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High-priced New Zealand import Gran Chico has settled down well since arriving in Perth a fortnight ago and he looks set for a successful Australian harness racing debut when he contests the Catalano Truck and Equipment Sales Service Finance Pace over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Now in the care of astute Henley Brook trainer Mike Reed, Gran Chico will be driven by Shannon Suvaljko, who is happy that the Bettors Delight gelding will be the sole runner off the back line. “From barrier ten there’s no horse on his outside and he’ll have time to relax before being put into the race,” Suvaljko said. “He’s a nice horse who should prove hard to beat. “I’ve watched the replays of all his races in New Zealand. He is a big horse who loves to just come into the race and he should get a good run from barrier ten. “Mike told me that the plan was, with the horse having been here for only a couple of weeks, was not to throw him in the deep end straight away (by racing in the group 2 feature for four-year-olds on Friday night). And after this week’s race, the plan is to go into the $125,000 Four-Year-Old Classic in two weeks and then the Golden Nugget two weeks after that.” Gran Chico, who has been purchased by Jim and Wilma Giumelli, last appeared when he gave a splendid performance to finish a close fourth behind top-flight pacers Chase Auckland, Ashley Locaz and Smokin By in the Group 3 Methven Cup on October 13.  This was a 3000m stand on a rain-affected grass track and Gran Chico galloped briefly at the start before settling down in fourth place. A 5/1 chance, he dashed to the front after about 500m before surrendering the lead after a lap to the 6/4 favourite Ashley Locaz. He finished gamely along the inside. At his previous outing, nine nights earlier, Gran Chico settled in sixth position and raced in the breeze before taking the lead 1000m from home for an easy first-up victory at a 1.57.1 rate in a 1980m mobile event at Addington. That was his first appearance since June 1 when he gave a superb performance on a wet track to finish third behind Mark Purdon’s Jesse Duke in the $150,000 Group 1 Emerald at Addington. He started from the outside barrier (No. 8) on the front line and settled down in 12th and last position before starting a three-wide run from last about 1100m from home. He raced three wide for much of the final circuit and finished with great determination. Gran Chico’s chief rival on Friday night is likely to be the polemarker Dominate The Dojo, who has finished creditable thirds to Bettor Reward and Mighty Santana at his first two starts since resuming from a spell. The Kevin Keys-trained Dominate The Dojo will again be handled by Chris Lewis, who said: “He’s a consistent little horse who is always going to be about the play. He’s got gate speed and we will push forward and see what happens.” Dylan Egerton-Green will drive the Karen Thompson-trained Our Perkins, who is handily drawn at barrier three on the front line. “He is racing really well and will run a bit of a race if I can find the top,” Egerton-Green said. With Suvaljko committed to drive Gran Chico, Byford trainer Courtney Burch had to find a new driver for Sergeant Oats, an impressive winner from Ocean Ridge last Friday night. Burch has engaged Gary Hall Jnr to handle Sergeant Oats, who is sure to be prominent from the No. 4 barrier.   Ken Casellas

This wasn’t how November was supposed to go for Sundees Son. The reigning Trotter of the Year was the one-time favourite for both Group 1 trots of Cup week in Christchurch and the Inter Dominion, which starts at Alexandra Park a fortnight from tomorrow. Now he is heading to the spelling paddock with his tail between his legs. The freakishly-talented five-year-old galloped and lost all chance for the third race in a row in the NZ Trot Free-For-All at Addington on Tuesday and was always unlikely to start in tomorrow’s $300,000 Dominion after that. But trainers Robert and John Dunn have surrendered to Sundees Son's niggling issues and also pulled him out of the Inter Dominion and sent him for a two-month spell. “We just can’t get him right,” said John Dunn. “We keep patching him up and while his issue (fetlock joint) isn’t serious at all he has lost his confidence. “He is only a young horse and we have to do the right thing by him so hopefully he can come back for the big races in the autumn.” While Sundees Son is out of the Dominion, hot favourite Oscar Bonavena still faces a huge task starting from the unruly in a capacity field, with his three main rivals in Marcoola (barrier one), Tough Monarch (six) and McLovin (10) all drawn the front line. The Dunns will have two reps in the $200,000 NZ Pacing Free-For-All and luckless NZ Cup placegetter Classie Brigade drawn the ace. “I am not sure he would have won the Cup had we got clearer earlier but he would have got a lot closer,” Dunn says of Tuesday’s third. Dunn says he has the gate speed to try and lead tomorrow’s 1980m Goup 1 and if he was able to hold the front early he would want to stay there, as he did in the Kaikoura Cup 10 days ago. “But it may not be that easy. Cruz Bromac gets off the gate really fast, but I will be trying to hold him.” Cruz Bromac (six) has drawn inside Spankem (seven) and the tactics of that pair, who led and won the NZ Free-For-All and Miracle Mile respectively last season, will play a huge role in tomorrow’s outcome. Aussie raider Our Uncle Sam backs up after missing away in the NZ Cup on Tuesday but Victorian San Carlo will miss the free-for-all and head to Auckland for the Inter Dominion. The fields for the NZ Free-For-All at Addington tomorrow: Race 11, 5.48pm, $200,000, mobile 1980m — Classie Brigade (1), Chase Auckland (2), Our Uncle Sam (3), Henry Hubert (4), A G’s White Socks (5), Cruz Bromac (6), Spankem (7), Nandolo (8), Thefixer (9).   Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner Longtime owners and an emerging trainer combined to score their biggest wins when Oamaru trotter Rydgemont Son rocked New Zealand Cup day punters on Tuesday. Cup day bettors were left wondering why they unusually let a Williamson trained trotter go out at massive odds of 50 to one odds after the 5yr-old powered home from off the speed to win. Rydgemont Son’s effort in middle grade company notched a career best win as a trainer Brad Williamson. Williamson was not among those who under rated the well related trotter going in to Tuesday’s race. “I wouldn’t say I was surprised, I was quite confident he would go a good race, but I wasn’t expecting anything because we all know how hard it is on cup day,”the trainer-driver said. “But, I was confident the horse was good enough if everything went to plan.” “It was a big thrill.” Rydgemont Son showed how much progression he has made in his past three starts with his faultless display in front of a large Addington crowd. The 5yr-old began his campaign with a big win at Forbury Park before making mistakes in subsequent outings. The horse then got his act together in his two starts prior to putting together a perfect performance on Tuesday. “We are still not out of the woods from him yet,” Williamson said. “He still gets himself a bit excited sometimes and that is why he gallops.” “He will win more races, but he has just had a few issues that have kept him from being in good form a bit longer.” Rydgemont Son is by Majestic Son from former 10-win race mare Domination. That makes him a half brother to multiple race winners The Dominator and Rydgemont Milly. The Dominator also raced on NZ Cup day, galloping out of another event early. Rydgemont Son is raced by Ray and Joan Scott, of St. Andrews. Ray Scott told Williamson Rydgemont Son’s win was his biggest thrill in harness racing. “They have been in the game a long time, they raced the mother Domination,” Williamson said. “Ray said that was the biggest thrill he’d had - getting a winner on cup day.” Williamson scored another career highlight at Addington, earlier this year, when Cracker Hill notched a Group 1 second placing at the Harness Jewels. The 3yr-old is back in work and progressing towards a return on the Otago-Southland summer racing circuit. Williamson hopes to bank some Harness Jewels qualifying money before targeting early 3yr-old trotting events with Cracker Hill. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Trainer-driver Jim Curtin will seek more New Zealand Cup week success with his small team at Ashburton on Thursday. The Templeton horseman closed out New Zealand Cup day when producing his lightly raced pacer Tango Tara to win its last race. Curtin looks a big chance of scoring a race to race double by winning the next event of the New Zealand Cup Carnival - the first event at Ashburton. He starts Zigzagzoo in a 2400m maiden trot, following the horse’s good first up run behind impressive Kaikoura winner, Madam Sass. “He did go really good up there, I was really pleased with him,” Curtin said. “I was a bit worried about how he would trot the bends, but he was pretty good.” Zigzagzoo’s Kaikoura effort came in his first start since he raced New Zealand’s best 2yr-old trotters, last season. The Majestic Son squaregaiter went sound races finishing in behind the placegetters in races won by Ultimate Stride and Muscle Mountain. His first up effort showed Zigzagzoo had returned stronger from his winter break. “I think he has come back a bit stronger - he is quite a big horse and I think he could be even better when he gets a bit older,” Curtin said. Zigzagzoo could head towards this season’s 3yr-old trotting features if his form warrants it. The trotter can help his cause in today’s race if he can hold out fellow 3yr-old, Vacation Hill. The Kevin Townley trained squaregaiter also comes in to Thursday’s race after a last start second placing. Bookmakers think Zigzagzoo can, rating him the early $3 favourite, ahead of Vacation Hill at $4.60. Curtin also starts Kayla Maguire in race 9 at the Ashburton meeting. She finished down the track in her first start for the second at Methven, recently. The 4yr-old may need another start to show her best after doing too well during her winter spell. “She is going to need a couple of runs because she has been carrying a bit of extra weight.” “She is in a bit of an awkward place in the handicaps at the moment, racing horses that have won a few races.” Race 9 features an exciting clash between emerging 3&4yr-olds. 3yr-olds Cloud Nine, A Delightful Act and Pink Flamingo Run each go in to the 2400m mobile event as last start winners. 4yr-olds Nirvana Beach and Portalerge come in to race 9 after running good second placing in their last starts. Nirvana Beach and A Delightful Act opened equal $3 favourites with bookmakers. Tango Tara’s neck win over the favourite Taxman has earned him some quiet time. Curtin will bypass Friday’s Show Day meeting at Addington and target the quieter surrounds of Geraldine, later this month. “I never intended to back him up on Show Day because he has had quite a few runs in a short time with going to the trials.” “We might look at the Geraldine meeting with him.” Tango Tara helped keep his family’s name in the spotlight after his close relation, Tiger Tara, missed his first New Zealand Cup carnival in six years. Tango Tara is by A Rocknroll Dance from a half sister to the dam of Tiger Tara, who is by his sire, Bettor’s Delight. Tango Tara shows some traits of Bettor’s Delight stock as a fair track worker, who steps his game up significantly on race day. Niggling injuries, which Curtin described as wear and tear problems, meant the 4yr-old was spelled in January after making a brilliant start to his career. Tango Tara is over those problems and Curtin is hopeful the horse can continue to fulfil his potential. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight The race career of last season’s top juvenile pacing filly, Sweet On Me, has come to a premature end. Her connections made the decision to retire her last week after being told by vets she would not race as a three-year-old this season. “We had the option to put her out for six months and bring her back for next season,” said Paul Kenny, who raced her with wife Mary and father-in-law, Charles Roberts. “But by that time, she’s a four-year-old and when we really looked at it, we felt like she’d done enough. “She had a glittering career as a two-year-old so we thought we’d just leave it at that and have her as a broodmare.” It’s a fair assessment – the blueblood first born daughter of champion mare Adore Me won nearly a quarter of a million dollars in a career spanning just seven starts. She won two Group 1 races, including the 2YO Diamond at Addington’s Harness Jewels back in June, from the stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, and also won the 2YO Pacing Filly of the Year title. The diagnosis came while she was back in work with Purdon and Rasmussen after undergoing winter surgery. “When she was heading back south last season, Mark suggested we stop in and get scintigraphy done in Matamata,” said Kenny. “There was a chip in one knee and some minor cartilage issues in both knees. “They said we could keep racing her so we did that. “Then, on the way home after the Jewels she stopped off and had an operation and subsequently went through a faultless post-operative recovery.” It was all systems go for her three-year-old season and, after a period of swimming work, she returned to Canterbury for a new