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Chase Auckland is the outright favourite for the Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup after the barrier draw tonight at the MCG. Punters swarmed on $3.3 and backed the Kiwi five-year-old after he draw gate four. Unlucky in the Ballarat Cup last time out when an eye-catching third to A G’s White Socks, Chase Auckland drew much better than that horse for Saturday night’s $500,000 Hunter Cup.  A G’s White Socks will have to come from gate 11. Four-year-old freak Lochinvar Art, who shocked Australasia with his blistering track-record run of 1:48.6 in the 4YO Bonanza, drew gate seven tonight, while Mach Shard (pictured, by Stuart McCormick) is a live chance from barrier two, one spot outside of Alta Orlando in gate one. Craig Demmler had no luck at the gate draw, pulling barrier 13 with My Kiwi Mate. Despite the alley, Demmler is far from conceding. “On his run the other night I was rapt. I think he was a little bit short of a run. He’s an opportunist, I’ve always said that. But I always go back to 2000 and he just reminds me so much of Breenys Fella and this guy gives me so much joy. I just hope he can help our supporters out and get home. I’m really happy with how he’s working,” Demmler said. The barrier draw was also conducted for the What The Hill Great Southern Star, with full details here.   GoodForm analyst Blake Redden breaks down the Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup chances runner-by-runner immediately post-barrier draw 1. Alta Orlando ($7.5 at TAB) Underrated pacer who was outstanding in the Blacks A Fake over winter. The big question is whether he can hold Mach Shard early, if he doesn’t he’ll likely end up shuffled back and playing for luck. 2. Mach Shard ($4 with TAB) Quick beginner who will hand over to an appropriate rival if he finds the pegs early. The way he is going right now he deserves to be one the second favourite. 3. King Of Swing (Emergency $10 with TAB) – X-factor horse who ripped around Menangle recently and if he gets a run he’ll make his presence felt. 4. Chase Auckland ($3.1 with TAB) Only continues to enhance his reputation after a run of the race performance in the Ballarat Cup. Is tonight the night the All Stars pull the trigger and fire him forward in search of the lead? 5. Cash N Flow ($21 with TAB) Definite question marks about this guy over a staying trip and while he does have some early toe, he may not want to use it here. 6. Triple Eight ($21 with TAB) Progressive pacer who stepped up to be competitive through the Inter Dominion. He will need plenty to go right but he might just be the best of the roughies with the right run. 7. Lochinvar Art ($8.5 with TAB) The excitement horse of the race but he’s been dealt a cruel blow at the draw. Probably looks to slide back early and get a cart in late. 8. Our Uncle Sam ($21 with TAB) This draw will either be a blessing or a curse but this will be a tough ask even if a few things go his way. 9. Code Bailey ($11 with TAB) Follows out a quick beginner. He’s still unlikely to find the front which will make it pretty difficult. 10. Bling It On ($9 with TAB) Versatile pacer who looks to be getting back to his mind-boggling Victoria Cup form from earlier in the season. If there is any chink in his rivals armory, he can expose it. 11. A Gs White Socks ($7 with TAB) Ballarat Cup winner who is by no means a one trick pony. He will drift from what was equal favouritism pre-draw but I’m expecting him to have supporters on the night. 12. San Carlo ($41 with TAB) Gets his chance to be driven ice cold in a big race which has worked for him in the past. Expect to see him driven quietly and rushing home late if there’s speed on. 13. My Kiwi Mate ($51 with TAB) Dynamic sit/sprinter at this level but he’ll need plenty of favours to win here.   HRV Trots Media - Cody Winnell

New Zealand rising superstar Oscar Bonavena opened $2.8 favourite immediately after the barrier draw tonight for the What The Hill Great Southern Star despite drawing outside of Inter Dominion champ Tornado Valley. The Mark Purdon-trained Oscar Bonavena pulled barrier four at the barrier draw, which was conducted at the MCG, with Andy Gath-trained Tornado Valley securing gate three. Purdon said Oscar Bonavena was underdone when he ran eighth first-up in Australia in last weekend's Dullard Cup. “He trained well this morning but going back to the run, when he came over, he’s got a couple of issues. We decided to do a bit of swimming and I don’t think he got enough out of it. He went into Saturday night a little bit short,” Purdon said. But this weekend will be a different story. Purdon was definitive.  “He trained great this morning and I’m sure we’ll see a fitter Oscar Bonavena this week," he said. “We’ll come out well but I don’t think you want to get into a speed duel early. He’ll cross to one off the markers and hopefully one out wide comes out with him and gives him cover, that’d be the best scenario. "But he’ll be back to full fitness by Saturday." Josh Dickie, who has picked up the drive aboard Gath-trained McLovin, said he was thrilled to be driving for such a respected trainer of trotters. “It's great to drive for Andy, I’m sure he’ll have the horse in good order and hopefully we have some luck," he said. “The first time I sat behind McLovin I was very impressed. I’d always seen him go well in Australia but sometimes it’s not until you drive them you think ‘he’s a bit better than I thought’. He gave me a lovely feel. It was a shame what happened to him at Auckland because I dare say Inter Dominion series would have been a bit different if he’d been 100 per cent." But Dickie said he had a lot of respect for Oscar Bonavena and in fact said the Kiwi was "no doubt our top trotter going forward".  “Oscar’s a special horse and with the wrap that’s been on him he’s probably been criticised a lot heavier than others would have been. He’s a four-year-old, so he’s a baby compared to the open-class trotters. From what I’ve seen and I’ve driven against him, his speed is phenomenal." Reigning Great Southern Star champ Dance Craze drew inside the back row in barrier eight, which could suit the powerful sit-sprinter, while noted on-pacer Red Hot Tooth was a big winner, snaring barrier one for trainer Kari Males.  Shortly after markets reopened following the draw Majestic Man was specked, $16 into $14.  Meanwhile, Caduceus Club MC and noted trotting form student Bill Hutchison said this line-up was possibly the "greatest trotting field" assembled in Australian history.  No driver has ever won two Great Southern Stars, but previous winners Kate Gath (who drove 2017 champion Glenferrie Typhoon) and Mark Purdon (who drove Dance Craze last year) look a good chance to break that tradition this year aboard Tornado Valley and Oscar Bonavena.  GoodForm's Blake Redden described Tornado Valley as "the best leader we've seen in the trotting ranks for many a year" and says the local is the "horse to beat". His full comments can be read below.   GoodForm analyst Blake Redden breaks down the What The Hill Great Southern Star chances runner-by-runner immediately post-barrier draw 1: Red Hot Tooth ($7 with TAB) This mare has the speed to kick through early and given she’ll likely sit on one of the favourite for the race, she’s a genuine knockout chance. 2: Massive Metro ($13 with TAB) Had an outstanding Inter Dominion in his homeland and he is pretty tough so he’s hard to discount despite the potentially tricky gate. 3: Tornado Valley ($3 with TAB) Arguably the best leader we’ve seen in the trotting ranks for many a year. He has the gate speed to lead and while he never wins by big margins, he’s the horse to beat. 4: Oscar Bonavena ($2.8 with TAB) Disappointing at his first Australian start but he has a huge boom on him. He should settle handy and clearly one of the horses to beat. 5: Sky Petite ($61 with TAB) Quality mare at her best but even with all her gate speed she’s unlikely to lead which makes it hard to see her winning. 6: Sundons Courage ($101 with TAB) This fella has come back in great form but he’s unlikely to lead from out wide which makes things tricky for him here. 7: Tough Monarch ($35 with TAB) Hard to know exactly how this bloke is going, he’s probably going to have to do work at some stage which is a tough ask in this type of race. 8: Dance Craze ($13 with TAB) The nation’s most exciting trotting mare is unlikely to be any closer than three poles in transit but if the gaps open she’ll be roaring home. 9: Margaret Ruth (EM) ($151 with TAB) Lovely mare who will enjoy the staying trip if she gets a run but this is as strong a race as she’s ever seen. 10: Majestic Man ($14 with TAB) Established himself through the New Zealand Inter Dominion series and in any other year he’d be in this up to his ears. In this edition he will need everything to go right. 11: Mclovin ($16 with TAB) Quality trotter at his best. He’ll need a few things to go his way from out the back and he’s probably stronger than he is quick which may not be suitable the way the draws have fallen. 12: Temporale ($7 with TAB) A good barrier wasn’t required for his stunning win last weekend but he will need some fortune from out here. 13: Wobelee ($31 with TAB) Total excitement machine who measured up at his first crack at this level at Ballarat. He’s out of the draw but if they run along in front he will produce a booming finish.   JASON BONNINGTON AND ADAM HAMILTON ARE JOINED BY MARK PURDON, CRAIG DEMMLER AND JOSH DICKIE: WATCH A REPLAY OF THE HUNTER CUP AND GREAT SOUTHERN STAR BARRIER DRAWS:   HRV Trots Media - Cody Winnell

