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Twin sisters dead heat in a world first for harness racing Sheryl and Cheree Wigg have claimed a possible world first in harness racing by finishing in a dead heat for first at the Banks Peninsular Trotting Club meeting at Motukarara raceway yesterday. The Wigg sisters who are North Island based, were were locked together at the finish of the Country Feasts Amateur Drivers Mobile Pace over 2000m and the judge could not separate them finally declaring a dead heat to the race. Trainer Bruce Negus provided pacing mare Queen Of Glory for Cheree Wigg to drive and he was also the care taker of the pacer Runcle (trainer Tim Vince) for driver Sheree Wigg. The dividend for the quinella for the sisters was a juicy $25.40 and the race was run on a soft grass track after a prolonged period of rain prior to the race day. Sheryl Wigg                                               Cheree Wigg _______________________________________________________________________________________ Funatthebeach has won a gruelling Geraldine cup run in atrocious conditions at the Geraldine harness meeting on Saturday. Run over 2850m from the stand on a very heavy track Funatthebeach (Somebeachsomewhere - Minnie Moose) led from start to finish for driver Tim Williams and carved out the time in 4-17.4 with the mile rate a rather sedate 2-25.3. Airpark Flyer who paced roughly on the turn battled on well for second ahead of Mikey Maguire who fought on well for third after trailing the winner all the way. Funatthebeach winning the Geraldine Cup Handy trotter Belles Son was back in the winners circle at Geraldine when he won the R70 and Faster Trot by a nose for trainer Regan Todd. Belles Son's last win was in this race two years ago when trained by Kevin Chapman.   Belles Son winning at Geraldine   Harnesslink Media    

With the scratching of Rockabilly Blues, Honor And Glory was always going to be hard to beat in today’s Nuggets Final at Ascot Park. Although only sixth at his last start driver Brent Barclay wasn’t too disappointed with the run. “We just got too far back. They ran a good half and a good quarter and he still made ground at the finish. At the end of the day when I analysed it, it wasn’t a bad run after all,” he said. In todays $12,000 feature, Barclay settled the gelding four back on the inside. At the 400 metres he moved forward and was forced three wide when Bottle Rock came off the inside running line. Once balanced Honor And Glory ran home nicely down the middle of the track to beat Bottle Rock by four and three quarter lengths running the 2200 metres in 2-40.5. “He’s still very green. Today is only his third start and he’s had a couple of workouts and a trial. We might just give him a wee spell and see what’s coming up further down the track. It didn’t feel like 2-40 (pace) today but he got to the line really good.” Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart One of Honor And Glory’s main goals is the $20,000 Super Nuggets Final at the Northern Southland meeting on 9th March. He’s out of the former New Zealand record holder for 2200 metres Breath Of Life and is owned by Diane and Noel Cournane and The Butterworth Racing Syndicate. Rockabilly Blues was scratched due to a minor leg injury.   Bruce Stewart

Blair Orange knows Ascot Park well and he drove RnR Windermere to her strengths in an inch perfect performance for an all the way win today. The big Rocknroll Hanover mare is best in front according Andrea Tither who part owns her with husband and trainer Jack. “Three times in front for three wins,” she said. RnR Windermere qualified at three and won her first race as a five year old. “She’s taken a lot of time. She’s six and has just come right. But she’s very big and has been growing all the time. The whole breed is a bit like that. Jack has got more patience than me.” She’s out of the maiden Christian Cullen mare Sheza Windermere who’s been an excellent broodmare for the Tithers. Her first foal VC Windermere won four of his eighteen starts while the mare,s next foal BD Windermere won four races here and another five in Australia. Blow A Cloud followed, and won four races in New Zealand and another nine in Australia. He’s since headed to America where he’s also won races. Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart The race was part of the Woodlands Stud sponsored Invited Drivers Series and Andrea says once they drew Orange they were confident the mare would perform well. “We were pretty happy when we drew him. Putting the sliding blinds on has really done the trick too.” The only other horse the Tithers have in work is a three year old by A Rocknroll Dance out of Sheza Windermere. “He’s a nice horse but he’s going to take time too.” The Invited Drivers Series was won by the South Of The Waitaki Team with sixty two points while the individual competition was won by Nathan Williamson with twenty nine points. Samantha Ottley was second with fourteen points.   Bruce Stewart

