

New Zealand’s most in-form harness racing stable will have to overcome a new challenge this week: having their training track washed away. But co-trainer Josh Dickie says some help from his rivals should still see the stable he runs with father John arrive at Alexandra Park on Wednesday night with their horses ready to rock. The Dickies have been the punter’s pals since horse racing returned post-lockdown on May 29, winning a remarkable nine races in a month, an average of almost two every meeting they have competed at. That has been made possible by their excellent training facilities at Rosslands Farm in South Auckland, although their training track has been a victim of the recent northern storms. “When the storm hit last Thursday we had 120mils of rain in an hour and was too much for the drains, they overflowed and on to our main track,” explains Dickie. “That washed a lot of the top surface away and made the track unusable. “Luckily it had no where to run off to so a lot of the surface material is still on the edges of the track but we have had to get a grader to come in and try and repair it and then we will see if we need more top.” Rival trainers Brian and Gareth Hughes invited the Dickies to bring their horses racing tomorrow night to their property on Saturday morning so they could use their track. “It was very good of them and means our horses haven’t missed any real fast work,” said Dickie. This week's meeting is an extremely rare Wednesday night Alexandra Park meeting as harness racing bosses seek to see whether it is a night that has a future of the code. The meeting is one of the strongest since lockdown with exceptional three-year-old pacer Copy That returning to the track along with several open class trotters.   Michael Guerin

Making her way in an efficient manner through the smooth organisation that is All Stars stable is Mikayla Lewis a promising young horsewoman who is likely to be wearing the stable colours at some time in the new season. Mikayla, partner of Nathan Purdon who is training in partnership with Cran Dalgety, already has a very healthy strike rate from her race driving having posted 10 wins from 173 drives the most notable being behind Mach Shard as a concession driver for Barry Purdon in August 2018 . During that time she was working alongside Nathan atnBarry’s before they returned south. However the bulk of her wins have been with Brent White of Ashburton where she was employed before travelling north then returned to after the end of her time there. “Brent got me started in the driving ranks and we did quite well but I needed to look closer to Christchurch. One night we were out socially with Mark and Natalie and Nat said that if a position became available they would be interested if I was and here I am” In her first season of driving (2017-2018) Mikayla posted 5 wins from 73 drivesher first winner, Petite’s Blue Chip coming at Addington on September 2017. Nothing like starting at the top. Three of her wins were behind Xmas Joyella, also trained by Brent and there were three second placings with trotter Missie Castleton, Jesse Wedderell and Donna Williamson also offered support. The following season she had success with Mach Shard and Benson Boys in Auckland and ended the season with wins back with the White stable when Tokyo Joe and Rogie Falls were successful. She has had limited opportunities this term witha win nd three minor placings from just over 30 drives, one of the minors for Grant Payne. Mikayla, like most juniors, ust loves to get a raceday drive but in the meantime she is concentrating on work and trials drives for All Stars as a priority.   Courtesy of All Stars Stable

It is with great sincerity that we say farewell to Bruce Barlass at the end of this month. An industry veteran himself, Bruce has dedicated over 40 years of service to New Zealand harness racing, transitioning effortlessly into the New Zealand Bloodstock environment nearly three years ago. Initially starting out as an accountant for BNZ, Bruce made the move to track life early on in his career and over some 35 plus years, along with Peter Lagan, he forged the shape of standardbred sales. Complimented by a group of dedicated staff, under his management he has witnessed extraordinary changes to the trading of horses. From manually writing pedigrees, developing a standardbred database through to helping implement NZB's first-ever online standardbred auction. The establishment of the Sales Race incentive series, now known as the Harness Million, a definite highlight of his career. I would like to personally acknowledge the expertise Bruce capably brought with him to his advisory role in NZB Standardbred. His knowledge has proven invaluable, not only to NZB but to the wider industry body. I first meet Bruce in the 1990's when he established the sale in the North Island that was held at Karaka. From that time we have worked closely together to run auctions in both islands. I have always admired his integrity, appreciated his council and enjoyed our mutual friendship. Bruce confidently adapted to any situation he was thrown into. He actively puts others before himself and is a highly valued member of our team. We will sorely miss his great eye for detail and zealous personality. Bruce has served on the New Zealand Sires Stakes Board for 30 years and has been Treasurer of the board for the last 20. The late Wayne Francis asked him to take over his previous roll and we wish him all the best in this role and his future endeavours, wherever they may be. We, along with all of the New Zealand harness racing industry, take this opportunity to offer an immense thank you to him for the remarkable contribution he has made to the standardbred industry. Following Bruce's departure, we will continue to function under the same operational structure. With extensive teams in Auckland, the Waikato, South Island and internationally, NZB Standardbred will remain focused on the core business of selling horses. James Jennings Director & Operations Manager NZB Standardbred

