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Bruce Negus says he had an understanding with Mike Stratford: “He didn’t tell me how to train, and I didn’t tell him how to build.” The pair had known each for 35 years, with the Canterbury-based trainer saddened to hear of his friend’s death this week. “He was a character,” said Negus, ”He enjoyed it when we pointed out his failures.” “His legacy will be that he was the world’s best loser – and what I mean by that was that when he did lose he was incredibly gracious about it.” “He always looked for the good in a bad result.” He had been an administrator, owner, and driver and a prolific breeder. “He would have bred and owned 200 horses over the years,” said Negus, “ He’d load up 10-15 mares onto the truck and take them to stud every year.” In 2006 his Classiebawn stud, that his late father Bernie set up, sold Cloncullen (Christian Cullen – Abbeyshrule) for $125,000 at the sales. The best horse he ever bred was open class pacer Locharburn (Christian Cullen – Suzys Delight), who went on to win 14 from 39 starts and $418,584 for trainer Kevin Chapman. As a trainer his record was two wins in 120 starts – Supreme Estella at Roxburgh in 2014 and Classie Regal in 2017 while as an amateur driver he had four wins in 142 starts dating back to 2009. Stratford was prominent in business as well as harness racing. His company Michael Stratford Builders had been involved in many developments, including a recent $3m complex in Riccarton. “He had a real eye for detail … he could be hard nosed but in business sometimes you have to be. “ His last drive was at Addington as recently as last Sunday. Michael Joseph Stratford was 67.

By Jonny Turner    Match fitness is the only concern trainer Phil Williamson has ahead of his star trotter Ultimate Stride returning to racing at Ascot Park on Saturday. The three-year-old will start for the first time since he trounced Australia’s best two-year-olds at last year’s group 1 Breeder’s Crown Finals in August. Ultimate Stride has spent much of his time since that win recovering from a broken pedal bone. The blueblood son of Love You and champion mare, One Over Kenny, has put the injury behind him and prepared for his return in race 8 on Saturday with two trials at Oamaru. Though finishing third behind Rydgemont Son and unplaced behind Humble Ladd may not look like sparkling form on paper, Williamson has been pleased with his chestnut’s lead up effort. “He is very well and even though he has been beaten in both of his trials I have been very pleased with him.” Ultimate Stride is clearly the horse to beat in Saturday’s 2200m mobile event given many of his opponent’s form pales in comparison to his Group 1 accomplishments. But, Williamson has been training long enough to know that racing is not quite that simple. Especially when his son, Nathan, has the talented Chinese Whisper in Saturday’s race. “I would like to think he could go out there and round them up, but it is not quite that easy.” “Race fitness would be my biggest concern.” “And there are some nice horses in there, Nathan’s one is a very nice horse in his own right.” Drawing barrier 8 under the race’s preferential barrier conditions adds to Ultimate Stride’s challenge. How keen the trotter feels for driver Matthew Williamson in his first start back under the pressure of race day could decide their early tactics. “I probably wouldn’t like to see him rushing out early, but it could depend on how keen he feels behind the gate.” “But, he will be getting around them at some stage.” Chinese Whisper has had two post-lockdown workouts to prepare for his return on Saturday. The four-year-old has not started since his third placing at Ascot Park in February. Jimmy Carter gives Williamson a strong hand in race 8. The five-year-old bounced back to winning form, after being pulled up in his two prior starts, when winning at Ascot Park last weekend. “He definitely wouldn’t be the worst chance, I could see him running in the first four,” Williamson said. Davey Mac and Horse Of Course also race under 2200m mobile conditions for the Williamson stable in race 5. Davey Mac will need to bring his manners after galloping out of contention behind Jimmy Carter last week. Horse Of Course was worked home stylishly to run third in the same event. “Horse Of Course would be a good eachway chance, I think all of our team are good chances on Saturday.’’ “And if Davey Mac brings his manners he will be in it.” Williamson starts Miss Crazed and Day Dreamin in race 1, another 2200m mobile event. Miss Crazed produced a huge finish for second after galloping early in her last start behind Arc De Triomphe. “She is going to be hard to beat if she trots the whole way.” Day Dreamin broke in her only start at Addington last month, but has since show improved manners in two trials. “I was happy with her trial at Ashburton on Wednesday, she should go a good race.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Summer Lovin was brilliant, but far from perfect on a night of emphatic performances at Addington on Friday night. The Greg and Nina Hope trained two-year-old was on the way to one of the most impressive debut wins of the season before causing a stir by galloping in his final stride in race 1. Summer Lovin put in such a powerful performance he was in no danger of losing the race on protest as his rivals were 10 lengths behind him in a contest of his own. Summer Lovin’s victory, with Ben Hope in the sulky, confirmed two things. Firstly, he still has plenty to learn about racing. And secondly, that he has a seriously big motor. “He switches on and switches off and was goofing around up the straight and that was why he galloped,” Greg Hope said. “Ben had not even moved on him, but he doesn’t wear an overcheck and he got his head around a little bit.” “We might have to put one on him now.” Matua Tana produced the second impressive, but imperfect win for the Hope stable when overcoming an early gallop to outmuscle his rivals in race 9 with driver Gerard O’Reilly. “Summer Lovin was a bit like Matua Tana, he just lost concentration,” Hope said. “Gerard said it was a loss of concentration more than anything else that cause Matua Tana to gallop.” Matua Tana has put himself on a one way path towards the Dominion during the New Zealand Cup carnival with a hat-trick of post-lockdown wins. It’s hoped that kind of race will bring the best out in the big striding trotter. “I think when the pace is on in the better races it will suit him,” Hope said. “He won’t have the chance to knock off and muck around.” Matua Tana has looked like a brutish stayer in his three emphatic recent wins. But he is far from a grinding type, as his 27.6sec last 400m on Friday night would suggest. “I don’t think people realise how fast he is – he has got the speed of a pacer,” Hope said. “He could run a 26sec quarter [400m] with the pacers.” While it is clear which big races Matua Tana will have in his sights, it is not the case for Summer Lovin. The two-year-old is not eligible for the rescheduled Sires Stakes and NZB Standardbred Harness Million. That means it is also unclear when Summer Lovin will be able to test his