Two of the most promising pacers in the north should provide punters with a Pick6  kick start at Alexandra Park tonight. After the highs of Cup week in Christchurch last week tonight’s meeting and the grass track fixture at Geraldine tomorrow give harness punters a more relaxed vibe before the Inter Dominions kick off in Victoria next week and the Alexandra Park summer carnival starts to pick up momentum. But that doesn’t mean tonight’s meeting lacks class. On The Cards (R6, No.6) headlines a smart field while Revolver (R4, No.8) looks one of the sharper lower grade pacers in the north and a horse who could end up in the better four-year-old races at the back end of the season. Revolver is unbeaten in two starts for trainer Tony Herlihy and while he hasn’t raced since April he has looked very sharp and even stronger than last season in his two recent workout wins. “I am happy with where he is at and even though he has a wide draw he feels very forward,” says Herlihy. “But it is hard to be confident from the draw.”Revolver does however come into tonight’s first leg of Pick6 with a reputation and would seem a horse most rivals drivers would be happy to trail should Herlihy choose to use him early. On The Cards was used plenty early last start but was stunning winning in a far easier grade and looks Barry Purdon’s next good open class horse.  He broke 3:20 for 2700m mobile last start and while he meets a better field tonight he has a big advantage in the draws over stablemate Mach Shard while the scratching of potential early leader Tennyson Bromac suggests On The Cards could end up in front, from where he should win.  The southern harness focus is on Geraldine for one of the first grass track country cups of the summer and brings together some serious Cup week players, none more so than Alta Maestro and Forgotten Highway.  Alta Maestro was brilliant winning in the intermediate grade last Friday but Forgotten Highway was a luckless eighth in the New Zealand Cup and his earlier form suggest he is a real open class force, particularly away from the absolute elite so he is the horse to beat. Michael Guerin

New Zealand's Sheree Tomlinson has enjoyed a near-perfect opening day in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship.  The South Island representative snared the opening two heats of the series and a further placing to put herself atop the leaderboard.  Tomlinson guided the Grant Dixon-trained favourite One Off ($1.75) to a 2.1m win in the opener, before backing up to score behind Goalkicker ($4.80) for Graham Dwyer.  She later placed with Beef City Blaze ($11) for Peter Greig.  Fellow New Zealander Alicia Harrison won the third leg for Bianca Hooper with The Gun Rockstar ($12), with Chis Geary getting a win on the board for NSW in the fourth heat behind Peter Greig's Werelivingthedream.  Experience and drawing the right horse counts for plenty in the AYDC and Tomlinson had her fair serve of both heading into today's opener.  "It did help driving here last year and getting to know Redcliffe and Albion Park," she said.  "Redcliffe's an interesting track. The dummy straight before turning for home can catch you out and forces you to be positive in the run." Tomlinson said while the wins certainly help put runs on the board, it was the placings in the face of perceived adversity which will count most at the pointy end of competition.  "It was a great start to get two winners and then the placing later on. You don't need to win every race but you do need to try and earn points," she said.  "I'll go home now, do the form and see if we can do the same over the next few days. "I'd really like to thank the trainers and owners for putting horses in this competition. If it wasn't for them it wouldn't be happening. None of us drivers missed out on drives right throughout the day."  The Young Drivers will be back at Redcliffe tomorrow afternoon following a visit to a Youngcare facility, as part of the series' partnership with the charity that supports young people with high care needs.  "It was an eye opener listening to (Belinda Mackintosh, Youngcare) speak at the launch this morning. I'm fortunate to have nobody in my family going throguh what some others have to deal with," Tomlinson said.  "I think it's a fitting charity for this series to get behind."    Alex Nolan

Border rivalry will be to the fore when the What The Hill Drivers Challenge takes place at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Friday (23 November). The challenge repeats last year’s successful format where a team of six from North of the Waitaki took on a team from South of the Waitaki. The North of the Waitaki team took the team honours on that occasion spearheaded by a former Southlander now domiciled in Canterbury, Gavin Smith, who took the Individual honours. However both teams were tied on points going into the final heat so it was a close run thing. As the defending champion Smith returns as part of the north team this year joined by Ricky May, Blair Orange, Samantha Ottley, Tim Williams and Jim Curtin. Attempting to wrest the silverware back onto this side of the Waitaki is the South of the Waitaki team led by the Williamson brothers – Nathan, Matthew and Brad along with Brent Barclay, Craig Ferguson and Allan Beck. The invited drivers compete in four heats with points allocated to the first five home on each occasion with 10 points for a win, 7 for second, 5 for third, 3 for fourth and 1 for fifth. Each driver receives the points they accumulate towards finding an individual champion while their points also go into their teams score to find the champion team. The event is a twilight meeting with the first race timed to start at 3.38pm. It is a perfect night to come out and enjoy some top class racing. Admission to the course will be free. One punter will take home a meal voucher from Level One Restaurant & Bar in Invercargill when a draw of all losing on course tote tickets is made after Race 6 while also after race 6 all children on course receive a free bag of lollies.   HRNZ Marketing