Highly talented Auckland Reactor four-year-old Reactor Now stretched his winning sequence to seven and earned a new speed badge of 1:52.2 when he came from second last to win the Victorian Regional Challenge heat at Bendigo on Friday night (June 26). Gaining a three-wide trail in the back straight, Reactor Now was spotting the leaders a conservative 25 metres at the 600 metre mark but maintained a solid finishing thrust to prevail in the last stride. The gelding has now won nine of his 12 lifetime starts and $55,630 in stakes. The win was the highlight of another highly successful weekend for emerging sire Auckland Reactor. Bossmaro, a four-year-old, romped home by three-and-a-half lengths at a 1:59.9 rate over    2600 metres at Addington, while the five-year-old Jimmy Richter notched his second win at Invercargill. Other recent Australian winners by Auckland Reactor were Temora Reactor (1:57, Wagga) and Hilo Tyson (Northam). Auckland Reactor is currently ranked fifth on this year’s New Zealand all aged sires’ list and third on the 5YO and older table ahead of American Ideal and Art Major. His NZ based stock has earned $746,000 to date this season. Auckland Reactor is standing this season at the Moama (NSW) property of well known horseman Tony Peacock.   By Peter Wharton

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    Punters backed Bossmaro into an equal money favourite in the Fahey Fence hire Mobile Pace (2600m) at Addington Raceway on Sunday and the Rodger Austin-trained gelding didn’t disappoint his supporters. New Zealand Premiership leading driver Blair Orange took advantage of his ace draw, stoking up his charge to take and early lead. The pair didn’t relinquish their advantage and ran away to a comfortable 3-1/2 length win over Paul’s Verdict, with a further 4-1/2 lengths back to Donegal Gilbert in third. Austin was pleased with the four-year-old’s winning effort and said it came as a relief after a series of promising runs this preparation. “He went really well, I am really pleased with the way he went today,” Austin said. “Once he got out of the gate he got an easy lead and from there I thought he would take some catching.” The son of Auckland Reactor has continued to impress Austin with his progress this preparation, particularly his runner-up performance over 2600m at Addington Raceway last week. “He has been going some quite good races,” Austin said. “He has been racing a lot kinder and has been doing things right. His sectionals have been really good, so he has been knocking on the door.” Austin has been trying to correct a few issues Bossmaro developed late last year and is delighted to see his patience pay dividends on Sunday. “We had a bit of trouble with him after Christmas, after he won a race,” Austin said. “He started pulling quite hard in his races and not doing things right, especially behind the mobile. “We put him on the unruly and he had a few bad runs. The unruly is not always the best place to be, especially over those 1950m races. He just wasn’t getting good runs, but was going okay races. “We did a bit of work with him over the break and changed a bit of gear on him, which seems to have helped. “We got him off the unruly, so that has made a big difference to him.” It was Bossmaro’s fourth run this preparation and Austin said the four-year-old gelding may now head for a quick freshen-up. “We might give him a bit of a breather now because he is a big, skinny fella.” Earlier in the card Austin lined-up another favourite in Idle Stuartia, but the daughter of Superfast Stuart could only manage a fourth-placing after doing a bit of work mid-race. While she wasn’t able to add to her win tally Austin was still happy with the way she performed. “She went near enough, she did a bit of work through the race,” he said. “She probably just lacks a little bit of toughness. She has got a lot of speed but if she has got to do a little bit of extra work she is not quite as good.”