Mention the name Mark Dennis to New Zealand based harness racing fans and they might vaguely remember a young Purdon / Payne trained runner with a fair bit of ability. Mention the same name to Australian followers of the game and you’ll be quickly made aware that the horse is still winning! That’s right, the now 11 year old ex-kiwi brought up his 45th win just last week at Menangle clocking an impressive 1:52.9 for the mile in the hands of Lauren Tritton.    Mark Dennis started his career in victorious style in late mid October of 2011 at Addington Raceway with a victory over the likes of All Star Man (8 subsequent wins) and the Cran Dalgety trained speed-machine Texican. His last start on New Zealand soil came just three weeks later in the Sires Stakes 3yr Old Final and saw the gelding by Bettor’s Delight produce a fighting 5th behind Texican after having to work around the field mid-race, his late charge up the passing lane peaking a little too soon to see him victorious.   The horse was almost immediately exported to Australia where he’s excelled ever since.   His racing career on the track in Australia has seen it’s fair share of highlights and close calls. A Group 3 victory in the ‘Temprid Insecticide Pace” eradicated any notion that the horse couldn’t compete for Group honors. That effort was quickly followed by a slew of group racing appearances with a 3rd in the Group 1 Cordina Sprint of 2014 behind Suave Stuey Lombo most probably representing the zenith of his career. A long stint in South Australia from 2014-2018 saw consistent results particularly around the Globe Derby track with both Mark Billinger and Ryan Hryhorec enjoying success when partnered with the bay. Mark Dennis The well travelled horse, whose career now spans a total of 249 starts, has won races at tracks throughout Australia with victories at Mildura, Melton, Albion Park, Kapunda and Cranbourne to go alongside his most winning ways around Menangle and the fore-mentioned Globe Derby. His most recent turning-back-the-clock performance a reminder to all that  writing off  Mark Dennis due to his advancing years is a very risky proposition indeed. The racing success of Mark Dennis can, at least partly, be attributed to his impeccable breeding as the son of Bettor’s Delight is out of the proven broodmare Twice As Good. Along with Mark Dennis the Butler B G mare has foaled Fight Fire With Fire (7 wins, $150,000) the Group 1 Queen Of Hearts winner Waitfornoone and the consistent St Barts who ran Monkey King to a nose at Addington in the Winter Cup of 2009.  He’d go on to notch up 14 wins and over $150,000 in earnings across both New Zealand and Australia. A number of yearlings from this strong family are to be offered at the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale. Two of which both come from the Breckon Farms draft. Lot 118, a brown filly by A Rocknroll Dance, is out of Fellamongstabeauty (1 win from 2 starts) who is a 1/2 sister to the mother of the dominate 4yr old Pacing Mare Of The Year Elle Mac. Elle Mac claimed numerous Group 1 titles including, but not limited to, the Northern Oaks, Sires Stakes 3yr Old Fillies Championship, Caduceus Club 2yr old Fillies and Harness Jewels. The A Rocknroll Dance sire choice makes sense when you consider that the now Australian based Miss Streisand, who placed 4th in the Victorian Oaks, is also by the sire and raced with distinction in New Zealand prior to being exported. Lot 118 - Dancing Desire Lot 121 is another yearling with close ties to Mark Dennis. “In The Spotlight” a Bettor’s Delight filly is out of the early-going Goodlookingbabe who was impressive on the track with 3 wins from just 14 starts when racing out of the Geoff Small stable. “In The Spotlight” is only the second foal out of the mare with her first foal being sold for $35’000 at the 2019 sales. Lot 121 - In The Spotlight Ben McMillan  

A very tough Down Under harness racing pacer continues winning races at aged 12. Bettors Fire N, the winner of over $1m, wins again at Yonkers Raceway, in the $20,000 pace in 1:54.1, for trainer Heidi Gibbs and driver Ron Cushing. It was the son of Bettors Delights 57th career victory and holds a lifetime mark of 1:50.2. While racing Down Under, Bettors Fire N was the winner of a staggering 12 Group races and was also placed at Group level on a further 10 occasions. Bettors Fire N is out of top mare Sparks A Flyin 1:52 ($650,000), makes him a ¾ brother to Saturday nights Victorian Oaks winner Dr Susan NZ. This is a family in top form. Bettors Fire N Nice Down Under pacer ticks over a quarter of a million dollars in stakes with latest win. Stars Align A was seen winning the $22,000 pace at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night, clocking a time of 1:54.2 around the half mile (800m) racetrack, for trainer Rene Allard and driver Daniel Dube. It notched the son of Art Major's lifetime earnings past $313,000, while being his 16th career victory. The 7yo Entire holds a