preparation. “But she just wasn’t comfortable at speed so we had some x-rays taken and it showed further problems. “We are too fond of the horse, all our horses, to risk her as we have plenty of others to go on with. “We’re not greedy and are very grateful for the success we have. “She gave us some great thrills last season.” Sweet On Me will not be bred now, but rather early next season. “You’re not going to get an early foal and we are breeding from 30 others, so we’ll start her nice and early next season.” Adore Me’s next foal, a full sister named Darling Me, is showing great promise for Purdon and Rasmussen. “On type and temperament, she’s a lovely filly but you never really know how good they are until they get to the track.” In a further blow for Roberts and the Kennys, they’ve also had to retire an unraced, but qualified, three-year-old full sister to recently-retired champion mare Dream About Me. “She had a problem with a suspensory as a two-year-old last season and now, unfortunately, she’s gone in the other suspensory. “She hadn’t raced, but she’d done enough at the trials stage to know she had some ability.” Dream About Me has returned a positive scan to Captaintreacherous, which would be her first foal. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Bookmaker Richard Wilson updates us on some of the big bets placed on Cup Day and where the money was going. Tuesday – Addington Cup day A bumper day for Fixed Odds turnover with a Singles-only hold of a tick over $2m.  Last year, including Mulits, the hold was $1.7m and the two years before that we held $1.6m each.  Total turnover, including the tote, was up 1.9%. Race 1 – A massive move in the first of the day with Robbie Royale opening @ $12 & closing @ $5.50.  Just a tick under $25,000 on him in win singles.  Sundons Flyer $26-$16 and Overzealous $9.50-$9 were also well liked.  The biggest bets in the race were $1,200 Robbie Royale @ $8.50, $2,000 Matua Tana @ $4.80 & $2,200 Robbie Royale @ $2.90 Top3. Race 2 – Another big move with Dream Of Glory $8-$9-$5, almost $21,000 on him in the win book.  Punters also warmed up to the favourite Sugar Loaf close to start time.  $3,000 bets on Dream Of Glory @ both $7 & $5;  $3,000 Sugar Loaf @ $3, $1,000 @ $2.90 & $2,000 @ $2.80. Race 3 – Another move & punters on the ball here with Bonnie Highlander $4.40 into $3 and a tick over $40,000 on her.  Theodosia also well backed late @ $6-$5.  Big bets on Bonnie Highlander were $2,500 @ $4.40, $2,000 @ $3.80, $6,000 @ $3.40, four $1,000 bets and a $2,000 bet @ $3.10;  also $1,000 on Theodosia @ $5.50. Race 4 – Junior FFA.  A two horse war here with a swing over the weekend for Triple Eight $2.90-$2.10-$2.20 making him the favourite for a time, then a swing back for Ultimate Sniper $2-$2.40-$2.05.  $1,100 Triple Eight @ $2.80, $4,000 @ $2.40, $2,000 @ $2.10 & $1,000 @ $2.20;  $1,000 Ultimate Sniper @ $2.30.  600 more bets on  Ultimate Sniper made him the best backed in the end. Race 5 – Nemera Franco & Better Fly well backed here with third favourite Wild Excuse a welcome winner.  The largest bets on Better Fly were $1,000 & $4,000 bets @ $4, $1,600 @ $3.90 & $1,000 @ $3.70.  $800 & three $600 bets on Nemera Franco @ $2.30 and plenty of $400-$500 bets on her @ $2.40 & $2.30. Race 6 – Trotting FFA.  Winterfell was another very well backed runner here.  Almost $45,000 invested on him in the win book @ $5-$3.40.  $4,300 @ $5, $9,000 @ $1.95 Top3, $2,000 @ $4.40, $2,000 @ $3.90, $1,500 @ $3.70, $2,000 & $1,500 @ $3.40;  Tough Monarch: punters warmed up late with three $1,000 bets, $1,400 & $2,000 all @ $3. Race 7 – Sires Stks Final.  Just over half of the win book was on One Change @ $2.10-$1.95 & he justified the support, just.  A near miss here with $1,000 EW Copy That @ $31 & $5 getting very close.  Other big bets $2,000, $3,500 & $1,000 bets on One Change @ $2.10;  $2,000 Flying Even Better Top3 @ $2.90. Race 8 - A two horse battle again here with Heisenberg $3.30-$2.50 the best backed & punters rallying behind Amazing Dream @ $1.65-$1.90 late.  Big bets on Heisenberg were $7,000 @ 2.90; $3,000 & $5,000, three $1,200 bets, $1,500 & $2,000 all @ $2.50.  Bets on Amazing Dream were $1,000 @ $1.85, three $1,000 bets and $4,200 all @ $1.90. Race 9 – Punters initially specked quite a few here, mainly Gliding Away $26-$16 before settling on Belmont Major in a big way.  He was $2.40-$2.90-$2.15 and held almost $60,000 of the $100,000 win book.  Big bets were $300 Gliding Away @ $26 & $400 @ $21;  $1,000 Mach Da Vinci @ $12; $1,000 Howard Hughes @ $7.50; $4,300 Belmont Major @ $2.90, $3,000 & $5,000 @ $2.40, and three $1,000 bets @ $2.15. Race 10 – NZ Cup.  Spirited betting in the NZ Cup again this year.  The least backed horse was Hail Christian and there was $1,793 in more than 500 bets on him.  Stablemates, Spankem $2.20-$2.40 & Thefixer $3.20-$2.80, held 61% of the win book between them with Spankem being the best backed.  The biggest bets in the Cup were $4,000, $3,250 & $2,000 on Spankem @ $2.40;  $3,300 @ $2.90,  $2,500, $2,300 & $2,200 on Thefixer @ $2.80, and $1,000 San Carlo @ $11.  The winner, Cruz Bromac was fairly good for us in both the Final Field and Futures Books.  He opened @ $12 on March 7th in the Pre-nom book & hit a high of $16 around 10 June 10.  After nominations, he opened @ $11 and hit a peak of $21 for a few days around October 10.  This week in the Final Field book he was $9 out to $13 & was the 6th best backed runner with a smidge over $11,000 on him.  A couple of $200 bets @ $12 were the best. Race 11 – Our worst results here were Never Mind $10-$8.50 and Girls Let Loose $26-$12, both being about $50,000 liabilities.  Best backed was the favourite B D Kasothon with $3,500 @ $2.40 the biggest bet.  Other big bets were $1,000 & $1,500 bets on Lone Star Lad @ $4.80 as well as $1,000 @ $4.50;  $900 Never Mind @ $9 & $700 @ $8.50. Race 12 - The biggest bet of the day came in the last with $25,000 on Taxman @ $1.45 coming up short.  Tango Tara wasn't a great result for us though with over 1,000 individual bets on him.  $1,000 @ $6.50 was the biggest & there were also $5,000 & $4,000 Top3 bets @ $1.85 on Tango Tara.  $2,000 @ $2.20 & $1,000 @ $2.10 on Dan Fernando to run TOP3 meant punters finished on a great note.  Multi of the Week:  $20, 2-leg Multi @ Addington Lovey Dovey Moment @ $7.50 Ascalabus @ $31 Returned $4,650. Best Cash-out of the Week:  $10  Multi Sugar Loaf @ $3 Bonnie Highlander @ $3.10 Ultimate Sniper @ $2.40 Tough Monarch @ $2.40 One Change @ $2.10 Spankem @ $2.20 Would have returned $2,474, BUT was cashed out for $757 before Spankem ran 2nd in the cup. Worst Cash-out of the Week:  $20 - 4 Leg Multi Lovey Dovey Moment @ $2.90  TOP3 Sugar Loaf @ $3 Amazing Dream @ $1.90 Line Up @ $4.50  TOP3 Would have returned $1,487 BUT was cashed out for $575 before Line Up claimed 3rd in the Sires Stks Final.