Alexandra Park - Friday 23 November Christmas At The Races popular as ever Alexandra Park’s eight Christmas At The Races hospitality evenings set down for November and December are selling fast but there’s still time. “Our three November evenings are probably where we’ve got the best availability. However individuals, businesses and organisations need to book now to avoid disappointment,” says Roxanne Visser, Sales & Events Coordinator at Alexandra Park. The 2018 Christmas At The Races evenings will take place on Fridays 16, 23 and 30 November and 7, 14, and 21 December as well as Saturday 8 and 15 December. The incredibly popular nights are promoted as the perfect work Christmas party with a gourmet buffet, stunning décor, and great entertainment including a visit from Santa himself!. Holly packages remain available from $70 per person, as do the delightful Mistletoe packages at $115 with the option of track-view dining outside on the Epsom Balconies. Also, still available are the premium Pohutukawa packages in the Tasman Room from $140 which include a premium drinks package. However, Pohutukawa packages in Alexandra Park’s level five Top of the Park venue, priced from $165, are now limited but with some availability still on 16 November and 21 December. Ms Visser says regardless of the hospitality package, everyone gets to enjoy a sumptuous all-you-can-eat Christmas-style buffet. She says Alexandra Park’s exclusive President’s Suite can also be hired for private parties, with availability remaining on both 16 and 30 November as well as 21 December. Alexandra Park is renowned for delivering delicious dining packages and exciting harness racing under lights. Then after the last race, everyone gets together at The Alex Bar & Eatery to enjoy live entertainment. For further information on Christmas At The Races or to reserve your table please call (09) 631-1165, email dining@alexandrapark.co.nz or visit www.alexandrapark.co.nz. ATC 2019 Syndicate: Over the last two decades, the Auckland Trotting Club has formed 17 syndicates, each comprising either 40 or 50 shares and racing between 2 and 4 horses. To date, all 17 syndicates have proved, or are proving, very successful: At this year’s Australasian Classic Yearling Sale or the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale, the Auckland Trotting Club 2019 Syndicate’s yearlings were selected by the top trainers Robert Dunn, Brent Mangos and Logan Hollis / Shane Robertson: Name: Alta Redeemer Trainer: Robert Dunn Name: Christianshavtime Trainer: Logan Hollis / Shane Robertson Name: Bet West Trainer: Brent Mangos When you join an ATC Syndicate, not only do you get to enjoy the thrill of owning and racing harness racehorses, but you can also be very involved in Harness Racing generally, initially at Alexandra Park and the wider Auckland/Waikato area and then quite possibly venturing further afield in New Zealand and Australia, as some previous ATC Syndicates have. There are many advantages involved with being part of one of the Auckland Trotting Club Syndicates. These include; the comparatively low costs, the opportunity to share in the ownership of well bred horses trained by some of the best trainers in New Zealand, making new friendships with like-minded people, having total involvement in the Harness Racing industry and having the opportunity to participate in social events and possibly travel throughout the year. Every month, syndicate members receive a detailed newsletter documenting each horse’s progress, member news, and other information. Regular updates are placed on a phone-in message service, which can be accessed at anytime from anywhere in New Zealand free of charge. We have already had syndicate members from a wide geographical location around New Zealand, from Kaeo and Kaitaia in the North, to Dunedin and Invercargill in the South, as well as from the USA, Canada, England, Japan, Australia (Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia) and even Iceland. Each year of establishing a new Syndicate, the Auckland Trotting Club has implemented their hugely successful formula of buying three richly bred yearlings at the Yearling Sales, with these horses being selected by and trained by some of New Zealand’s leading trainers. For further information please contact or go to www.alexandrapark.co.nz/racing/syndicates: Andrew Jamieson – ATC Syndication Manager Mob: + 64 21 253 8765 Email:  ajamieson175@gmail.com If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us via email on dining@alexandrapark.co.nz or give us a call on 09 631 1165   Invercargill HRC - Friday 23 November TOP DRIVERS SET FOR BORDER CLASH AT ASCOT PARK RACEWAY    Border rivalry will be to the fore when the What The Hill Drivers Challenge takes place at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Friday (23 November). The challenge repeats last year’s successful format where a team of six from North of the Waitaki took on a team from South of the Waitaki. The North of the Waitaki team took the team honours on that occasion spearheaded by a former Southlander now domiciled in Canterbury, Gavin Smith, who took the Individual honours. However both teams were tied on points going into the final heat so it was a close run thing. As the defending champion Smith returns as part of the north team this year joined by Ricky May, Blair Orange, Samantha Ottley, Tim Williams and Jim Curtin. Attempting to wrest the silverware back onto this side of the Waitaki is the South of the Waitaki team led by the Williamson brothers – Nathan, Matthew and Brad along with Brent Barclay, Craig Ferguson and Allan Beck. The invited drivers compete in four heats with points allocated to the first five home on each occasion with 10 points for a win, 7 for second, 5 for third, 3 for fourth and 1 for fifth. Each driver receives the points they accumulate towards finding an individual champion while their points also go into their teams score to find the champion team. The event is a twilight meeting with the first race timed to start at 3.38pm. It is a perfect night to come out and enjoy some top class racing. Admission to the course will be free. One punter will take home a meal voucher from Level One Restaurant & Bar in Invercargill when a draw of all losing on course tote tickets is made after Race 6 while also after race 6 all children on course receive a free bag of lollies.   Geraldine TC - Saturday 24 November. Entry to this race day is free for owners, owners have been sent an email with details about the free entry and race book available for owners. The club will also be hosting owners hospitality before each race. For full information on the day please visit the Race Day office.   Banks Peninsula TC - Sunday 25 November At Motukukara Racecourse.    Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club Inc Update Fantastic news Harness racing enthusiasts and participants. The Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club can confirm that our 2019 Racing License has been recently granted by the NZ Racing Board for Friday 1st February and Sunday 3rd February to be held on the MAIN OUTSIDE TRACK of the Otaki Maori Race Course, Otaki. This is North Island GRASS TRACK harness racing at its very best. A successful galloping race meeting was held last Thursday on the Otaki Maori Race course and the track came through with ‘flying colours’ , after extensive drainage work and grass reseeding of the surface. By February 2019 we expect the grass track to offer a near “perfect” racing surface for all HARNESS participants.   The Club anticipates that stakes will be on a par with our 2018 meeting, being $9,000 per race , with the Wellington Trotting Cup run on the Friday with a stake of $12,000 and the Otaki Cup run on the Sunday for $12,000.[ These stakes were the highest of any North Island Grass track harness meeting in 2018]. There will be 10 races programmed each day.   The usual Kapiti hospitality will be on offer for all industry participants and owners. We welcome you all with open arms on the Kapiti Coast at Otaki Racecourse in early February 2019. Chris Craddock Vice President Kapiti Coast Harness Racing Club Inc. 027 410 2420         Southern Harness News  A TON OF FEED TO BE WON Thanks to McMillan Equine Feeds, there is a ton of feed to be won during the 2018/2019 Southern Harness Racing season. At every Sunday race meeting during the season the trainer of every race winner will win a free bag of McMillan Equine Feeds. At the conclusion of the Wyndham Harness Racing Club meeting on Sunday 18 November all trainers who have won a race on a Sunday up until that time will get one entry into a draw for 20 bags of McMillan Equine Feeds. The competition then starts afresh with the trainer of each Sunday race winner for the remainder of the season getting one entry into a new draw for 20 bags of McMillan Equine Feeds to be held after the Invercargill Harness Racing Club meeting on Sunday 3 March. That is one ton of McMillan Equine Feeds up for grabs! Southern Harness Racing thanks McMillan Equine Feeds for their generous support. QUALIFYING DATES: Sunday 16 December Winton HRC - Winton Sunday 6 January Wyndham HRC - Cromwell Sunday 3 February Wyndham HRC - Wyndham Sunday 17 February Winton HRC - Winton Sunday 3 March Invercargill HRC - Invercargill    HRNZ Marketing