lifetime marks of 1:50.8. When racing Down Under, Stars Align was placed at Group level twice while racing at stakes level. Stars Align A   Monday 20th January   Yonkers Raceway NY Bettors Fire N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $20,000 Alberto Contador N – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $14,500 Globaldomination N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $16,000   Tuesday 21st January   The Meadows PA The Spinster N – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $9,600   Yonkers Raceway NY Motu Moonbeam N – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $14,500   Wednesday 22nd January   Dover Downs DE Bettor Rock On N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $5,000 Firebby A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $7,500 Anytime N – Time: 1:52.0, Stake: $9,500 Rock N Shard N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $16,000 Delishka N – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $25,000 Flashazz N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $11,500   Monticello Raceway NY Naughty Maravu N – Time: 1:57.2, Stake: $5,500   Rosecroft Raceway MD Jive Dancing A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $8,500   Thursday 23rd January   Dover Downs DE Bad Boy Brad A – Time: 1:51.2, Stake: $15,000   Monticello Raceway NY Fiery Lustre N – Time: 1:59.2, Stake: $2,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Shezallapples A – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $12,500   Friday 24th January   Miami Valley Raceway OH Onspeed N – Time: 1:57.2, Stake: $10,000   The Meadows PA Mister Spot A – Time: 1:52.2, Stake: $13,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Northern Assassin A – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $12,500 Milliondollargem A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $22,000 Sudden Change N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $20,000 Titanium N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $14,500   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Sly Eleanor N – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $20,00   Saturday 25th January   Freehold Raceway NJ Shineonucrazydiamond A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $12,000 Matchu N – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $7,700   Meadowlands NJ Lifeonthebeach A – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $11,250   Miami Valley Raceway OH Iam Erik N – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $15,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Anythingforlove A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $20,000 Stars Align A – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $22,000 Soho Lennon A – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $27,000   Woodbine Mohawk Park CA Sweet N Fast N – Time: 1:57.0, Stake: $12,000 Heza Thrill N – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $14,000   Sunday 26th January   Pompano Park FL Alluneedisfaith N – Time: 1:51.0, Stake: $9,500   Carter Dalgety

Sometimes it’s all about timing. Last weekend, just three weeks out from the NZB Standardbred New Zealand National Standardbred Yearling Sale in Christchurch, Southern Bred Southern Reared horses shone on both sides of the Tasman. The southern charge was led by the Debbie and Mark Smith bred Mach Shard. His win in the Group Two Allied Express Casey Classic at Tabpark in Melton Australia was outstanding. He looked to be battling to get past Cash N Flow, but under the urging of driver Zac Butcher the horse dug deep to win by 1.4 metres. The winning time was 2-36.8 a 1-52.8 mile rate for the 2240 metres. Mach Shard was bought for $200,000 by Barry Purdon at the 2018 Christchurch Sale and was the leading sale of his year. He’s well and truly recouped that investment with $321,413 in the bank and more to come. The dam of Mach Shard, Sly Shard, has now left the winners of forty six races and over $1.8 million dollars in stakes. Those heading to next month’s yearling sales in Christchurch will be able to buy some close relatives to Mach Shard. Lochart Shard a colt by Bettor’s Delight out of Lady Gaga, Moet Shard a Bettor’s Delight filly out of Pemberton Shard, Van Shard an Art Major colt out of Shards Echo and Lexie Shard a Bettor’s Delight filly out of Sly Shard,  all have Mach Shard on their pedigree page. Lexie Shard Earlier on the same card SBSR Perfect Stride ran third in the $200,000 Group One Victoria Derby Final. The three year old by Bettor’s Delight out of Chicago Blues was bred in Southland by John and Katrina Price and sold for $190,000 at the last Sale of the Stars in 2018. He’s won $89,405 for his Australian owners Emilio and Mary Rosati. Perfect Stride as a yearling Meanwhile at Alexandra Park on Friday two high priced SBSR yearlings from the 2019 Sale in Christchurch