MORE HARNESS RACING FOR WYNDHAM THIS WEEKEND After their opening meeting of the season last Sunday harness racing action returns to Young Quinn Raceway in Wyndham on Sunday 17 November. Highlights include the opening heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series supported by the Southern Standardbred Breeders Assn plus the Hunter Family Pace. Ten races are programmed with the first at 12.12pm and the last at 5.24pm. Admission to the course is free. Lindsay Beer Promotions Officer Southern Harness Racing 021 351 499   Alexandra Park News – Friday 1 November Alexandra Park Christmas at the Races  |  November & December Plan the perfect Christmas Party to celebrate the end of the year with Alexandra Park Christmas at the Races. Enjoy a delicious Christmas buffet surrounded by colleagues, friends and family. We’ve got premier harness racing action featuring the IRT Inter Dominion Championship and live entertainment after the last race. Don’t delay as this is our busiest time of year, head to alexandrapark.co.nz to get your tickets! IRT Inter Dominion Championship Series  |  November & December Witness the ultimate test of equine speed and strength at this years’ IRT Inter Dominion Championship Series at Alexandra Park throughout November and December. Start with the Welcome Cocktail Party being held at the Rydges Rooftop Terrace on Thursday 28th November. Then get absolutely engulfed in harness racing action with the IRT ID19 heats (29th November, 3rd December, 6th December). Don’t miss the Barrier Draw Brunch at The Alex Bar & Eatery on Sunday 8th December to get you amped up for the GRAND FINAL on Saturday 14th December where you’ll see the best of the best go head to head to take out the championship! Keen to find out more information? Go to www.id19.co.nz   Motukarara Trotting Association Inc - AGM Notice of: Annual General Meeting of Motukarara Trotting Association Inc to be held Motukarara Raceway - 43 Duck Pond Road, Motukarara, Christchurch 7672 20th November 2019 - 7.30pm. Caroline Bennett Secretary Motukarara Trotting Association (03) 3255-835   Cheviot Harness Racing Club – Stallion Tenders The Cheviot Harness Racing Club has two stallion tenders on offer. DOWNBYTHESEASIDE – a son of Somebeachsomewhere Equal fastest 2yo in Standardbred history, paced 1.49 - Breeders Crown Final 2019/20 Service Fee RRP – $6,000+GST. PEGASUS SPUR – sire of Speeding Spur Sire of Speeding Spur – now competing at the highest level in the USA Sire of Paramount Gee Gee 2019/20 Service Fee RRP – $3,000+GST. Please send all tenders to kirsten_mcnabb@yahoo.co.nz

The most unlikely New Zealand Cup of champion trainer Mark Purdon’s career meant so much more because he didn’t drive the winner. Purdon provided the training quinella in the $750,000 New Zealand Cup at Addington yesterday but had to settle for second as a driver, as Cruz Bromac surged past his drive Spankem in the last 50m. But for Purdon the win means as much if not more than if he had clung on to win the race himself because of the man in the sulky behind Cruz Bromac. Blair Orange has won the last two national driver’s premierships but to any Canterbury harness racing driver, the New Zealand Cup is the holy grail and Purdon was thrilled to provide his former protege with the chance to get his hands on it. Orange was a long-time employee of Purdon’s famous All Stars barn and a close personal friend of Purdon, who has stuck by him in the toughest of times. He originally wasn’t in the frame to drive Cruz Bromac, who divides his time between Victoria and New Zealand. But through a series of events, including other horses being injured and other drivers being unavailable, Orange got his Cup with an inch-perfect display. “I am thrilled for Blair,” said Purdon. “He did a great job when he worked for us and has been very successful since he left. “So to be able to give him the drive on a Cup winner is immensley satisfying for us. He is a good guy and he deserves it.” Orange sure did after the drive he pulled off, firstly managing to negotiate the standing start safely with Cruz Bromac, who only rejoined the All Stars three weeks ago after spending the whole year in Victoria. They don’t have standing starts in Victoria any more so that first mini win was crucial.                                                                                                             -HRNZ photo Once safely away he has to wrest the lead off Classie Brigade and that could have left him vulnerable as Cruz Bromac is probably best known as a sprinter but the sedate Cup speed of 3:56.9 and the inches Orange saved around the marker pegs proved the difference. He grabbed Spankem, who had worked to the lead at the 1400m mark late and only by a neck, with Classie Brigade slightly luckless when forced to change ground in the home straight in third just ahead of Chase Auckland. Defending champion Thefixer was a battling fifth. There was great irony in Orange partnering Cruz Bromac to win as he had only driven him in public once before. That was when he failed to even qualify him in an early trial when Cruz Bromac was trained by Mark Jones before being sold to Australian interests and then coming back across this side of the Tasman to join the All Stars last year. He won the NZ Free-For-All then and could return to that race this Friday and now looms as a major contender for the Inter Dominions which begin at Alexandra Park in 16 days. Cruz Bromac’s win yesterday ticked him just over $1million in stakes and suggests the Australians could have a far greater role to play in the Inter Dominions than would have been expected even a few weeks ago. The horse who beat him in the Victoria Cup three starts ago in Bling It On is being set for the Auckland series while local stars like Self Assured have fallen by the wayside and while Cruz Bromac is officially trained here he will be very much claimed by the Australians as one of their's come the Inters. For Purdon it was his seventh New Zealand Cup training success as he continues to pen new pages in the record books with no end in sight. But that wasn’t why he was smiling last night. He was beaming because of what he had done for a friend.   Michael Guerin