mettle against the best 2yr-olds that have stepped out during the country’s interrupted juvenile racing season. “He is a nice horse, but Franco Jorik and Eurokash are too.” “I wouldn’t like to choose between them at this stage, they are lovely horses.” The Hopes will try to make the most of the two-year-old races that have been scheduled at Addington in the coming weeks with Summer Lovin. Midnight Dash is eligible for both the three-year-old Sires Stakes and Yearling Sales Series races in November. He showed he was firmly on track for those Alexandra Park events in October by filling a Hope stable quinella behind Matua Tana in Friday night’s feature 2600m handicap. Nandolo produced an win at least as emphatic as Summer Lovin and Matua Tana’s victories when losing valuable ground at the start on Friday night’s feature pace. Driver Jonny Cox showed lightning quick reactions behind the John Howe trained pacer to avoid Blair Orange, who was on the track after being tipped from the cart of Fabrizio, who locked wheels with Enchantee. Nandolo recovered before going on to a powerful win race 7 in a close finish with Tango Tara. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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 Invercargill again today with a ten race program starting at 12:35pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a super 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 Invercargill.   Race 1 Franco June drawn well again and field arguably weaker than his last race when he ran second. Top selection…..Opawa Mach Canterbury visitor and top driver booked, needed….Jabali running good races and a place hope even from the wide draw….Tetrick should get a good run from the second row draw and slightly unlucky last start, include in exotics. Selections:  Franco June (1),   Opawa Mach (7),   Jabali (8),    Tetrick (9)   Race 2 Racing Minister running good races in better fields. This looks his race….Hans Ideal late finish for second last start and she usually holds her form. Winning claims…..Hayden Bromac best draw for a few starts and has been ok. Place chances here…….Real Change she has run a few placings so not the worst. Place hope here. Selections:  Racing Minister (10),   Hans Ideal (8),   Hayden Bromac (2),    Real Change (9)   Race 3 Miss Crazed question mark over the manners but looks the winner if she trots all the way….American Viking not too bad at trials and might be the value runner in this field….Top Pocket Chance converted pacer who has run two good races trotting, needed again….Andiamo good draw and mobile will help. Place hopes if she trots all the way. Selections:  Miss Crazed (9),   American Viking (8),   Top Pocket Chance (14),    Andiamo (5)   Race 4 Wecandream good run last start in a strong field. Good winning claims……Wattlebank Lass has been unlucky and wide draw again. Can run in the money with luck in the running…Braeview Kelly showed a nice turn of foot winning a trial and top driver booked. Big watch on the tote….La La Land ok last start and will get a cosy run, place hopes best here. Selections:  Wattlebank Lass (7),  Wecandream (6),   Braeview Kelly (11),    La La Land (9)   Race 5 Davey Mac mobile will help him and change of driver as well, hard to beat……Tweedledee has been fair the last couple and a chance to add value here……Tolkien needs the mobile and might be a good chance if he trots all the way….Sunnivue Phileah has plenty of form on the board and likely to run a place again here. Selections:  Davey Mac (8),   Tweedledee (13),   Tolkien (6),    Sunnivue Phileah (11)   Race 6 Major Sass big finish from well back last start and might land closer to the speed. Good winning claims….Delightful Deal has been disappointing in stronger fields but worth another chance back to the fillies and mares…..Bella Sara the likely leader here and will give a sight at good odds…Ivana Legacy good second last start but does follow good speed. Can place Selections:  Major Sass (10),   Delightful Deal (7),   Bella Sara (6),    Ivana Legacy (4)   Race 7 Archman a bit unlucky last start and getting fitter now good winning chance here…..My Georgie Boy should get a good run on the fence and will be fitter, include…..It’s Me down from Canterbury and has ability not the worst at good value….Jacks N Jazz likely leader who ran a good second last start. Hard to beat if he finds the front early. Selections:  Archman (6),   My Georgie Boy (1),   It’s Me (2),    Jacks N Jazz (7)   Race 8 Deus Ex unlucky last start getting home well late. Great chance to get a win here…..Nota Bene Denario tricky draw but he has a ton of ability, can win if he can clear traffic……Reattore getting better with racing but biggest test to date. Has claims……Pearl Harbour has won her last two and has speed to burn. Winning claims with luck in the running. Selections:  Deus Ex (3),   Nota Bene Denario (9),   Reattore (5),    Pearl Harbour (8)   Race 9 Ultimate Stride coming in fresh but a classy trotter. Should be wining this……Jimmy Carter easy win last start but up in grade. Place chance here……Chinese Whisper has a bit of a reputation but yet to show it. Could trouble the fav on his best game……Afterburner no go after a break last start but mobile might help. Can place. Selections:  Ultimate Stride (8),  Jimmy Carter (10),   Chinese Whisper (4),    Afterburner (1)   Race 10 Lite Percussion has gate speed and could lead here. Chance at good odds…..Call Me Keith he won at bolters odds last start and has a good draw. Not the worst and can place…..Love On The Rocks on the unruly which will make it tough but he has ability. Needs luck but can get some money here…..Stratofortress good third two starts ago but only fair last start. Place hopes here. Selections:  Lite Percussion (5),   Call Me Keith (1),   Love On The Rocks (14),    Stratofortress (11)   Harnesslink Media

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   Jett Star unbeaten two-year-old Jett Star NZ, who is undefeated in four two-year-old starts, is rated one of Western Australia’s top juveniles, particularly after his success in the $100,000 Pearl Classic at Gloucester Park. A well developed youngster, possessing both speed and stamina, Jett Star is an easy going colt and is the first Pearl winner trained by Greg and Skye Bond, who brought out Galactic Star.  Jett Star                                    --Jodie Hallows   Bought for $30,000 and now the winner of $74,568, Jett Star, by the Cam’s Shark Shark horse Bettor’s Delight, is out of Steel The Light, who took a record of 2:00.4 and won seven races. She was a Falcon Seelster mare from Star Empress, a Queensland bred mare by Fake Left from the Mark Lobell mare Light Lobell, the dam of the Qbred Breeders 2YO Classic winner Lightfoot Lady (1:56.9). Star Empress, the grand-dam of Jett Star, won five races at Albion Park and $50,859 in stakes and became the dam of the exported American Empress 1:52.4 ($169,957) and Bad Boy Hughie (1:59.3). Bred by Woodlands Stud, Jett Star ranks as a brother to this year’s Addington three-year-old winner Steel The Show (1:59.2).   