It’s a win-win -  we want to match owners with horses, and vice versa Harness Racing New Zealand is keen to hear from anyone wanting to get involved in Standardbred ownership. You can already have horses and be looking to extend your involvement, or you can be a total novice. We also want to hear from trainers who are looking for new owners. It doesn’t matter if they Weanlings or race ready we want to know about them.   The options for owners are many and varied. You can buy horses outright, go into a syndicate,  or enter into  lease agreements. The options are designed to fit it with people’s individual circumstances  – it does not have to blow the budget.    If you want to experience the thrill of owning a horse and watching it race then contact courtney@hrnz.co.nz Trainers: If you have any options available please also contact Courtney.   HRNZ Marketing

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    It may have been a wet winters day at Addington Raceway on Sunday, but it will live long in the memory of Jo-ann Buckland-Stevens. The amateur driver was having just her second raceday outing and was able to pick-up her first win behind Glacier Coaster in the Mike Stratford Memorial Amateur Drivers Mobile Pace (2600m) for trainer Bruce Negus. Buckland-Stevens bided her time at the rear of the field for the majority of the race before electing to press her claims four-wide down the back-straight. Glacier Coaster stuck on resolutely and was able to pick-up her rivals in the home-straight to record a half-length victory over Changearound, with a further 1-1/2 lengths back to Flame Lady in third. The win was made even more satisfying for Buckland-Stevens given the mare is owned by the estate of Stratford, who passed away earlier this month. “It was pretty exciting to get my first win,” Buckland-Stevens said. “I was just trying to be really positive today. I knew she was a lovely horse to drive. I just tried to listen to the instructions and go out there and have fun. “She is just such a nice horse to drive and she is such an honest mare. I was ecstatic to drive her for Mike, especially on a special day with his memorial. “It was also great to get the win for Bruce and Colleen (Negus) and what they have done for me over the past few years.” Bruce Negus was instrumental in Buckland-Stevens’ involvement in harness racing, having introduced her to the sport three years ago, and he has encouraged her to pursue an amateur driver’s license. “We own a garage out at Burnham and Bruce is one of our customers,” Buckland-Stevens said. “He came in about three years ago and Brendan (husband) and a few of the other mechanics went into shares in one of his horses. “I thought I would go and check the horse out and I ended up helping brush all the horses and learnt how to gear up. “One day Bruce said did I want to jump in the bike and it all started from there. As soon as I did (drive a horse) I was addicted and then I started on the road towards an amateur license.” Glacier Coaster has become one of Buckland-Stevens’ favourite horses at Negus’ stable, alongside She’s Allthe Craze who finished runner-up later on the card behind the Colin and Julie DeFilippi-trained Midnight Assassin. “Glacier Coaster is just an honest mare to drive, I like her, and She’s Allthe Craze,” Buckland-Stevens said. “It’s a shame we don’t get to drive them because I like the trotters and she is just an amazing horse to drive.” Buckland-Stevens is enjoying her time out on the track on raceday and said the only goal she has at this stage is to improve on her driving abilities. “I am just trying to drive horses to their capability and listen to the trainer,” she said. “Next season I would like to get as many drives as I can and just continue to improve my driving skills.” 