Some of the world’s best young harness racing drivers have arrived in Queensland ahead of the 2018 Garrard’s Australasian Young Driver’s Championship to be staged in Brisbane between Thursday and Saturday. Racing Queensland Harness Strategy and Development Manager David Brick said if last year’s series was anything to go by, the 2018 edition would provide plenty of thrills.  “The drivers from across Australia and New Zealand are not only recognised as the best young talents in harness racing, but as some of the most well-known names in the sport,” he said. “The 10 drivers have amassed a combined 2359 winners and more than $15 million in stakes, despite all being aged under-25.” The series returns to Queensland for a second-straight year where defending champion and Queenslander Narissa McMullen will join cousin and leading Queensland driver Nathan Dawson to try and keep the trophy in the Sunshine State. The points-based series will be determined over nine heats (four at Redcliffe on Thursday, two at Redcliffe on Friday and the final three heats at Albion Park on Saturday) with the leading point-scorer earning themselves glory for their state or country and, a new Rio Mark 2 sulky thanks to major sponsors Garrard’s – long-time supporters of harness racing in Queensland. Mr Brick said the young drivers had again agreed to throw their support behind a charity through the donation of their driver’s fees and raising funds throughout the series. “This year the young drivers will be racing in support of Youngcare,” he said. “The drivers will visit a Youngcare facility to meet some of the residents during their stay in Brisbane and have set a fundraising goal of at least $4000 to help provide appropriate housing for young people with high care needs.” The drivers will be welcomed to Queensland at an opening function at the famous Breakfast Creek Hotel – just steps away from the Albion Park club – on Thursday morning. To follow the series head to www.racingqueensland.com.au or follow Racing Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@racing_qld) or the event Twitter handle @AustralasianYDC               Driver State Drives Wins Places Stakes ($) Narissa McMullen QLD 6139 669 1345 $3,658,885 Deni Roberts   WA 1221 83 243 $697,257 Chris Geary   NSW 3711 501 914 $4,369,376 Nathan Dawson QLD 4688 549 1045 $2,549,854 Jack laugher   TAS 901 74 185 $555,994 Darby McGuigan VIC 1298 135 333 $929,157 Jayden Brewin   SA 1246 154 314 $664,869 Benjamin Butcher NZ (Nth Island) 1374 103 260 $988,218 Sheree Tomlinson NZ (Sth Island) 976 75 145 $840,111 Alicia Harrison   NZ (Nth Island) 128 16 22 $142,387   Racing Queensland