Won NSW Golden Mile Cash N Flow gave a further taste of his class when he easily won the Group 3 Woodlands Stud Golden Mile, one of the premier speed tests of the winter racing at Menangle. He was never really extended in running out the mile in 1:50.2, the last 800 in 54.4. By Mach Three, Cash N Flow ranks as a half-brother to the top NZ racemare Katy Perry 1:51.1 ($517,733), being out of Karen Donna, by In The Pocket from the Butler B G mare Megaera 1:56.8 ($250,646), a granddaughter of the noted producer Black Watch. Karen Donna was unraced but she left seven winners. She was a sister to Dale Elinor (TT1:57.7) and a half-sister to the NZ and US winner Penthouse Pete 1:54.2 ($119,538) and to the dam of the Junee Cup winner Rocking 1:53 ($107,879). Cash N Flow, who holds a record of 1:49.6, was bred by Ken and Karen Breckon, of Breckon Farms, Ohaupo.   Callmequeenbee on top Callmequeenbee, winner of the Ladyship Pace at Menangle last Saturday, continues to prove herself in the top bracket among the mares. She holds a mile record of 1:51.5, and is a member of one of NZ’s most successful families, being a five-year-old Shadow Play mare from a handy racemare in Queen Of Courage (1:57.4), a Courage Under Fire mare who has also produced the Sydney winner Lettuce Go Pippa 1:53.4 ($95,314), now at the stud. Queen Of Courage was out of Gerwyn Queen, a good producer by Soky’s Atom from Queenwood, by Smooth Fella from Neatlee, by Dick Adios from the Garrison Hanover mare Kaput, a half-sister to a fine racemare in Ruth Again, who won several country cups in the 1950’s Gerwyn Queen produced the NZ country cups winner King Sands 1:51.2 ($232,135), the NSW winner King Courage (1:58.2), Steam Machine (2:02.6) and the Sands A Flyin mare Glamorous Queen, dam of the Gloucester Park winner I Courage (1:58.3).   Siring feat to Renaissance Man Rather a notable siring feat was credited to the Art Major horse Renaissance Man at Gloucester Park on Friday, when he sired the winners of both $20,000 Westsired 3YO Classics in Longreach Bay and Fifty Five Reborn. Another of his progeny, Missbillynotsilly, finished third in her division. Fifty Five Reborn, a good type of filly, is out of Arma Fifty Five, a Bettor’s Delight mare out of Arma Xceptional (1:57.9), a half-sister to the former top juvenile Arma Xpress 1:56.5 ($279,890), who won seven Group/Listed races as a two-year-old, and to Arma Xcellent, dam of the Ashburton Winter Cup winner Sans Le Sou (1:56). Longreach Bay, who has won three races this season, ranks as a half-brother to the WA Champagne Classic winner Cott Beach 1:54.9 ($275,902), being out of the dual Gloucester Park winner Back In The Black (1:58.1), by Armbro Operative from Black And Blue 1:57.2 ($212,495), an outstanding racemare in the early 2000’s whose 17 successes included the WA Sires Stakes 3YO and 4YO Finals and the Battle of Bunbury. Longreach Bay                                                                     Jodie Hallows photo   By Northern Lights (son of No Nukes), Black And Blue was a half-sister to a cup class pacer in No Blue Manna 1:56.6 ($628,157) and the classic winners Baby Blues 1:56.3 ($115,032) and Sacre Blue (1:57.5). Renaissance Man’s oldest stock are four-year-olds, and they include My Prayer (WA Country Oaks), Ourboybart (1:57.8), the Melton winner Disclosure (1:56.5), Yo Te Amo Haitch (Gloucester Park) and the Listed placegetter Catch Me Cougar. Renaissance Man, who was first at the stud in WA, is now standing at Yirribee Pacing Stud, Wagga (NSW).   Whereyabinboppin in 1:50.6 Whereyabinboppin looks certain to uphold the good record of A Rocknroll Dance’s stock. Bred and part-owned by Troy Saddler, the four-year-old gelding won in 1:50.6 at Menangle recently despite being required to sit parked for the mile. Whereyabinboppin has not raced a great deal. He won his first three starts as a two-year-old, was unbeaten in two attempts at three and has won four of five this season. By the Rocknroll Hanover horse A Rocknroll Dance, and a member of the first crop, Whereyabinboppin is out of the Modern Art mare Whereyawheeliebin, who took a record of 2:00.3 and won five races. She was a half-sister to the prolific Gloucester Park and US winner Jezal Theory 1:52.4 ($226,578), the Albion Park winner Skippy Saddler (1:53.6) and the Menangle victor Boundtobemad (1:55.4). Their dam, Dynasty Bound (2:00.7), was by Fortitude Hanover (grandson of Most Happy Fella) from Devoted To You, by Tarport Bill from Ivy Barb, by Blazing Globe, and tracing to the Huon Junior mare May C. Whereyabinboppin is the best winner from this family in recent years but in an earlier decade it produced a champion juvenile in Three Stooges, who won 17 races including the Bathurst Gold Crown and NSW Breeders Plate.   Grandson of La Coocaracha Cocosfella, who has won four races in quick time at Melton recently, is a five-year-old gelding expected to graduate far beyond his present rating. Cocosfella                                              -Stuart McCormick photo   Bred by Doug Nalder, of Maryborough, he has a good deal more in his favour on the score of blood than most. By Artistic Fella, who sired the top ranking youngsters Mindarie Priddy and Artistic Flite, Cocosfella is out of the Christian Cullen mare Coco Cullen (1:58.9) whose dam was an outstanding trotter in La Coocaracha Tr 1:58.5 ($428,911), a winner at Group 1 level on both sides of the Tasman. By Safely Kept, La Cooraracha became the dam of Dance Craze Tr 1:55.6 ($478,510),a winner of 21 races and rated the best trotting mare in Australia today, the exported La Grange Tr 1:54.2 ($163,350), the Breeders Crown champion Reina Danzante (Tr 1:57.1) and the CR Commando mare La Biscuit (9 wins), who left the Vicbred Platinum Homegrown 2YO Classic winner Royal Treat and the Group 3 winner Nieta (Tr 1:58.1). La Coocaracha ranked as a sister to the Mildura Guineas winner Rivertalk (2:00) and a half-sister to the smart pacer in Blake Castle 1:53.2 ($265,498), being out the unraced Poetry, by Kentucky from the Royal Dollar mare Morley Dollar, a half-sister to the handy racemare in Paula Morley (2:01.8), the ancestress to ‘black type’ performers Bamako Mali (NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO), Redbank Blaze (1:51.2), Sheezallattitude (Aust. Pacing Gold) and Art Series (Bathurst God Bracelet).   Fifth win on end A bright future is being predicted for the Bettor’s Delight four-year-old Enchanted Stride, whose success at Cranbourne last Sunday was her fifth from seven attempts this season.  She is a member of an old time NZ family, which was represented by the winner of this year’s NSW Ladyship Mile Bettor’s Heart (1:49.7) and the NZ Robin Dundee Crown winner Amore Lancome. By Bettor’s Delight, Enchanted Stride is out of the Christian Cullen mare Lenola Stride (1:53.7), a half-sister to this year’s top NZ juvenile Krug (1:56), being out of a fine racemare in Champagne Princess 1:56.9 ($143,484), by Soky’s Atom from Champagne Royal (1:59.7), by Smooth Fella from the Lordship mare Regal Guest (1:58.2), a half-sister to the NZ Derby and Oaks winner Hilarious Guest. This is the family which produced such winners as Be Jack’s Legend  (1:51.8) and Lancome, both winners of the Harness Jewels, Joanne’s A Delight (NZ Sires Stakes 2YO C’ship), Estella Rose, and a host of winners in Australia including Lumos (1:50.9) and In Monaco.   