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Addington again today with an eleven race program starting at 11:54am and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Addington. NZ Metro Sunday 28th June 2020   Race 1 Four Starzzz Shiraz handy run after an early break last start. Drawn wide but one of the better chances in this field….Flame Lady she stuck on for third in a similar field last start and has winning claims here…..Royal Jester coming in fresh but will get a good run on the fence, one for longer odds…..Pete’s Dash good draw to work with and throws in the odd good race. Nice odds available. Selections:  Four Starzzz Shiraz(9),   Flame Lady (5),   Pete’s Dash (3),    Royal Jester (10)   Race 2 Luminosity yet to break her maiden win but today could be the day. Running big races with not much luck…..Pastrana a gallop midrace put paid to his chances last start. Not the worst in this field….Build A Bridge good second last start but manners a concern, will be in it with no mistakes…..Midnight Memories normally there abouts and is reliable at the start. Place hopes again here. Selections:  Luminosity (11),   Pastrana (5),   Build A Bridge (6),    Midnight Memories (10)   Race 3 Prairie tidy second here last week and he should be right in the fight again here. Top selection…..Buckskin roared home late after a slow beginning last week and only has to step cleanly to be right there……Pembrook Tilly big improvement in form last start and can go on with it. Winning claims…..Southern Storm held up at a vital stage last week and ran on ok. Can win if closer on the turn. Selections:  Prairie (4),   Buckskin (5),   Southern Storm (14),    Pembrook Tilly (10)   Race 4 Missalyssa she got the money at big odds last start and is a good chance to win again with manners…..Tehoro Dazzle gallop midrace was costly last start but she is a chance with luck in the running…Honeys Son big run for second last start with good sectionals. Can go one better…..Sunny Bill last start run not as bad as it looks on paper and he normally begins well. One for longer odds. Selections:  Missalyssa (15),   Honeys Son (12),  Sunny Bill (5),    Tehoro Dazzle (9)   Race 5 Champagneandwine slightly unlucky last week when a horse galloped in front of her and she got forced wide.Winning claims here……Donegal Carrickfin drops back for this and runs have been ok. Can win at decent odds with manners……Sagano disappointing last start but well placed here. Stand start a concern but she will be right there with a clean getaway…..The Diva tidy win last start and this field no stronger. Can repeat with a similar run in transit. Selections:  Champagneandwine (4),   Donegal Carrickfin (2),   Sagano (9),    The Diva (8)   Race 6 American Viking looked to be going ok when he broke last start. One for longer odds here…..Princess Dakota she ran on well after a slow start last week and only needs to bring her manners to go close to winning…..Yuri has run a couple of good seconds this campaign. Winning claims here…..Funky Monkey from a top trotting stable and sure to be ready. Can win with the tote the guide. Selections:  American Viking (4),   Yuri (10),   Princess Dakota (5),    Funky Monkey (7)   Race 7 Conquer Me has a decent draw to contend with and has been ok in his previous runs. One to spice up the exotics…..Samarias Mach tidy third here last week. Can go one better with luck in the running…..Tara Bromac tough run last start and weaker field here. Winning claims…..Deja Blue nice finish for second last start but tricky draw. Can place with luck in the running. Selections:  Conquer Me (1),   Samarias Mach (2),   Tara Bromac (6),    Deja Blue (9)   Race 8 Fortunia easy winner last start with the stand the only worry. Will go close to winning with a clean beginning…..Arocknatthepark nice win last start and manners are good. Should lead and can win……Uber Express building a tidy formline and begins ok. Winning claims with luck in the running….Pats Dragon another with good form who has been stepping well. Place hopes again here. Selections:  Fortunia  (1),   Arocknatthepark (3),   Uber Express (10),    Pats Dragon (7)   Race 9 Bossmaro good second last start and top driver booked. Should go close to winning this….Mordecai unlucky last start after getting knocked over at the 600m. Can go close here with luck in the running….Bird Of Paradise bobs up now and then and draw is good. One for longer odds….Art Banker previous runs have been better than they look on paper. Not the worst at decent odds. Selections:  Bossmaro (1),   Mordecai (8),   Art Banker (5),    Bird Of Paradise (3)   Race 10 Midnight Assassin good win here last week and is improving. Winning claims again here…..Count Eyre has run some good races on the track and could be over the odds at $21.00. Can add some value……With Ice running on from well back last start. Only needs to land closer to them to be a winning chance....That's The Story building a good formline now and has place claims again here. Selections:  Midnight Assassin (14),   Count Eyre (15),   With Ice (17),    That's The Story (12)   Race 11 Adam Patron got back and ran on last start. Might be closer to the lead this week and good winning chance……Playboy Prince eyecatching finishes the last couple and good draw. Can be a major player here…..Madam Frost good run after getting back in the field at her last start. Well placed in this field and is at decent odds…..Loissonya could end up being a good draw and she is not the worst for a place bet in this field. Selections:  Adam Patron (5),   Madam Frost (7),   Loissonya (1),    Playboy Prince (3)     Harnesslink Media