In 26 visits to New Zealand Cup Day, Arden Rooney’s historic win stands alone as the one I treasure most, but gee yesterday came close. The whole package of Australia’s trailblazer Kerryn Manning becoming the first female to drive an NZ Cup winner in 2015 and doing it just a week after Michelle Payne was the first female jockey to win a Melbourne Cup. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. But a 24-year-old dream came true for Geelong businessman Danny Zavitsanos when the Aussie owner won the NZ Cup with Cruz Bromac. “It was Golden Reign winning here all those years ago (1995 Christchurch Inter Dominion) that first got me following the trots, now I’m here winning an NZ Cup myself,” Zavitsanos said. And Zavitsanos is a passionate and hugely important player in the game, on both sides of the ditch. Sitting next to him on the flight from Melbourne to Christchurch late on Cup Eve, he was oozing passion and daring to dream. Fast-forward less than 24 hours and the dream was reality. “I thought he was unlucky not to win this race last year, but a year older and a year more mature and he’s back here winning it,” Zavitsanos said. History will say Cruz Bromac won the Cup as a Kiwi given he’s trained by the All Stars’, but every bit as much a win for Australia, with a dash of magic from Mark Purdon, Natalie Rasmussen and Blair Orange. “We sent him back to Mark and Natalie a few weeks back to try and win this race. They’re the best for a reason,” Zavitsanos said. “But credit goes to Amanda (Grieve) and Dean (Braun), who did such a good job getting him ready back home (Victoria).” Cruz Bromac looks set to back-up in the Group 1 NZ free-for-all on Friday then it’s up to Auckland for the Inter Dominion. And Zavitsanos has a scary warning for Auckland: “He’s never raced that direction, but they think he goes better because he doesn’t get on himself like he does this direction.” Cruz Bromac’s win capped a day of huge Aussie influence. It certainly didn’t surprise any Aussies to see Tough Monarch and McLovin run the quinella in the Group 1 NZ Trotting free-for-all. And Aussie-owned pair Copy That (Merv and Meg Butterworth) and Line Up (Emilio and Mary Rosati) ran second and third respectively to the All Stars’ One Change in the Group 1 3YO Sires’ final. Tough Monarch and McLovin will back-up in Friday’s Group 1 Dominion Trot, albeit stepping-up in grade again to face NZ’s two best trotters Oscar Bonavena and Marcoola. The Aussie raid then stretches to the Auckland Inter Dominion from November 29 where Tough Monarch and now maybe McLovin as well will be our trotting hopefuls. Our best Inter Dominion pacing hopes look to be Bling It On and Colt Thirty One and I’m not writing off San Carlo after he missed the start and never looked happy in the NZ Cup yesterday.   by Adam Hamilton

By Jonny Turner Cheers of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” rang out from the Addington birdcage after New Zealand’s leading horse people combined with Australian owned pacer Cruz Bromac to win the New Zealand Cup yesterday. Cruz Bromac was an all-Australian pacer just a month before the two-mile Group 1 feature before his preparation was handed over to champion Rolleston trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. The All Stars stable’s recipe for New Zealand Cup success was completed when they engaged New Zealand’s record-breaking reinsman, Blair Orange, who produced a perfectly-timed run to win the country’s greatest race in his first drive behind the horse. Though Cruz Bromac would go down in the New Zealand Cup history books as a New Zealand-trained pacer, his part-owner Danny Zavitsanos left no uncertainty among the big Addington crowd that the New Zealand Cup was headed to Melbourne with him. Cruz Bromac’s victory delivered redemption for his group of owners following his effort for fourth in the race last year. The 9yr-old, bred by the late breeding giant Bob McArdle, paced roughly at a vital stage of last year’s race denying himself any chance of victory. “Last year he was unlucky; I really thought the horse should have won or been right in the photo. But this year he is a year older, a year wiser, everything just came to plan.   “What can I say? I am lost for words.” Purdon and Rasmussen’s masterful training ability was on show when Cruz Bromac paced perfectly throughout yesterday’s race. That was far from the case when the horse galloped wildly in a vital lead up race, the Ashburton Flying Stakes. They set about ironing out the often tricky pacer’s wild tendencies. “He hadn’t been with us long before he raced at Ashburton, with the extra time we had with him after, we worked on getting him right,” Purdon said. “I think the key to it was that he was on the inside, because he tends to go roughly the wider he goes.” “It was a great drive from Blair.” Purdon cemented his place in harness racing history with a seventh New Zealand Cup training win, five of them in partnership with Rasmussen. Orange produced a patient drive behind Cruz Bromac to add a New Zealand Cup title to his glittering harness racing record. The record-breaking reinsman had not even sat in a sulky behind the horse until three days prior to yesterday’s race. A trip to the All Stars Rolleston stable for one of the horse’s final training runs was his only contact with Cruz Bromac prior to their win. “It is just incredible, it is what dreams are made of,” Orange said. Cruz Bromac wore down his stablemate, Spankem, to win after the favourite appeared to have every chance to win the race with Purdon in the sulky. “He had his chance, but the distance just isn’t ideal for him,” the trainer-driver said. The hard luck story of the New Zealand Cup came from the camp of third-placed Classie Brigade. Driver John Dunn was desperately searching for clear room for the pacer trained by his father, Robert, for much of the run home after they ran in to a pocket behind the leaders. Classie Brigade got out when Cruz Bromac had the race won to narrowly take fourth from another All Stars pacer in Chase Auckland. The defending champions, Thefixer with Rasmussen in the sulky, battled in to fifth.   Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Ex-pat Kiwi horseman Anthony Butt put aside a hellish 18 hours to win the day’s feature trot at Addington on Tuesday. Driving Sydney visitor Tough Monarch, Butt executed an aggressive front-running drive to win the $100,000 Group 1 New Zealand Trotting Free For All. In frantic scenes, the now Sydney-based Cantabrian Butt only arrived on course mere minutes before the horses were due to go on track. Smoke from the wild fires raging in New South Wales saw his flight cancelled last evening and he only landed in the country 1 hour before the start of the race. “It was a nightmare,” he said post-race. “I went there yesterday afternoon and when I’d nearly got to the airport, I got a text that said the flight was postponed for three hours until 10 o’clock last night. “I went to them and said, tell me now if it’s not going to go and I’ll get on something else. “They said no, no it’s definitely going to go and then at about 9 o’clock they cancelled on me. “By then