Up and coming youngsters Two of Australia’s star trotters at present, and both recent winners are Im Hector, who won the SA Trotters Derby, and the Victorian trotter Brandlo Prince, who scored by open lengths at Shepparton. Both belong to the same family. Im Hector, who won his second race from only a handful of starts, is a three-year-old gelding by the French champion Quaker Jet, and one of his first crop. He is out of the Melton winner Queen’s Vacation (Tr 2:00.9), by Dream Vacation from a fine racemare in Queen’s Rhapsody (by Gee Whizz 11), a winner of 17 races including the NSW Trotters Oaks and Menangle Cup. Brando Prince, a winner of seven races so far, is by the French sire Orlando Vici from the Sundon mare Bohemian Queen, a half-sister to Queen’s Vacation. Others from Queen’s Rhapsody, a half-sister to the top NZ trotter Let’s Get Serious Tr 1:52.4 ($656,652), were the good Melton winners Mister Oz Tr 1:58.7 ($99,281) and Parisian Opera (Tr 1:57.5) and The Debater, a winner at Pinjarra (WA) last month.   Melton winner from good racemare Bullys Delight, a Bettor’s Delight five-year-old and a recent winner at Melton, is out of Mi Coconut, a capable racemare with a record of 1:56.1 who is proving a successful broodmare. She is also the dam of Kid Coconut 1:55 ($146,951), a winner of 18 races, Blisstar (1:58.8), Ilikemillie (1:57.2) and Queen Of Diamonds (1:57), all Melton winners.  Mi Coconut won 18 races and $192,172 in stakes including the Queen of the Pacific and was one of the best racemares of the Moonee Valley era. She was an Albert Albert mare from the top racemare Milady 1:59.6 ($147,351), by Kotare Knight from Lucky Piece, by Aachen from Marana, by Meadow Vance. Mi Coconut was a half-sister to the Granny Smith winner Milady Meg (2:00.8) and to Mi Mademoiselle (2:00.4), who won five races and left Mi Ju Dan (1:58.1) and the Granny Smith placegetter Mi Makarova. Their dam, Milady, a winner in top company in Victoria and Tasmania, was a half-sister to Family Revenge 2:02.1 (5 wins), who, in turn, left the high class Tasmanian pacer Armbro’s Revenge 1:53.4 ($291,006). Other members of this family, which was founded in NZ by the imported mare Berthabell, were Free Vance (Kilmore Cup), Wouldn’t It Be (Qbred Triad 3YO and 4YO) and a fine trotter in Bonbillie Fella.   Exciting three-year-old trotter Fox Trot Hill is proving herself a three-year-old of some worth in NSW and during June has won twice at Menangle in 1:57.3 and 1:57.5.   She is a filly by the Muscles Yankee horse, Muscle Hill, from Sheza Cop, the best of whose several progeny have been the dual Derby winner Arizona Blue Tr 1:56.9 ($236,465) and the Menangle winner Chalcis Tr 1:59.3 ($92,770). Sheza Cop, who won 12 races, ranks as a sister to the SA Derby winner Ima Cop Too and The Kesytone Cop (26 wins and $89,853), being by Keystone Gondola from Arctic Fox, by North Pole from All Aflame, by Scottish Brigade. Sheza Cop was 23 when she left Fox Trot Hill.   SA Yearling Sale entries Nominations are being invited for the 2021 SA Yearling Sale, to be held at the Magic Millions Complex, Morphettville in March. The sale will be limited to 35 yearlings with catalogued lots being eligible for the 2022 $100,000 Group 1 2YO Classic.  Entry blanks are available from Harness Racing SA. Entries close on July 24. The SA sale graduates Major Reason and The Queen Of Heart both saluted on the same night at Globe Derby Park this week.      by Peter Wharton

Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Callie’s Delight’s star continued to rise at Alexandra Park on Thursday when she accounted for a small but select field in the Welcome Back Fans Of The Park – We Missed You Handicap Pace (2200m). The John and Joshua Dickie-trained mare began well from her 10m mark to take a sit behind Yorkshire, before driver Joshua Dickie elected to press forward and take an early lead. The pair dictated terms throughout and were able to hold out the challenge of her rivals to win by a neck over Yorkshire, with a further head back to On The Cards in third. “Although it was only a four horse field, it was a pretty tidy field with a class horse like On The Cards in there,” Joshua Dickie said. “They are pretty tactical races with those small fields. They can be a bit tricky, but I felt like I had a decent chance in the race, so I tried to drive her accordingly.” The daughter of Bettor’s Delight has been in fine form this preparation, posting two wins and a placing from just the three starts. “She was a bit stiff the week before at Cambridge, she didn’t get much of a go,” Dickie said. “But she has come back really well this prep. She is a lovely mare and super consistent. She is a pleasure to have around.” Dickie said Callie’s Delight has a bright future ahead of her and he believes she is capable of stepping up to Group One company later this year. “Hopefully later in the year we can try and find some mares races for her,” Dickie said. “I think she has shown us that she can be competitive against the nicer mares. “She would need a good trip, but I think she would follow good speed and it would be nice to see her racing in the Queen of Hearts (Gr.1, 2200m) later in the year. That would be a good goal for her.” The Dickie silks were to the fore once again later on the card when stable junior driver Craig Smith reined home Tricky Ric to victory in the ‘Creatine’ At Nevele R Stud Handicap Trot (2200m). The stable looked to have the trifecta all sewn up, however, race favourite Kay Cee broke in the final stages of the race when threatening for the lead. “It probably cost him winning really,” Dickie said. “He has had his small little issues and it is something that we need to work on, but the other two raced really well.” While disappointed not to have won behind Kay Cee, Dickie said he was pleased to get the quinella with Tricky Ric and Sertorius. “That was penalty free for Tricky Ric tonight, so he will be off the front again at Auckland in a fortnight,” Dickie said. “He is a nice little horse. He has done a great job and Craig drove him really well tonight. That was great for him to get the win. “He is owned by Dad and a good friend of his, Richard Bright. It was a great win for them.” Dickie was also pleased with Sertorius’ efforts and he thinks the six-year-old gelding is in for a good winter campaign. “Zac (Butcher) drove him perfectly tonight. He had a trip to win it, but Zac just said he couldn’t get around the last bend as good. “He is just a consistent old trotter. He will get a cheque every week. He will be a handy trotter through the winter.” Meanwhile, earlier on the card stablemate Daisy Hill put in plenty of work in her 2200m contest, but her efforts told in the last 50m when she was headed by Tears Of Joy. “She has just started to get her confidence back a little bit,” Dickie said. “She did a lot of work tonight and just got tired. “I was really pleased with her run. When you had to get around them as fast as what she did and sit outside them from the half-mile it is never easy, and she only just got beaten in the last bit. She went really well.”