Harness Racing New Zealand and Flair are proud to announce the Contribution to theTeal Pants Campaign Award. The award proudly sponsored by Flair will be awarded to the NZ female driver who's contribution to the 2019 Teal Pants Campaign is above and beyond. The award will recognise hard work contributing to the campaign and going the extra mile to publicize and support the cause.  The Teal Pants Campaign will run from February 1st to March 10th 2019 and nominations will be taken throughout this period. Nominations for this award can be sent to courtney@hrnz.co.nz or 0276364355 with the drivers name and why they deserve the award. Nominations will go forward to the Flair Committee and the winner will be announced via the HRNZ Website & Social Media Channels by 22nd March. The winner of this award will also receive a trophy courtesy of Flair.    Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc  

It was a month behind schedule but yesterday Ana Malak made his Western Australian debut, and was an impressive winner at Pinjarra Harness Racing Club. “He did what I was hoping he would,” said co-trainer Greg Bond following the win. “His work at home had been good so we expected a good run today, we had a slight setback with him otherwise he would have been racing a month ago so today was a bit of a fact-finding mission.” The 4yo Bettors Delight import was nursed out of the gate by driver Ryan Warwick who was able to find cover and race in the one-out-one-back position for a majority of the event. The $1.04 favourite made his move at the 750 metre mark and showed brilliant speed to level up with, and pass the leaders before the final quarter. Racing home in 56.8 seconds, covering the final 400 metres in 28.2, Ana Malak rated 1:56.0 for the 2185 metre mobile, winning by 37.1 metres. WATCH RACE REPLAY HERE  “He seems to be the sort of horse that you really have to ask him to perform, but as you saw today, when you ask him to do it, he does," said Bond. “He ticked all the boxes today, now onto the classics.” Ana Malak is nominated for the Golden Nugget Prelude this Friday night, with Bond aiming at gaining a start in the Gr.1 4yo Classic on November 30 at Gloucester Park. It was another successful meeting for the Bond camp; with Starlight Brigade ($1.30), and Bettor Aim ($1.04) both scoring effortless victories on the card.   Scott Hamilton