ran first and third in the last Young Guns Heat. The race was won by the more experienced Platinum Stride. The Captaintreacherous colt out of Southwind Arden was bred by John and Judy Stiven and was sold to the Rosati’s for $82,500. The Stivens have a couple of relatives to Platinum Stride in next month’s NZB Sale – Arden UBeaut (Sweet Lou – Winter Rose filly) and Arden’s Horizon (Bettor’s Delight – Arden’s Rose colt). Vanquish Stride finished third with inexperience costing him a higher placing. He was bred by Debbie and Mark Smith who have a half-sister to him (Moet Shard) in the Christchurch Sale. Moet Shard Vanquish Stride sold for $170,000. He to is owned by Emilio and Mary Rosati who are becoming big fans of the SBSR product. After results like last weekend who can blame them! The SBSR Tour Group last year at John and Katrina Prices   Bruce Stewart

JOSH Dickie’s Melbourne holiday just got a more exciting. Dickie came to Melbourne with partner, Sammy Kilgour, to watch her star pacer Bling It On chase the Hunter Cup. But now Dickie has picked-up a Group 1 drive himself, aboard the Andy and Kate Gath-trained McLovin in Saturday night’s $250,000 Great Southern Star at Tabcorp Park Melton. Kate Gath was expected to wait until tomorrow night’s (Tuesday) barrier draw to choose her drive, but has already committed to former Inter Dominion champion Tornado Valley. “Kate’s definitely driving Tornado so we offered Josh (Dickie) the drive on McLovin,” Andy Gath said. “Josh helped look after McLovin for us when he was in NZ and the Dickie’s also gave Kate a drive on Speeding Spur during one of his trips to Melbourne.” McLovin led and was rundown late when third to Temporale in the Group 1 Dullard Cup at Melton last Saturday night. “We expected him to go a little better, but the lead time was quick and he had to really sprint-up down the back when Oscar Bonavena made his run at us,” Andy Gath said. “Maybe we’d also been a bit kind on him going into it, so hopefully he’ll be better for the run. I’m sure he’s right up to the best ones if he’s right at his top.”  Tornado Valley skipped the Dullard Cup after galloping the in the score-up, losing valuable ground and finishing second in the Cochran Cup behind Dance Craze on Ballarat Cup tonight. That gallop in the score-up caused more of a headache that just the Ballarat defeat for the Gaths with Tornado Valley placed out of the draw and requiring two trials to be re-included. “He’s had the first trial and will have the second at Melton tomorrow (Tuesday),” Andy Gath said. “Providing he does everything right in the trial, he’ll be back in the draw for this week, which is obviously crucial to his chances.” A front row draw is vital for Tornado Valley, who is unbeaten in Australia when leading since he moved here two years ago. The draws for the Great Southern Star and Hunter Cup are later than usual, being held as part of a Caduceus Club function at the Melbourne Cricket Ground tomorrow (Tuesday night).   By Adam Hamilton

The Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games is expecting a few more four-legged visitors through its support of animal welfare organisations. Retired Working Dogs, Greyhounds as Pets, Life After Racing and Canine Friends Pet Therapy Dogs, will bring a new dimension to the Games says founder Steve Hollander. "Dogs and horses are a huge part of many successful farms and families and have been for generations. I’m thrilled that we’ve had sponsors come on board to help each of these charities to raise their public profile during the Games." Retired Working Dogs, sponsored by Coprice, is a charity that finds forever homes for retired working dogs. Fundraising Manager, Karen Cox says some dogs come from large stations and are unable to keep up with the demands of a busy working life but would suit a smaller farm or lifestyle block, while others have sustained career ending injuries. A different kind of working dog is represented by Greyhounds as Pets, sponsored by Garrards Horse and Hound. The charity has been at the Rural Games for the past two years says Greyhounds as Pets Head of Marketing and Communications Katherine O’Connor. "The Games allow us to showcase the true nature of greyhounds to families - they are the perfect pet to adopt and quickly become part of the family," she says. Harness Racing New Zealand has a vision for Standardbred welfare where "Every Standardbred horse should be treated with respect, compassion and understanding and shall receive a standard of care which allows them to enjoy a good quality of life while in the racing industry and on retirement." Harness Racing New Zealand will have a presence at the Rural Games for the first time. "Our mission is to work with the racing industry (trainers, breeders, and owners) rehoming groups, government organisations and welfare groups to enable the care of the Standardbred