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 a ten race program starting at 5:16pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a super 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 tonight from Addington.   Race by Race selections for Addington tonight 19th June 2020   Race 1 Gold Chain easy win at the recent workouts and will be very hard to hold out in this race, top selection…. Luminosity gallop put paid to her chances last start but previous runs ok can place…. Yuri has been thereabouts this campaign and likely to be near the lead during the running, good chance….Summer Lovin cheeky run fresh up and this field no stronger so must be included. Selections:  Gold Chain (11),   Yuri (12),   Luminosity (8),    Summer Lovin (5)   Race 2 Lulu Le Mans should get a cosy run from the draw. Good winning chance…..Soundslikeart unlucky again last start and has a big finish. Only needs to land nearer to the lead to go close here….Kensington Bill has been slightly disappointing but has ability, one for value….A Delightful Act stable is firing and will be improved from her fresh up run. Needed in exotics. Selections:  Lulu Le Mans (1),   Soundslikeart (9),   Kensington Bill (5),    A Delightful Act(7)   Race 3 Percy should start a clear favourite and now trained on the beach. Good winning chance ….Vincent Van Gone good at workouts and kept getting better last campaign, might trouble the favourite……Zambia going ok races and should get run through from the draw, place hope again….In Chevron We Trust a better run last start and can improve further, include. Selections:  Percy (4),   Vincent Van Gone (8),   Zambia (12),    In Chevron We Trust (3)   Race 4 Kahress good run last start coming home well from back in the field, will land closer here and might provide some value….Sioux Princess going extra well and should be hard to hold out again in this field….Palisade has shown plenty of ticker in her first two runs and can get money again here, needed….Awapuni good late finish last week and could have finished closer with luck, include in your multiples here. Selections:  Kahress (2),   Sioux Princess (12),   Palisade (6),    Awapuni (3)   Race 5 Franco Niven looks his type of race if he can step and find the lead. Winning claims again….Chiller Bay has been racing well and could be the value in what is a tricky field…..Fynn Frost tough grinder who will appreciate a hot pace, place chance….Queenofthedance good stand start mare who won well last start, not the worst again in this lineup. Selections:  Franco Niven (8),   Chiller Bay (9),   Fynn Frost (2),    Queenofthedance (11)   Race 6 Cheddar Valley in form and drawn ideally, will give the favourite something to think about…Star Of Timpany steps up in grade which is an issue but has claims…Stavros The Terror drawn to trail and could land the knockout if the pace is on from the start, include…..Jaffa Josh needs the right run but can finish powerfully, upset chance. Selections:  Cheddar Valley (5),  Stavros The Terror (2),   Star Of Timpany (4),    Jaffa Josh(12)   Race 7 Tango Tara was good last start and will strip fitter here, good winning chance from the front row draw…..Fabrizio in top form although stand a worry, massive chance if he steps away cleanly…..Nandolo another in good form but the 20m handicap makes it tough, still needed in this field…..Enchantee stand start conditions perfect for her and she will finish well late, place chance best. Selections:  Tango Tara (4),   Nandolo (10),   Fabrizio (2),    Enchantee (1)   Race 8 El Dorado race not run to suit last start but better placed here and top driver booked, needed…..Ranger Bomb has the right draw again and could give Ricky May a winning drive. Include……Carlos Bromac running nice races and a hot pace would suit, can finish over the top of them....Alta Endeavour getting better with racing and likely leader, will not shirk the fight,include Selections:  El Dorado (3),   Ranger Bomb (1),   Carlos Bromac (2),    Alta Endeavour (6)   Race 9 Midnight Dash easy win last start and a good winning hope from the front row draw. Value runner…..The Player good beginner and likely leader, tough field but good chance….Matua Tana best horse on form but still a question mark over his manners, should be right in the fight if he brings his A-game….Fanny Hill coming in fresh but has ability, place hope here. Selections:  Midnight Dash (4),   Matua Tana (15),   The Player (6),    Fanny Hill (7)   Race 10 Roll The Dice good finish last start but wide draw a concern, will add value….J R Bromac tidy finish at the workouts but might need a run or two to show his best, include….Tiebreaker back to the mobile form prior to his last start was good, will be hard to beat….Donegal Carrickfin has won six races and will be fitter for fresh up run, can run top four. Selections:  Roll The Dice (9),   Tiebreaker (2),   J R Bromac (7),    Donegal Carrickfin (4)   Harnesslink  Media

By Jonny Turner    Fabrizio will give his rivals something to chase at Addington on Friday night if he can match the confidence shown in him around the stable this week The Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon trained three-year-old will attempt to complete a post-lockdown hat-trick when he clashes with open class star Nandolo in the meeting’s feature pace. Fabrizio not only steps up in class after running sizzling sectionals in his two impressive victories, but the pacer will also have to negotiate his first standing start in race 7. When queried about this, Dalgety did not mince his words. “He will begin like a rocket.” The trainer then qualified that big statement by confirming that Fabrizio should begin well if he faces up to the tapes well and is not hindered by anything beyond his control. “He is a pretty sensible horse, so I am expecting him to step away pretty well if everything goes to plan.” Dalgety is just as confident about Fabrizio measuring up to the class of horses like Nandolo, Tango Tara and Cast No Shadow. “He has really come on recently.” “He is only a three-year-old, but he is almost four and four-year-olds win cups these days.” “So, I don’t think he will have too much trouble in that grade.” Fabrizio gets a head start on two of his main rivals in Friday night’s 2600m handicap. He starts on the front line alongside Tango Tara, who hit the line strongly for second when resuming behind Nandolo last week. Third placegetter, Cast No Shadow starts from the 10m mark ahead of Nandolo, who is 20m behind the front markers. Stepping up in class is not something Star Of Timpany has to conquer, despite her last start win at Addington. The two-year-old looks exceptionally well placed under the rating 45-51 conditions of race 6. “This is going to be her last start before we give her a bit of a break,” Dalgety said. “She is fit and well and should go another good race.” Dalgety gave Alta Endeavour the nod as his leading chance in race 8. The three-year-old will clash with his stablemate, El Dorado, in the 1980m event after his last start win at Addington. El Dorado comes in to the race after fading out after over-racing in his last start. “El Dorado got pulling last time, which he can do,” Dalgety said. “He has certainly got to the speed to be in it, but Alta Endeavour is probably the better chance because he can rough it a bit more.” The Dalgety and Purdon stable also have consistent maiden, Invaluable, in race 3 and Gemma Mac in race 2. Fabrizio is not the only horse seeking a post lockdown hat-trick at Addington on Friday night. Trainers Greg and Nina Hope and driver Gerard O’Reilly will try to make it three in a row with their refreshed and revitalised squaregaiter, Matua Tana, in race 9, the meeting’s 2600m feature handicap trot. The big-striding six-year-old comes into the event after producing a crushing performance in his last start to take down open class star, Majestic Man. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