It was a days for the Pats at Wyndham on Sunday with up and coming trotter Super Fast Pat winning his second race on the trot and Gore owner Pat Kubala winning a maiden race with Art Major gelding Prince Art. On the trotting front the question on most punters minds was whether Super Fast pat could take the next step up after impressively winning his last start by thirty and a half lengths. It took just over three minutes for us to find out, and it was an emphatic yes! “He’s got a lot of speed but he just hung badly today. I wanted to get round them and be handy but I just couldn’t quite cross to the one off at the 500. He was still doing it easy enough within himself at the finish but he had a few rough strides today,” said driver Brent Barclay. The Superfast Stuart four year old has always shown potential and Barclay admits that he does get anxious when driving the talented trotter.     “For sure. You just can’t let his head go (yet) but you know the motors there. He’s just got to get his rhythm. Once he gets that in another twelve months he’ll be a nice horse. He’s starting to learn all about the grit. I was real happy with him today.” After impressing at workouts early on, trainer Lauren Pearson and partner Barclay have found the key to Super Fast Pat. “We just do a lot of strong work with him. We follows the pacemaker a lot (and it) throws a lot of grit back. That’s the main thing with him. When the grit comes back he throws his head around and it throws him off balance. Once he’s got his rhythm and he’s going, he’s not too bad. He’s always had the ability.” Barclay says he’s a totally different horse at the race track compared to being at home.    “At home he pulls and is real fierce but when you bring him out on race day he’s the friendliest horse. He’s getting there but he still needs miles.” Barclay says the horse’s next target is the $20,000 Super Gold Chips Final at Winton on 13th April. “We’ll have to school him up for that but at this stage we’ll stick to the big tracks.” His standing start manners have also improved. “He was perfect today. You still just have to nurse him really.”   Meanwhile Pat’s Delight’s brother Prince Art created a good impression when he won on debut at Wyndham on Sunday. “He gave me the impression he was going to get there but it took the length of the straight. It was a good effort to pick himself up and make up the ground. There are some promising signs there,” said driver Tim Williams. Bruce Stewart

Well bred Delson surprisingly paid $8.00 when he won easily at Wyndham on Sunday. Trained by Nathan Williamson he boasted a good workout and trial grounding and he certainly has pedigree on his side. From a second row draw Williamson had little option but to settle Delson back on the inside. With 1600 metres to run he was able to move the gelding off the running line. At the 1000 metres he was still at least twelve lengths off the leader Star Dude but started to make up ground. In the home straight trotting out in the centre of the track Delson went to the lead with 200 metres to run, travelling so easy he had time to prick up his ears. It was a performance that might remind us of the easy wins Dark Horse recorded when she was trotting through the grades. “He wasn’t trotting real smoothly for the first lap of the race,” said Williamson. “Once I got him out and moving he was a lot better. He evened up and went nice.” Prior to Sunday’s debut Delson had been to five workouts and a qualifying trial so he was well schooled for his debut. “He’s been a work in progress. I’ve just been concentrating on his manners but he’s got a lot of ability.” He was bred by and is owned by Ian Hunter who’s on the committee of the Wyndham Trotting Club. “We’re just going to take our time with him. It’ll be three or four weeks before he starts again. Nathan says he takes a bit of teaching but he’s got a motor. We’ll keep him to the big tracks for now,” he said. Williamson was quick to confirm the horse’s potential. “I’ve never really opened him up yet but he feels like a nice horse and he’s very willing.” Delson is a full brother to Delestic and a half to Splash Cola. Both started their careers with Williamson, and Splash Cola is now trained at Woodend Beach by Regan Todd. “She’s seems to be thriving up there. Her feet are good. She got gifted a fourth on Show Day (promoted). We were quite happy with that run,” said Hunter. Delson is out of Delcola. Hunter bought Aran Del the dam of Delcola in foal to Chiola Cola in 2000. “We got a bonus off her. The first five two and three year old winners by Chiola Cola got a bonus of five thousand dollars. There weren’t many two year old winners but we just squeezed in and got the three year old bonus.” Delcola’s last three foals have been via embryo transplant. “The last foal we bred was by Andover Hall which she carried herself. She had a big rupture and we weren’t too sure if we were going to get a foal or not. She foaled okay and we got a colt (Andy Hall). He’s a three year old and is in work now. He’d be sixteen plus hands and I doubt whether he will race as a three year old. Nathan likes him, he could be the best one.” The other ET foals are by Pegasus Spur and Creatine. “I’ve sent her back to Andover Hall. There’s a bit of a risk in that because they don’t like frozen semen when they’re doing embryo transplants.” Hunter is also breeding from another branch of the family; Aron Del’s half-sister Delivion (Oblivion II) which was bought by Hunter in the early 1990s.                                                                                                  Her Son Of Afella foal Delamaid is still being bred from by Hunter with her best foal to date being Gotta Del - the winner of four races.      Bruce Stewart