horses to exceed the current animal welfare standards. Standardbreds can have successful careers after racing in many equestrian disciplines. Our aim is to increase awareness of their suitability for showing, sports horse activities, trekking and so much more," says Harness Racing New Zealand’s General Manager Corporate Services, Liz Bishop. The other charity is Canine Friends Pet Therapy. Their volunteers take well-behaved dogs into rest homes, hospices, special education units and hospitals around the country. Ann Evans, the Manawatu Events Coordinator and Liaison Officer of Canine Friends Pet Therapy says dogs make a genuine difference to the outlook of people who are going through a difficult time - and that’s something we really see a lot in the rural community. "For those who have retired from farm life, or who are too ill to be on the farm - they really miss the daily interaction with their animals so seeing and interacting with dogs can make a huge difference to their outlook." Steve Hollander says the addition of the charities will be a welcome addition to the 2020 Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games and will be a huge hit with our competitors and attendees - young and old alike. Reprinted with permission of Voxy.co.nz

Vincennes, France – Following the outside cover of Davidson Du Pont, harness racing driver Bjorn Goop and Face Time Bourbon weaved their way around horses and was able to post a two-length triumph to win the 100th Grand Prix d’Amerique race at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes Sunday. It was the 19th victory in just 22 career starts for Face Time Bourbon. The five-year-old son of two-time Prix d’Amerique winner, Ready Cash, is now harness racing newest international trotting star. The race began with a Calvary charge for control of the early lead with horses racing three-wide for the first half mile of the 1.67-mile race (2,700 meters). Billie De Montfort (Gabriele Gelormini) held the early lead, then Excellent (Alexandre Abrivard) got to the front and Propulsion (Orjan Kihlstrom) was able to drop into the two-hole along the rail. And all the while there was Davidson Du Pont and driver Franck Ouvire parked out first-over and not giving up an inch. Meanwhile, Goop and Face Time Bourbon were following their cover second over. Excellent then went off-stride and that allowed Looking Superb (David Thomain) a brief time on the lead, but as they finally reached the top of the stretch, Davidson Du Pont, parked the mile, was in the lead, but Goop moved down along the rail and passed them by with Face Time Bourbon for the victory in 1’11’50. Davidson Du Pont held for the second place with the mare, Belina Josselyn (Jean-Michel Bazire), last year’s Prix d’Amerique winner, finishing third. Bold Eagle was never in the hunt and finished 10th in the field of 18 starters. Ringostarr Treb, making his final start before going to the stud barn, make a break and finished last. Trained by Sebastien Guarato, Face Time Bourbon is owned by Scuderia Bivans SLR. It was his sixth straight win. He went off at odds of 4.9-1 odds. Before the Prix d’Amerique race, everyone at the track was treated to an unbelievable show on the racetrack celebrating American soldiers coming to help France in World War I. The crowds were so packed that is was impossible to try and get on the track apron to watch the show. Luckily for most, it was broadcast on all three jumbo screens in the infield. It was a presentation that left many speechless, amazed and proud to be part of this special day’s events. On the track were the following: 100 children dressed in driver colors with helmets 100 Horse costume parade and dance 100 Harley-Davidson motorcycles parade, each with an American Flag 100 cheerleaders in USA outfits carrying Prix d’Amerique and American Flags Introduction of the 18 drivers in the Prix d’Amerique race, each driver came through the throngs of crowds, holding the hand of a child dressed in USA colors. Drivers giving Hi-Fives to fans, posing for selfies and then were escorted off the track on two-seater Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Before the Prix d’Amerique race there was an outstanding performance of horsemanship by the French Royal Lancers. They performed precision riding with both lances and sabers while their special band played. There was also a very strong undercard at Vincennes with seven Graded Stakes. Total purses for the day was over 1.6 million euros. Major sponsors of this year’s Prix d’Amerique included Case IH Agriculture, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Lalique, RMC Sports Talk Radio, Gras Savoye, Lenotre Paris, FRM (Medicale), 20 Minutes and Printemps Nation. 