it was too late to get on anything else.” So, Butt went back home to Menangle and tried everything he could to try and get to Addington the next day. “I was up half the night trying to find flights. “I tried everything – through Auckland, through Melbourne, through Brisbane. “But there was only one option and it got in at 2 o’clock.” The race was set down to start at 2.47 on the other side of town. It didn’t seem likely. “But luckily we landed 10 minutes early. Plus, I only had carry-on and the attendants put me right by the door so I was first off.” His mum, Jenny Butt, picked him up and rushed across town while Butt got changed in to his driving gear in the back seat. He ran in to the Addington stables just five minutes before the horses were called on to the track. Tough Monarch, off the back of an excellent trial on the track last Wednesday, was a $3 favourite with punters and never them any cause for concern. “He felt good the whole way,” said Butt. “We sort of had to a bit early but he was comfortable and Rickie (Alchin, trainer) said to not let them get up to him. “Round the bend they started to drop off and we put a gap on them.” About then, fellow Australian trotter, McLovin, was extracted to the outside by Kate Gath and launched a grinding finish. He got close, but not close enough, and the pair recorded a famous Australian quinella on New Zealand’s biggest race day. Tough Monarch has been there or thereabouts in all the features across the ditch in recent seasons, but Tuesday’s was his first Group 1 win after three placings. “He’s just a wee professional. “It was his first Group 1, but he’s been around about it a lot of the time so he really deserves this.” Gath was thrilled with McLovin’s effort, saying he overcome a less-than-preferable draw and trip to finish close up in second. “I was really happy with him. “I was a little bit disheartened when the draws came out and we knew Tough Monarch would be tough to beat off the front. “So, to get as close as we did was pleasing and it’s a good sign for the Dominion on Friday.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight Young Christchurch trainer Darren Keast had a day he will never forget when training two upset winners on New Zealand Cup Day, Tuesday. The 22-year-old could barely believe what had just unfolded before his eyes when Ascalabus won paying $49.10 with his dad, Jamie in the cart. A couple of hours earlier, the father-and-son combo had opened the day with a victory by trotter Lovey Dovey Moment. “I absolutely flippin’ can’t believe that that’s happened,” said the younger Keast after the second win. “At the start of the day I was thinking Lovey Dovey Moment was a live chance. “And Ascalabus, it’s hard to get confident at $50 but I thought his last start at Addington was as good as it could be. “He was three-wide and just got beat on the post by a horse we dragged in to the race.” In another layer to the story, Ascalabus is owned by one of the biggest names of yesteryear, local fisheries businessman, Kypros Kotzikas, who won the New Zealand Cup in 1997 with Iraklis. “I’m just unbelievably grateful to have Kypros behind me. “How many young fellas would have a big owner like him behind them? “We’ve had our issues with the horse. “This time last year he raced in the Cup Day maiden and finished fourth and we got offered really big money for him. “But when he was checked over by the vets, he had a niggle in a leg and had to be boxed for six weeks. “Kypros was probably entitled to take him off me then but he stuck by me and gave me a go.” Training two winners on the country’s biggest race day is one thing, but having his dad drive them was the cherry on top for Keast. “It’s just unbelievable. “He served it up with that trotter; he came out and attacked Majestic Hurricane, which is a known puller, and that was really ballsy. “But it was the winning of the race. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Dad and his support and I’m forever grateful for everything he’s done for me.” Keast left school at 15 to go and work in Sydney and then Brisbane before returning to Canterbury. “I got a bit home sick so came back and started working for Cran Dalgety.” He will now turn his attention to Auckland a crack at the Inter Dominions, which start at the end of the month. “Lovey Dovey Moment is about 95 percent sure to go because he trots so much better that way around. “I’m not sure about Ascalabus though; I’ll see what Kypros is happy doing and go from there.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner Owners and racegoers looked on in disbelief as Ultimate Sniper produced a jaw-dropping performance to win the Junior Free-For-All on New Zealand Cup day. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained 4yr-old set a big Addington crowd buzzing with a tough effort that reminded harness fans why he is New Zealand’s reigning champion 3yr-old. Rasmussen was denied the chance to take the Bettor’s Delight pacer to the front early in the race, when driver Matt Anderson insisted on holding the front with A Bettor Act. That set Ultimate Sniper a massive task to win – one that co-owner Phil Kennard admitted he thought was impossible during the running 2600m Group 3 feature. “I wasn’t confident at all, when he was doing all that work.” “To run 3.06 with a run like that was phenomenal.” Ultimate Sniper stopped the clock in a sizzling 3-06.4, setting a new race record in the Junior Free-For-All on New Zealand Cup day. The performance was undoubtedly the best of Ultimate Sniper’s 4yr-old campaign, that has included a derailed New Zealand Cup bid. Kennard puts the horse bouncing back to his best on the country’s biggest stage down to his conditioning. The pacer was sent to the paddock for several months after his 3yr-old season was ended early by injury. Ultimate Sniper made the most of it, returning to work for his 5yr-old campaign far from the sleek athlete that won on Tuesday. “Today is the first day we have seen his ribs – he just hasn’t been ready,” Kennard said. “But, when I saw him at the stables yesterday I though this horse is ready.” Purdon said the All Stars stable would monitor Ultimate Sniper’s recovery before making a decision on whether the horse would start in Friday’s New Zealand Free-For-All. The master trainer said his first inclination was not to line the 4yr-old up on Friday. Rasmussen made sure her charge was not going to be unlucky by taking Ultimate Sniper to the parked position. The leading reinswoman said it was a case of taking advantage of the horse’s drop in class after he had competed in New Zealand Cup lead up races. “The way he did it - I knew I had to drive him with a fair amount of confidence,” Rasmussen said. “That [race] was a bit of a class drop from what he has been racing – he has been going good races behind Spankem and Chase Auckland.” Ultimate Sniper’s withdrawal from the New Zealand Cup and his win on Tuesday has now seen his season evolve in to a transitioning term. “It was just a year too soon for him for the cup,” Rasmussen said. “He is a good horse.” “I really think next year will be his year.” Rasmussen used contrasting tactics when driving One Change to win the New Zealand Sires Stakes Final. The All Stars 3yr-old held out stablemates Copy That and One Change in a thrilling finish to the Group 1 feature. Rasmussen elected to slot One Change in to the trail behind Line Up and driver Anthony Butt early in the race. The energy she saved there may have given One Change the winning edge to hold out the fast finish of Copy That and driver David Butcher. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