“It felt like track work to be fair, trainer driver Brad Williamson said after Cracker Hill easily won his sixth race at Ascot Park today. He’s just getting better and better with every run.” The six length win was from the front without the ear plugs being pulled and the time was 0.6 off the New Zealand record of 2-43.0 held by Royal Aspirations. “He’s just got a high cruising speed. If I’d have guessed the time I would have said three minutes for 2200 but we went a Southland record.” The previous track and Southland record for three year olds was shortlived being recorded last Saturday by Ultimate Stride at 2-47.4. Williamson made the most of the front line draw today, and headed straight to the top. “When he draws the front line in a mobile he’s always pretty hard to beat because his gate speed is as good as any. Which makes it pretty easy.” Once again consistent mare Crusher Collins which trailed the leader, had to make do with second placing. Williamson says Cracker Hill takes everything in his stride and acts like an experienced race horse. “As you can see he’s like a sensible campaigner and just wants to be a really good race horse. I think in twelve months time he will be.” Some thought is now being given to an Australian campaign. “Nothing is set in stone but I’ve made a few plans to head to Australia with him to Brent Lilley’s but it’s not confirmed yet. I’d like to get over and contest the Victoria Derby. He’ll have a wee freshen up and whether I race him again before I go to Australia or not, I’m not sure.” Winning connections                                               --Bruce Stewart photo Cracker Hill is owned by Gary Preston, Sue Preston, Wayne Morris, Mike Arnold, Ray Scott, Joan Scott, Jenny Rhodes and Lex Williams. He’s by Muscle Hill out of the Majestic Son mare Juneamy Castleton which won four races for Canterbury trainer Mark Jones. The family goes back to quality trotters Castleton’s Pride which won the 1975 Interdominion Trotters Final and ten other races, and 1983 Rowe Cup winner Sir Castleton which won forty four races. The breed was developed by Mawson MacPherson. Juneamy Castleton is now owned by Brent Smith who lives in Otautau. The Love You yearling colt that Smith offered at this year’s sale was bought by Preston under All Things Harness Racing for $40,000.  Smith also has a Father Patrick weanling colt out of the mare.   Bruce Stewart

Those on course at Ascot Park today were treated to one of the most sensational runs seen in years by a pacer. At about the 600 diminutive Sweet Lou three year old Spirit Of St Louis looked to be in a hopeless position. After stepping nicely from the twenty metre mark driver Matthew Williamson settled the gelding last on the outside with Betterthanbrie making the pace. Half way down the back straight most horses were off the inside running line so Williamson decided to run Spirit Of St Louis up the inside. ‘It was looking good coming off the back because I thought I’d get on the back of Kirk (Kirk Larsen driving Maidonthebeach).” But that move soon looked flawed as horses began to move sharply round the outside and Maidonthebeach wasn’t progressing. “I got held up badly by the two Gray runners (Nota Bene Denario and Born To Boogie) coming round and I had to go behind them. I ended up giving up the ground I’d made back to them.” Williamson was still seven lengths off the leader turning in and wide on the track. Halfway down the straight Spirit Of St Louis was still only going to run second but he sustained his finish and nabbed a game Betterthanbrie right on the line, winning by a nose. “Coming round the last bend I could tell he was jogging. It really surprised me how well he let down. It was a phenomenal run just to get up.” Spirit Of St Louis ran his last 400 metres in 27.8. The overall time of 3-22.6 was 0.6 outside the track and Southland record of 3-22.0 held by Tas Man Bromac. After the run Williamson was full of praise for the horse. “He’s got good high speed and is a lovely natured horse. He’s such a laid back wee fella and pretty lazy. You don’t know how you’re going until you wake him up. Williamson also praised the horse’s Westwood Beach trainer Graeme Anderson. “I don’t want to talk about him too much,  it’ll go to his head (laughter) but he’s done a great job with this horse. His runners are always ready.” So after today’s sensational effort how does Williamson rate Spirit Of St Louis? ‘I think he’s the best. With the run today to beat the older horses and to give them the ground he did was a hell of a good effort. With that one cold shot at them he’s at his best.” Spirit Of St Louis is owned by Trevor Casey, Anderson, Tony Gow, Steve Pulley, Ray Chaiklin, Pauline Gillan and Edwin and Kieran Corby.   Bruce Stewart

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