100,000€ Prix Harley-Davidson This Groupe II stake was monte (racing under saddle) going 2700 meters (1.67 miles). It was a standing start and once the word go was given, jockey Mathie Mottier came charging from the far outside with Fame Music to take a commanding six length lead. As the field settled down, Flicka De Blary and jockey Camille Levesque went on the outside and had to settle for a pocket trip behind Fame Music as those two held a five-length lead over the field. Then as they came around the final turn, Fame Music went off-stride and was pulled to the inside of the track. That left Flicka De Blary and Levesque all alone in the lead and they held that lead through the stretch to win by six open lengths in 1”14’10. Flicka De Blary is a five-year-old mare by Sam Bourbon. She is trained by Thomas Levesque for the Levesque Stable. Flicka De Blary was the 2-1 favorite. 100,000€ Prix Case This Groupe II stake was another monte event but longer in distance at 2,850 meters (1.77 miles). The race belonged to Emir De Robomard and jockey Julien Raffestin who took the early lead away from Aribo Mix (Guillaume Martin) and then led the field nearly the entire race. As they charged down the stretch, Canan Prior and jockey Aurelien Desmarres kept gaining ground and collared Emir De Robomard at the wire to win by a half-length in 1’13’80. It was the 21st win for the eight-year-old son of Sancho Panca, who is owned and trained by Sylvain Desmarres. He went off at odds of 4-1. 100,000€ Prix RMC Sports Talk Another Grade II stake, only this race went behind the starting gate with 14 starters. Gotland (Eric Raffin) was first to leave the cut the mile until halfway through the race when Green Grass (Mathieu Mottier) came first-over, giving live cover to Gu D’Heripre (Franck Nivard). Then in a classic stretch drive to the wire, Gu D’Heripre was able to hold off a late charge by the race favorite, Gunilla D’Atout (Bjorn Goop), to win by a neck in 1’11’60. For Gu D’Heripre, a four-year-old son of Coktail Jet, it was a lifetime mark for trainer Philippe Billard and the D’Heripre Stable. He was the second choice in the race at odds of 4-1. TRACK NOTES: John Campbell, President and CEO of the Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Society has been in Paris this week for the big race and was overheard saying that plans are in the works for Bold Eagle to come back to America and race. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

The Burwood Stud flagship sire Changeover left harness racing winners in three different countries and in four Australian States last week. Changeover's haul of winners included With The Band NZ, who made it two for two on Australian soil with a 1:55.9 winning effort at Albion Park, and the 1:59.7 Melton winner Raani. Other recent Changeover winners on the home front were the three-year-old debutante Changeup at Globe Derby Park and Overpowering, who posted win No.7 in a career-best 1:58.4 at Young. Changeover was also represented by Jacks N Jazz (1:59.9), who won for the fourth time at Invercargill, New Zealand, and the former Oaks champion Sudden Change NZ, the winner of a $US20,000 race in 1:54.4 at Yonkers, New York. Changeover has sired 74 individual winners in Australia and NZ this season and they have amassed more than $1 million in stake earnings.   By Peter Wharton

ANTHONY Butt wound back the clock at Melton last night. The man who boasts a record seven Hunter Cup wins, dominated the stellar meeting by winning the big Victoria Derby and Oaks double. It was the Derby win with Line Up, who he now trains and drives, which meant so much. That win came just an hour after he teamed with Kiwi training duo Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon to win the Oaks with the improving Dr Susan. Remarkably, Line Up was Butt’s first Victoria Derby win. “Lavros Star (1997) was my chance. I won the heat on him but missed the final because of suspension,” he said. Line Up not only gave Butt his biggest training triumph, but also cemented the support leviathan owners Emilio and Mary Rosati have put in Butt and his fiance, Sonya Smith. “To win this for Emilio and Mary is extra special,” Butt said. “He went so well in the heat, when he drew to lead in the final he was always going to be hard to beat.” Line Up worked to the front comfortably, but was kept honest in front by Youaremy Sunshine on his outside through a 58.9sec middle half then 26.8sec third quarter. Young Queensland star Governor Jujon loomed strongly from the one-one trail, but couldn’t run down Line Up, who won by 1.6m in a 1min55.2sec mile rate for the long 2760m. Just as he did on Line Up, Butt worked to the front and led throughout on Dr Susan in the Oaks for co-trainers Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon. It was Butt’s second Victoria Oaks winning, following Pullover Brown back in 2003. But Dr Susan’s win didn’t come before a huge scare. Dr Susan galloped in the score-up at the first attempt and, thankfully for the her camp, caused a