New Zealand’s Inter Dominion assault could swell to six after a couple of surprise additions. The annual trans tasman harness racing series returns to Victoria on Saturday week and has the added bonus of the return of the trotting series, which was last held in 2012. Both series will consist of three rounds of heats spread across Victoria and 2760m mobile finals at Melton on December 15 but the series, like last week’s New Zealand Cup, has been hit by the extraordinary number of injuries, retirements and overseas sales in the open class ranks this year. But while a brutal Cup week in Christchurch last week suggested New Zealand could have only two or three reps in the Inters, that number could double. Yesterday was the day many trainers sat down, dusted themselves off and planned the rest of the summer and one of the big winners has been the Auckland and Cambridge summer carnivals, with some of the industry’s glamour names staying home. That will include Thefixer, Dream About Me, Jack’s Legend, Turn It Up, Chase Auckland, Eamon Maguire and Elle Mac in the pacing ranks while Temporale, Lemond and Woodstone will also be coming north rather than heading to Melbourne.  Ultimate Machete, who missed Cup week with a hoof problem, has been on the water walker for the last week and co-trainer Mark Purdon will check on his progress before confirming an Auckland Cup campaign. That leaves the All Stars with Cruz Bromac as their confirmed Inter Dominon pacing hope with the option that Spankem could join him.  “We are still finalising a few different things and will firm everything up later in the week,” said Purdon.  While speedster Star Galleria is out of the Inters and will need a minor surgery, one surprise addition to the Kiwi pacing team could be Pat’s Delight. The Jewels winner has been both luckless and impressive over the last month and trainer Cran Dalgety is leaning toward going to Melbourne as the Inter Dominion final  could be no stronger than the Auckland Cup. “I am talking to the owner about it and he gets the final call but I am keen to go,” says Dalgety. In the trotting series Speeding Spur was always likely to go and after jogging out soundly for trainers John and Josh Dickie on Monday morning he will be in the series barring anything unforseen happening this week And he could be joined by two slightly unexpected fellow Kiwis in Alderbeck and Monty Python. Their trainer Phil Williamson says the Inter trip is on with the pair, who both had no luck in the Dominion last Friday. “I think they are both good enough to go to the series, make the final and get some money in it so we are keen,” says the champion trainer of trotters. But with driving sons Nathan, Brad and Matthew so busy at home, Williamson could be on the lookout for an Australian driver for the pair. Speeding Spur is rated the most likely New Zealand winner of one of an Inter final at $3.80 in most markets, while Tiger Tara heads many Inter Dominion pacing markets although Cruz Bromac could continue to shorten after his NZ Free-For-All win last Friday and once his participation in the series becomes more certain. Other plans for some of the big names from Cup week see three-year-old star Ultimate Sniper coming north for the Sales Series Pace at Alexandra Park on December 31 buy intermediate grade speed machine Alta Maestro will stick to a South Island standing start race programme for now to continue to educate him.   Michael Guerin

There were plenty of surprises related to Robyns Playboy’s win at Wyndham today. With a winning margin of an impressive nine and a half lengths, and a time of 2-53.0 - a new track and Southland record for both three year olds and all-comers, Robyn’s Playboy was the standout performer of the day. “We were hoping for cover and to drive him for just one run. He hadn’t had a workout and had a fair spell,” said Gore trainer Ross Wilson after the win. Driver Craig Ferguson sat the Shadow Play gelding parked for the first 800 metres before he took the lead. With 400 metres to run he had his eight other rivals struggling. On straightening Ferguson pulled the ear plugs and Robyns Playboy instantly extended his lead, going down to the finish line nine and a half lengths ahead of I’m Trouble. “He’s just got a great cruising speed and doesn’t stop. He’s got a real big motor in him we know that. It was very pleasing.” The time 2-53.0 bettered Return To Senders 2014 Three Year Old and All-comers track record of 2-55.1, broke the long standing 2007 Three Year Old Southland record held by Rider On The Storm (2-54.5) and equalled Nex Time’s Southland’s All-comers record of 2-53.0. The time was only 0.5 of a second outside of the National Three Year Old record of 2-52.5 held by The Dorchester. This season Wilson has seen Robyns Playboy become the real deal and live up to the high opinion he had of the horse when he started his career last season. “Initially he could run but didn’t know what to do. You’d pull him out and he’d just muck around beside the other horse. He’s cottoned on now. When you pull him out he’s got to get going. He’s been working with Bridey (Bridesdale Robyn) the last couple of weeks and she went well at Addington. There’s not much between them. He’s the all-round horse. He’s got gate speed and he can stay.” So now the main worry for Wilson is where to place the quality three year old. “I don’t know what to do with him now because if you start again you’re racing horses that are near cup class.” One race for three year olds that Wilson is considering is at Gore on 27th December. It’s worth fifteen thousand dollar and is sponsored by Cadrona Distillery. The Gore Club hopes to make this race an annual feature. “I won’t go north with him, I’ll just muck around with him down here. We’ve had a few inquiries for him but he’s not for sale. He gets you out of bed in the mornings.” So impressed with Robyn’s Playboy is he, that Wilson plans to send his dam Robyn Maree back to Shadow Play.   Bruce Stewart