It is never easy to get Brian Hughes to look too far ahead with a horse. But Hot And Treacherous has been so impressive every time he steps out on the track the man they call Bunty admits he has to start thinking about some bigger targets. One of the north’s most hyped maidens made a winning debut at Alexandra Park on Thursday night, beating his recent workouts adversary and another horse with a maiden win just around the corner in Marathon Man. There was nothing special about their time on a cold and wet winter night and Hot And Treacherous had actually been reeling off faster sectionals in his recent Pukekohe workout wins. But there is a stamp on class about the two-year-old son of Captaintreacherous that is hard to miss, his win aptly coming on the day it was announced another of his sire’s sons, Captain Crunch is coming here to join Nevele R and Alabar. So impressive has Hot And Treacherous been the usually reserved Hughes, who trains the gelding with his son Gareth, admits he might have to steer him toward the rescheduled Sires’ Stakes and Sales Series races to be run in September and October. “That might be the aim if he keeps going well,” said Hughes as he awaited his last young prospect to return after the debut win. Gareth might have been doing the leading back but laughs and points to Dad when asked who does the majority of day to day work on this one, always a good indication of where a horse stands in the pecking order of the stable’s maidens. Hughes paid $60,000 for Hot And Treacherous at the Karaka sales last year, buying him off Breckon Farms as the second foal from lightly-raced mare Hothooves. While he has looked a natural in all his workouts the delay and then rescheduling of the key juvenile races from this season to being early next season probably aids Hot And Treacherous and like many in that situation he could have a busy spring and early summer. It is rare a maiden race provides the star turn at Alexandra Park but he was the horse who had everybody buzzing but closer to the top of the rankings system it was the Dickie team who continued their sensational form since lock down. They won two races again with Callie’s Delight and Tricky Ric taking out the night’s feature pace and trot respectively. Callie’s Delight beat On The Cards was manners and speed, working to the lead early and controlling the race and then licking home her last 800m in 55.3 seconds which meant that On The Card, sitting last in his comeback race was left an impossible mission to catch her. “She is racing so well and these wins are great for her future broodmare career,” said co-trainer John Dickie. Tricky Ric got his manners right while stablemate Kay Cee didn’t, with the latter galloping late in the race when challenging the eventual winner. Team Dickie still quinellaed the race, with Tricky Ric leading home Sertorius while Kay Cee was disqualified, a rare combination of result for any stable with three horses in a race. The win won’t be Tricky Ric’s last as it was penalty free because of driver Craig Smith’s junior exempt claim and while the former Jewels runner-up won’t rush through to open class he should well and truly be there by the end of this year if not sooner.   Michael Guerin

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    Ranger Bomb has returned to racing with a bang and trainer Brendon Hill is hoping he can continue his impressive run of form when he contests the IRT ‘Worldwide Horse Airfreight’ Mobile Pace (1980m) at Addington Raceway on Friday. The three-year-old gelding won first-up late last month before he was gallant in defeat when runner-up behind Team Kiwi at the Christchurch track last week. Hill was so pleased with the way the son of Sportswriter had pulled up after last week’s run that he decided to back him up on Friday. “I thought his run last week was gallant and his win was really good, but I thought last week was probably even better,” Hill said. “I have backed him up from last week because I am really happy with him. “He’s just a bit stronger and he is racing really well. He has drawn (1) really well again, which he did in his last two runs and he has been super.” While Hill has plenty of respect for his race rivals, he has taken plenty of confidence from Ranger Bomb’s last two runs and he is expecting another good showing on Friday. “There is a bit of gate speed outside us and they are nice horses too, but he has been racing well and if he can back-up from last start he is going to be right in it,” Hill said. The Swannanoa horseman will also have a trio of runners at Addington’s Sunday meeting, including Oaxacan Dream, Donegal Gilbert, and Fancy. Oaxacan Dream will be out to try and secure her maiden victory in the Commodore Airport Hotel Mobile Pace (2600m). It will be the third start for the three-year-old filly and Hill expects her to perform well after pleasing with her first-up unplaced run over 1980m last week. “She went really good last start,” he said. “She was wide the whole race and got in late. “Up the straight she battled away all right. She is quite fit and I don’t think the 2600m will worry her on Sunday. She is a good chance with another nice draw (3).” Stablemate Donegal Gilbert has the ace draw in the Vero Insurance Mobile Pace (2600m) and Hill said he is in a similar situation to Oaxacan Dream. “He went pretty good last start (when finishing eighth over 1980m),” Hill said. “He did a bit of work early and he stuck on all right. “He is a funny pacing horse, but he is fit and I don’t think the 2600m will worry him either. I am pretty happy with him.” Meanwhile, Hill has been pleased with the way Fancy has been working in the lead up to the Teltrac Communications Mobile Pace (2600m). The daughter of Bettor’s Delight has drawn the outside of the second row, however, Hill believes she can figure in the finish on Sunday. “Fancy has drawn the worst of all of them, but she is really fit and she will get into the race at some stage if Ricky (May, driver) decides to get around them. She is working really nice at the moment, so I expect her to go well.” – Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

He's the 2018 US Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year and the reigning North America Cup holder - and he's heading downunder this season. In sensational news for the breeding industries of New Zealand and Australia, Captain Crunch is the latest acquisition for the Alabar / Nevele R partnership. A glamour horse of his generation, he will be based at Nevele R Stud in Canterbury with his fresh semen available throughout Australasia. Captain Crunch is not only a World Champion himself, he is the greatest, fastest and richest son of Captaintreacherous - the hottest and most commercial young sire in the world of harness racing. Captaintreacherous stands for $30,000 in USA and is fully booked every season. He is available via frozen semen in the Australia and New Zealand.. The first Southern Hemisphere Captaintreacherous' have been racing this season as two-year-olds - and they are making a huge impression. Like father like son - Captaintreacherous and Captain Crunch were both US Two-Year-Olds of the Year and both came back as three-year-olds to win the North America Cup. Not only did Captain Crunch emulate his sire in winning the North America Cup - he did so in the fastest ever running of the great race and set a new track and Canadian record. His win was outstanding, leading and then taking cover through a blistering 52.8 first half before looming up outside the leader on the final turn and staving off the challenge of Bettor's Wish by three-quarters on a length in 1:47.4. The victory inspired driver Scott Zeron to say: "I can't say enough about how amazing this animal is. I didn't want to be in the spot I was in in that race but at the same time he overcame it with just his greatness." Trainer Nancy Johansson was equally thrilled: "I knew he was the best horse going into it and it was just up to him to show everybody." "The last eighth of a mile I must have screamed his name like thirty times. He's just an amazing animal." She was later to say: "He gives 110% effort every time he races. He leaves it out on the track for us every time." The previous season as a two-year-old Captain Crunch emerged as a harness racing superstar on his way to becoming the dominant age group pacer of the year. His season highlights included: - Storming home in 26.6 to win the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile in a season's best 1:49.2 - Cruising home to win the $600,000 Breeders Crown by three lengths in 1:51.6 - Unleashing from mid-field to power away and win the $469,300 Governors Cup in 1:50.6 on a rain sodden track As a three-year-old his win in the North America Cup was one of three victories in 1:48 or better - making him the only three-year-old ever to achieve this feat. His other 1:48 wins were - - In the Cane Pace on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands where he staged an epic stretch duel with arch rival, Bettor's Wish to win in 1:48 with his last quarter in 25.8 - In his second to last career start he led all the way to win his elimination of the Progress Pace at Dover Downs in a track record 1:47.6 In just 26 lifetime starts he took his career earnings to $1,725,495. Captain Crunch also boasts an outstanding maternal pedigree with his dam, Sweet Paprika being a 1:51.2f stakes performed two and three-year old filly. She is the dam of 2 in 1:50 and 4 in 1:53 and is a half-sister to the World Champion pacers Sweet Lou (1:47, $3,478,894) and Bettor Sweet (1:47.4, $2,782,353) and also to the dam of star filly Youaremycandygirl (1:48.4, $1,550,004). Captain Crunch was syndicated for stud duties at the end of his three-year-old season. He retired as the hottest new stallion prospect in North America to stand the 2020 season at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania. He is currently serving a star-studded full book of mares prior to going into quarantine to come to New Zealand for the Southern Hemisphere season. Ged Mooar from Nevele R is thrilled to have secured Captain Crunch: "This is the horse that Alabar and ourselves have been targeting for a long time. He's the best new prospect in North America and we just had to get him." "We're excited to be standing a horse of his calibre at our Canterbury Stud in association with Alabar. We're looking forward to his arrival. He's a stunning individual with pedigree and performance - and breeder feedback tells us he will be extremely well supported." Captain Crunch's introductory fee will be $6,500 (plus GST) in New Zealand and $6,750 (incl GST) in Australia. It's Crunch time. Harnesslink Media

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    2018 New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer  is no longer an All Star. The  nearly one million dollar earner has left the powerful All Stars Stables of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen  to join Regan Todd on the beach at Woodend in North Canterbury. “He was Natalie’s project”, says Thefixer’s part-owner Phil Kennard, “and it’s never easy to shift a horse but everyone agreed that his best chance of getting back was going to the beach.” The son of Bettor’s Delight has long had foot issues  - “he’s just got soft feet”. Now six and  with a record of 12 wins from 37 starts Thefixer has not won a race in New Zealand since that Cup triumph at Addington on November 13 2018. Since then though  he’s run third to Ultimate Sniper in the 2019 Interdominion final, second to Spankem second in the 2019 Miracle Mile in Sydney, and second to Self Assured in the Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve (2019) .   “He’s a lightly raced horse,” said Kennard, “and physically he has no other issues apart from his feet”. Todd has been associated with the horse before, in the lead up to his  2018 Cup win. Then Thefixer  was still officially in Purdon and Rasmussen’s care. Now the stable change is permanent. “It’s pretty exciting,” said Todd,  “ we are hoping the beach will take the pressure off his feet, rather than being on the track all the time.”   At the other end of the spectrum the  32-year-old is also officially training promising four-year-old Percy. Initially with Phil Burrows the American Ideal gelding  has been transferred to Todd after two luckless starts at Addington , where he’s started favourite and finished fourth. While Todd is officially in charge much of the day-to-day training is the responsibility of his offsider and trials driver Tom Bamford. His family, who are sprinkled around the South Island, own the horse and yes the horse’s name does have some significance.   “My nana – her father was Percy and she had a brother called Percy” Percy will debut for the stable on Friday in race 3 at Addington – the IRT “Flying Horses since 1972” mobile pace.  “He has very high speed and he goes well, the first step is to win a maiden on Friday night and go from there.” As for Thefixer,  he is a longer term proposition as he builds to the trials potentially in September and then the  traditional pre- Cup races leading up to November.   “He will let us know if he’s ready,” said Todd.

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 Auckland again today with a nine race program starting at 5:59pm, and today we highlight our selections we think can give you a run for your money on a night of racing. The content and data on this page is provided for informational purposes only.   Auckland Harness 18th June 2020 Race 1 Yorkshire has his first start in the North since moving from Canterbury and is a strong chance off the front.... On The Cards proven form in top grade and the small field will help negate the tricky handicap. Top Selection.....Callie’s Delight match fit and has a good chance if she can find the front at some stage... Selections:  On The Cards (4),   Yorkshire (1),   Callie’s Delight (2),    Red Reactor (3)   Race 2 Silk Likely to go forward at the start and has strong claims with an in-form junior driver in the bike...Adieu Flirt goes well on the track and shorter distance will suit good chance here...Vespa Good win last start can repeat with luck in the running. Sunset Red first up winner in the North but this is harder. Place chances Selections:  Silk (5),   Adieu Flirt (8),   Vespa (7),   Sunset Red (2)   Race 3 Asteria Lavra Out of contention early last start but can redeem herself here. Top pick...Bright And Shiney Good at trials and from an in form stable. Can win with manners...Hill Of Peace another with tidy trial and workout form. Tote will tell the story...Just Ricky  Early leader who could stick on for a place if there are too many mistake makers. Selections:  Asteria Lavra (7),   Bright And Shiney (5),   Hill Of Peace (3),   Just Ricky (1)   Race 4 Doubtless Bay good draw to contend with and ok last start. Can win...Romanee Top performance fresh and will be in the fight again here....Hot And Treacherous Has been winning at trials and workouts but strongest test to date here. Should be close to favourite for this....Marathon Man Stable has them ready to run fresh. Watch the tote on this one from the wide draw. Selections:  Doubtless Bay (1),   Romanee (3),   Hot And Treacherous (2),    Marathon Man (8)   Race 5 Daisy Hill Manners a concern but should be right in the fight if she trots all the way....Kristofferson Another who can be tardy early. A big chance if he can lead early and tidy win last start....Magnafique always a place chance in these 2200m stands. Stable going well....Leesa Castleton big run last start and a repeat would take her close. First run the Auckland way around. Selections:  Kristofferson (2),   Magnafique (10),   Daisy Hill (13),    Leesa Castleton (6)   Race 6 Johnny Mac nice draw and a good chance to run top three in this field....Nurburgring looks the early leader and should be thereabouts with minimal attackers...Texas Tiger  has been performing well in classy fields. Should start favourite and can win...Double Up tricky draw to contend with but has ability. Chance at nice odds if he can get handy in the running. Selections:  Texas Tiger (6),   Nurburgring (2),   Johnny Mac (1),    Double Up (7)   Race 7 She Reigns big run after breaking last start. Normally a good beginner and nice each way chance here....Tricky Ric good pipe-opener last start and will be improved. Might be too good for them if he can find the lead....Kay Cee easy win last start but tough handicap. Can still finish amongst the placings....Sertorious looked the winner until late last start. Manners a query but good enough to overcome the 30m handicap. Selections:  She Reigns (6),   Tricky Ric (3),   Kay Cee (7),    Sertorious(8)   Race 8 Major Jellis beaten favourite last start but had excuses. Should be improved and will start a hot favourite...Mister Slick good gate speed and will probably trail the favourite. Can run a place here....The Blue Beat winner last start but draw not so great. A chance to run into the placings if she can clear traffic....Milner Racing well but first look at the course. Chance to run in the money with a cosy run in transit. Selections:  Major Jellis (4),   Mister Slick (3),   Milner (2),    The Blue Beat (9)   Race 9 Edamfast he races well on the track and could get home at value in the last. Each way claims....The Batmobile will probably start favourite here and is overdue a win. Good chance...Romanite out of form but has beaten similar fields in the past. No surprise to see him figure in the placings....Rainbow Wiri tidy after a break last start. Well drawn and has place claims here. Selections:  Edamfast (9),   Romanite (8),   The Batmobile (5),   Rainbow Wiri (3)   Harnesslink Media