A dream was fulfilled at Addington today as Victorian owner Danny Zavitsanos grasped the famed New Zealand Trotting Cup after Cruz Bromac stormed past his celebrated stablemates to salute. The Geelong part-owner was thrilled to secure the $750,000 Group 1 race, captured when Cruz Bromac won for reinsman Blair Orange and co-trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. “When Golden Reign won the New Zealand Cup all those years ago I was always hoping I could get a horse to be in the NZ Cup, now to win it - I’m ecstatic," Mr Zavitsanos said. “I thought last year he was unlucky. I thought the horse really should have won or been in the photo. This year, he’s a year older, a year wiser, everything’s just come to plan." Mr Zavitsanos shares ownership with wife Joanna, New South Wales pair Peter and Zilla O'Shea and Tasmania's Warren Viney, while Cruz Bromac has recently been trained by Amanda Grieve in Victoria before recently rejoining New Zealand's All Stars team for this present campaign. “Lost for words, but I’d like to thank (reinsman Blair Orange), and ... Mark and Dean Braun and Amanda Grieve, who had the horse too, the plan just come together," Mr Zavitsanos said. “I’m rapt. Really excited. It all went to plan, really excited and happy to be part of this big day here." Orange had worked for almost half a lap to find the front early on Cruz Bromac, before being crossed by stablemates Thefixer and then Spankem, which left Victorian hope San Carlo exposed in the breeze. San Carlo had galloped away from the tapes in his first standing start but soon regained his gait and joined the running line, tracking Spankem until Mark Purdon slid to the front. While the pace was only fair, the occasion had taken its toll and San Carlo's race was run well before the final turn. The tiring running line enabled Cruz Bromac to emerge from three back the pegs at the turn and from there Orange and the Falcon Seelster eight-year-old did the rest. "I was a little worried, the speed down the back wasn’t that strong, but to the horse’s credit he travelled super around the corner and let down when I asked him," Orange said. “Around the corner Natalie seemed a wee bit flat-footed and I was still travelling pretty nicely. I just had to wait for him to get around the corner, he gets on the pole and gets a bit awkward, once he balanced up he let down really nice. “Full credit to the horse, Mark and Natalie prepared him super for the day. What a thrill." Spankem ran second while Classie Brigade was hunting a run in the closing stages and boxed on well for third ahead of Chase Auckland and Thefixer, with Purdon and Rasmussen's All Stars producing four of the first five placegetters.   HRV Trots Media

The Aussies have sent shockwaves through the Australasian trotting ranks with a dominant one-two in today's Commodore Airport Hotel Free For All. Tough Monarch led all-the-way to salute in the $100,000 Group 1 in track record time, with Rickie Alchin's New South Wales trotter narrowly holding off fast-finishing Victorian McLovin, who was a clear second for Andy and Kate Gath. Winning reinsman Anthony Butt, who arrived on track only minutes before the big race owing to a delayed flight, said he "could feel (McLovin) coming up the straight" but held on to win narrowly. “It’s a big thing for an Aussie horse to win a Group 1 over here, it doesn’t happen very often," Butt said. "Good on them for giving it a go and getting the result. “(Tough Monarch) has come on in leaps and bounds the last 12 months. Big credit to Rickie, he’s handled it beautifully and I’m very lucky to be on it." The result will only further fuel speculation, revealed pre-race by Adam Hamilton, that McLovin's on-again off-again tilt at the forthcoming Inter Dominion may be back on again. More is expected to be known at weeks end, Hamilton said on the Sky Racing Active coverage. For the victor, the win is enormous reward for Alchin, who invested great patience into Tough Monarch. Starting his life in Queensland, the young colt looked set to be a case of a talented horse who went off the rails, having been considered unsuitable for racing due to his headstrong nature. That was until talented young trainer Alchin broke the horse in. Tough Monarch then went to Dennis Wilson, who had trained the trotter’s mother in the latter part of her career, but two or three preps later and he had done all he could to little avail. “I had always had in the back of my mind that I’d like to have a go with him if the opportunity ever came up,” Alchin said. “Make no mistake, when I broke him in he was very difficult to handle, but you just couldn’t get to the bottom of him on the track, he was so strong. “I said to Dennis (Wilson) that if he ever had enough that I wouldn’t mind trying him out and that’s how it all sort of unfolded.” Almost four years later, the horse that was once destined for the scrap heap in an international Group 1 winner.   HRV Trots Media