Long hours of work, long hours of planning and organisation and long hours out on the training and racing tracks paid off big time for Mark and Natalie this week-but after a short celebration and relaxation it will soon be all systems go for the next big assignments -the Auckland Cup carnival and Inter Dominions. That is the key to their success-moving forward to the next target. Natalie had an unforgettable meeting training and driving the winners of three of the Group Ones at the meeting, the only ones in which they had a runner. “Well its been wonderful. You plan for that but its got to happen. We are lucky we have the horses and the staff to be able to do these things “ Natalie’s biggest moment was the NZ Cup with her special favourite Thefixer and while she keeps working he will have some R and R “We’ve sent him to the water walker for a couple of weeks. He had that foot problem through the spring and we don’t want to risk any aggravation of that so he can have an easy time” Natalie said. “It was a marvellous Cup run really. He got a nice trip but he hadn’t had the seasoning of most of the others but he was just as determined as I was !’ It is doubtful if any Cup winner, and especially in modern times, has won a NZ Cup at his 16th start. Even the great Lazarus had 21 starts before his first Cup. In fact, in a number of respects, Thefixer is a “throwback” to the old time Cup winners often sparingly raced because of lack of opportunity. Once Natalie took the drive on Cruz Bromac it was ominous news for his rivals “He has high speed and I will be looking to lead” Natalie said pre-race. She made no secret to any likely challenger like Todd McCarthy that she was going to stay there and when Tiger Tara faded at the 300m she went for broke and it was the winning of the race. “A lot of our horses were to be standing up to be counted this week and they nearly all did it” The balance Natalie has in her thinking that eases the pressure in big races is typified by the fact she left the course late in the afternoon to go shopping for groceries ! Returning to win the Free for All. Mark came to the fore again on Friday with three wins of the four. TURN IT UP and KINGS LANDING were probably the most interesting in the longer term and both produced positive results. Kings Landing and Winterfell were often compared as younger horses. Originally Kings Landing was rated tops but gradually Winterfell overhauled him and went clear in the comparison stakes. Not so much now. “The gap is narrowing” Mark said. “He’s really pleased me this week. He is stepping up each time and you love to see that in a trotter especially. So there is not a lot between them now” Turn it Up is a talent of almost frightening potential and the Free for All confirmed that. “You couldn’t fault him on that after so few starts. The nomination for the Inter Dominion was really only a wild card but he has shown he can compete at the best level and we will be bearing that in mind “ Mark and Natalie will be following their traditional plan of taking it easy in the next week and and finalising plans for the “A” team. It is never easy but this year it looks an overwhelming task.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Harness racing driver Natalie Rasmussen capped off an amazing week by reining Cruz Bromac to an easy front running victory in yesterdays $184,000 Woodlands New Zealand Pacing Free For All at Addington Raceway.  After an unlucky run in Tuesday's New Zealand Trotting Cup, Cruz Bromac relished the shorter 1980m distance of yesterday's race and the son of Falcon Seelster blasted to the lead shortly after the mobile barrier arms folded. From there the race turned into a procession. With main rival and TAB favourite Tiger Tara caught three wide early and then parked, Cruz Bromac never really eased the pace and won easing down in a super quick 2-18.5 for the 1980m mobile. That equated to a mile rate of 1-52.5 with the last 800m cut out in 55.6 and the closing 400m run in 27.0 seconds. Stable mate of the winner Turn It Up ran on from three deep on the fence to grab second off the trailing Jack's Legend who battled on well for third. Tiger Tara wilted to last after finding his early efforts out wide too big a hurdle to overcome. Natalie Rasmussen really burned early on Cruz Bromac and thought he might be found wanting at the finish, "I really maxed him out to get across and sometimes they are found wanting when you do that, but he really tried hard down the straight.He was getting tired but he really gave it his all. "Since he joined us he has really impressed us, each run he has been really solid and good. "Mark and I will sit down next week and work out where we go, but I would say more than likely Inter Dominions first and then go from there," she said. The win by Cruz Bromac gave Natalie her third Group one success for the week after also winning the NZ Cup with Thefixer and the Sires Stakes Final with Ultimate Sniper on Tuesday.   Harnesslink Media

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