By Josh Smith - Harness News Desk    Multiple Group-placed pacer On The Cards may be the highest rated horse at Alexandra Park on Thursday by some margin, but trainer Barry Purdon believes he will still need to be on his game to overcome his 45m handicap. Purdon has been pleased with On The Cards’ two runner-up workout performances in the lead-up to Thursday and said he should be able to account for his three rivals in the Welcome Back Fans Of The Park – We Missed You Handicap Pace (2200m). “He ran second last Friday at Pukekohe, he went quite well,” Purdon said. “They ran home in 26 and a bit. “He has trained on well through the week and he worked nicely this (Tuesday) morning. He should go pretty close. “45m behind is fair enough for him. He has over a 100 rating and it is only 2200m so it will even everything up pretty well, but he will need to do everything right.” If he performs up to expectations on Thursday, Purdon said On The Cards would unlikely be seen back at the track until the new season. “If he wins he probably won’t get another start until the start of next season. “That is fair enough, he will be well over the ratings of the other horses, so you have just got to accept that is the way it is. “He probably won’t resume until the middle of August, after this race.” While the son of Bettor’s Delight has placed at Group level on five occasions, he has yet to taste victory at that level, and Purdon is hoping to change that in the coming season. “He has been a good horse to us,” he said. “He made the Inter Dominion Final and he has been pretty consistent all year. “We will just take it as it comes.” On The Cards will be joined by stablemates Major Jellis and Marathon Man at ‘The Park’ on Thursday and Purdon is expecting a bold showing from both geldings. Major Jellis resumed with a third-placing at Alexandra Park a fortnight ago and Purdon expects to see plenty of improvement when he contests the Breckon Farms Mobile Pace (2200m). “He has taken a lot out of that run. He may have been a wee bit short. He just had the one trial and it was a bit of a soft affair. “We gave him a bit of a run here on Saturday and he worked really nice. He has got a good draw (4), so he should be a little bit better than he was last time.” Stablemate Marathon Man will make his debut in the Alabar Mobile Pace (2200m) and Purdon is cautiously optimistic heading into the race. The son of Sweet Lou dead-heated with fellow debutant and race rival Hot And Treacherous at the Pukekohe workouts last week and Purdon took plenty of confidence from the run. “He went pretty well in his trial,” Purdon said. “Unfortunately he has drawn eight, which is not easy in any race. “He is only having his first start, so it might not be that easy for him. Whatever he does he will be a bit better for anyway, but he should still go well.”

A high profile harness racing trainer has admitted three racing charges following a dramatic raid of his property, but claims he is innocent of an allegation that could see him banned for a decade. Canterbury-based Nigel McGrath has pleaded guilty to attempting to administer a prohibited substance on a raceday, refusing to supply information to a racecourse inspector and obstructing a racecourse inspector during an investigation. The dispute of facts and crux of the case surrounds the substance of what was or was about to be administered to the horse when the raid was undertaken on March 13 this year. McGrath has admitted breaking racing's "one clear day" rule - a charge of orally administering a horse with a legal substance (Air Support, a herbal product intended to aid a horse's respiratory function) within 24 hours of a race. But he has denied a more serious allegation of "tubing" a horse to administer sodium bicarbonate (regarded as a performance enhancing substance), laid by the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU).   Read the full story click here by Matt Kermeen Stuff

Trainer Adrienne Matthews is in for a record night at Alexandra Park this evening. And why that doesn’t mean she will train a winner the fact she has seven starters at the second Auckland meeting of harness racing’s comeback is a huge feat in its self. “I have had seven starters at a Manawatu meeting once but never at Alexandra Park,” says the Glenbrook horsewoman. “That is a lot of starters at a meeting up here for us so I am looking forward to it. But to be honest I am just enjoying being back at the races after the lockdown.” It is still some effort from a smaller stable to have seven starters at an Alexandra Park meeting, including winning chances like The Blue Beat (race eight). “We were kind of lucky that we have our own track at home so could be up and running quickly after lockdown and some of them are racing really well.” Matthews is a popular member of the northern harness racing community, having cut her teeth in harness racing with the likes of Ray Norton and Geoff Small. “I actually got into racing a bit later than a lot of people do because I played rep netball and that was my main focus out of school. “I played for the North Shore and West Auckland at the level just below what was then the Coca Cola Cup but started to get more involved with the horses around 21,” said the now 38-year-old. She starts tonight with two chances in race two, the in-form Letherhairdown and Fortune Smile, who is fresh up. “Letherhairdown is racing well but this is a nice enough field so she might be a better place chance while Fortune Smile was all but retired. “She had soreness issues in her hind legs and we were going to break her in for a saddle horse but then an abscess burst out and she was sound enough to put back into work. “She lacks a bit of speed but tries hard.” Maiden trotter Cepheus (race three) has the ability to win races but Matthews says a second-start scare has dented his confidence. “He ran fourth on debut but in his second start the horse next to him came across at the start and pushed him into another horse and and since then he has been worried every start that the other horses are coming to get him at the start. “He is getting slowly better but it might take a few more starts yet to get his confidence back.” Johnson Step (race four) was attacked in front at Cambridge last week but still faded more than he should have late and steps into a stronger maiden field tonight. “I think he might be back on the inside and this looks like a tough race for him to win.” Matthews is hoping the stable’s trotting star The Hulk can make a better beginning in race seven tonight to help him navigate the final bend smoothly. “Getting in and trotting roughly on that last bend has been his weakness and to overcome that it is better if he is on the markers near the lead so hopefully he can be there. “But he is still better left-handed.” The other problem for The Hulk is the depth of the field, with plenty of potential future open class trotters in what will be the highlight of the night, headlined by brilliant last start winner Kay Cee. The Blue Beat meets some handy opposition in race eight but Matthews says the lockdown was a blessing for the four-year-old mare. “She is a very big mare and has been a bit awkward growing into herself but that break during lockdown really aided her and she paces a lot smoother now she has strengthened up,” says Matthews. “So I think she will be a better mare this campaign but she isn’t a sit sprint horse so I am hoping Jay (Abernethy, driver) can get her off the inside and sit in the running line this week.” The last on the card tonight for the amateur drivers gives Matthews the chance to repay loyal stable supporter Bruce Hadley with another drive on Edamfast. “Bruce has been great to us, always willing to help out when we short staffed on the weekends,” she explains. “I think he can win a race on this horse but he is a funny horse to drive in that you have to make him do it and last week he got a bit lazy. “Because of that I don’t think one on the second line suits him on Thursday, especially following out a horse who might not have enough gate speed to lead.”   Michael Guerin

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