Harness racing Down Under "Breeders Crown winners" this week take out the Matron Stakes. New Zealand born trainer/driver duo, Nifty Norman and Dexter Dunn were once again successful this time in the $181,000 Matron Stakes on Thursday at Dover Downs. They teamed up with Amigo Volo a 2yo trotting gelding by Father Patrick gapping rivals to win in a time of 1:52.4. Coming in a huge 1.6 seconds in front of the second place getter.  Just two weeks ago the same trio won the $790,000 2yo Trotting Colts and Geldings Final in Canada. Amigo Hall has had 11 starts for 6 wins and 2 seconds for earnings of $700,000 lifetime to date. A recent arrival in North America that is making news is Lifeonthebeach A at Saratoga. A Somebeachsomewhere 5yo gelding that raced in Australia, Lifeonthebeach had 34 starts for 7 wins 11 seconds and 3 thirds for $76,410. His last 10 starts at Albion Park resulted in no wins.  Lifeonthebeach bled in Australia twice and as a result was barred from racing for life from its last start on the 22nd of June 2019. What a waste of of very good horse! Sold to North America for next to nothing Lifeonthebeach has had 10 starts for 7 wins and 1 second for $35,000 in earnings to date and has taken a record of 1:53 on a half-mile track. Why Lasix cannot be used Down Under to help a horse really does not make sense to me. Monday 4th November Dover Downs DE Bad Boy Brad A – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $7,000   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Crombie A – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $4,500   Plainridge Park MA Zinny Mach N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $12,000 Stihl N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $8,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Shecandance N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $19,000   Tuesday 5th November   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Benson Boys N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $15,000 Lynbar Rose N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $11,000   The Meadows PA Hilary Barry N – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $7,500 Amelia’s Courage A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $20,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Beyondthesilence N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $12,500 Shes Sporty A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $12,500 Lettucerockthem A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $17,000   Wednesday 6th November   Dover Downs DE Lincolns Girl N – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $14,000 Delishka N – Time: 1:50.2, Stake: $25,000   The Meadows PA The Spinster N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $9,600   Thursday 7th November   Dover Downs DE Mister Ohanzee A – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $9,000 Johnny Disco A – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $15,000   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Djokovic N – Time: 1:58.2, Stake: $7,000   Monticello Raceway NY Milady Denver A – Time: 1:59.1, Stake: $3,300   Plainridge Park MA Tisadream N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $10,500 Fernleigh Rebel N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $9,000 Bettors Fire N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $20,000   Saratoga Harness NY Myeyesadoreya N – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $4,500 Miss Irish Rose A – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $14,000 The Charging Moa N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $18,000 Gina Grace N – Time: 1:56.4, Stake: $14,000 Culinary Delight N – Time: 1:58.3, Stake: $4,500   Harrahs Hoosier Park IN Captain Dolmio N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $10,000 Backup A – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $8,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Lovin Miss Daisy N – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $17,000 Highview Conall N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $12,500   Friday 8th November   Batavia Downs NY Iammrbrightside N – Time: 1:57.3, Stake: $4,900   Freehold Raceway NJ Eden Paige N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $6,300   Harrahs Hoosier Park IN The Empiressister N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $12,000   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Gold Orchid N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $18,000 Lucky Artist A – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $11,000 American Empress N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $8,500   Meadowlands NJ Shezza GNP N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $12,500 Rockin The Boys A – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $16,000 Glenferrie Bronte N – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $9,750   Yonkers Raceway NY Kaitlyn N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $42,000   Saturday 9th November   Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway OH Sammy The Bull N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $15,000   Meadowlands NJ Whittaker N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $9,000 Jacks Shadow N – Time: 1:50.4, Stake: $21,000 Franco Totem N – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $16,000 Barimah A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $12,500   Saratoga Harness NY Fcee N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $6,420 Chumlee A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $5,000 Bettor Not Bitter A – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $18,000 Lifeonthebeach A – Time: 1:54.3, Stake: $11,770   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Stars Align A – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $12,500   Sunday 10th November   Harrah’s Philadelphia PA Billy Badger N – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $11,000 Persistent Threat A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $11,000 Firenglow A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $7,000 Bright Diamond N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $12,500   Pompano Park FL Kotare Yael N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $7,000   Saratoga Harness NY Mr Cool Seaeyre N – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $18,000   Scarborough Downs ME Milwood Faith N – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $4,400   Previous weeks 12th November 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th of Nov 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29th October 2019 + Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 22nd October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 15th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 8th October 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 1st October 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 24th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 17th Sep 2019 - Down Under Winners with Carter Dalgety 11th Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 3rd Sep 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 27th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 20th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 12th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 5th Aug 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 29 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety 24 Jul 2019 - Down Under winners with Carter Dalgety   Carter Dalgety

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