false start. “She wanted to kick me out of the cart, but she did everything right the second time,” Butt said. “She’s one of those fillies who has thrived on the trip. She’s got better and better. “I knew when Mark was still back in the field with a lap to go I had to get going, so I slowly kept upping the pace.” Dr Susan, who ran a blistering 26.3sec split down the back straight, held-off a very gallant Stylish Memphis to win by 4.4m in a 1min56.6sec mile rate for 2760m. Dalgety was quick to dedicated the win to his friend and champion driver Gavin Lang, who is battling cancer. “I just saw my good friend Gavin Lang today. He’s having a wee bit of an off time, if I can dedicate a race I’m going to dedicate it to that good man Gavin Lang. “It seems a bit hollow tonight not having him one of these big races.” by Adam Hamilton 

By Garrick Knight    Revell Douglas showed his wares as an accomplished horseman with a fine training performance at Arawa Park in Rotorua on Sunday. The South Auckland horseman produced Revving to win a maiden race, fresh up for 29 months and without any recent workouts. “It’s taken a long time to get her ready,” he told HRNZ. “She arrived up here in May and has been in work ever since. “I took her for two trials right-handed about three months ago but she kept on hitting a knee so we gave up that.” Not really that keen to have horse only able to race left-handed in the north, Douglas tried to get her in foal last month. “But that didn’t work, so I just decided to push on with her and race her until the next breeding season.” Revving, a six-year-old daughter of Art Major, had he first race preparation for Gavin Smith in Canterbury, three starts yielding two Addington placings in 2017 as a late three-year-old. “She got beaten a nose each time but then not long after did a tendon. “It wasn’t too bad and Gavin wanted to turn her out, but Cameron (Mackie, owner) wanted to put her in foal. “The owner won out and she ended up having a foal by Always B Miki. “But it died as a weanling; it ran through a fence.” By now Revving had resumed jogging with Smith but Mackie wanted to horse in the north and resumed his long-standing association with Douglas. Douglas has mixed racing administration and his job as New Zealand manager for Hygain Feeds with training the odd standardbred over the past 15 years. When Mackie rung him with the offer of not one, but two horses last year, he decided to dabble in the craft once again. Douglas is based at Adrienne Matthews’ property at Glenbrook, north of Waiuku, and says the nearby Karioitahi Beach – the same used by Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis – is what helps Revving. “I take her out to the beach three times a week and that allows me to get the miles in to her. “It was because of that that I knew she was fit and ready to go without any workouts, plus she’s probably just a better horse than most in that field. “I’m glad she’s got that win now because she deserved one on her record.” _________________________________________________________________________________________ A few races later, Dylan Ferguson brought up a milestone win with the Peter and Vaughan Blanchard-trained Charlotte Royal. It was Ferguson’s 100th New Zealand driving success for the Hamilton-based junior driver, a tick over six years after his first, aboard Carlos at Cambridge. “I was worried that I might have been going to be stuck on it for a few weeks but it was nice to get it done for longtime family friend Peter Presley and also the Blanchards, after having worked for Pete when he trained with Rogey (Graeme Rogerson),” said Ferguson. “Pete was only one win off giving me my first win and 100th win.” Ferguson is in his final year as a junior and says he wants to “get cracking on the next 100”. The Blanchards had further cause to celebrate when Lovely Bundy rounded out her career with a fine win in the $10,000 Rotorua Trotters Cup. Safely in foal to What The Hill, today was her final race start and she brought up a hat-trick of wins to finish off what has been a rollercoaster ride of a career for connections. All told, she’ll head to the broodmare paddock with 12 wins and over $130,000 in earnings to her name. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Canterbury pacer Dadndave ran his rivals ragged to score the biggest win of Tim Trathen’s training career in Saturday’s Invercargill Cup. Driver Brent Barclay had the 4yr-old in front soon after the start of the group 3 feature and they set a pace that had their rivals chasing in vain throughout. Dadndave still had plenty left in reserve after setting a strong tempo in the middle stages to reel off a 56sec last 800m to win the 2700m handicap. “It was a great drive – I said to Brent he usually steps well, so it worked out great,” Trathen said. Trathen races Dadndave with the two men the horse is named after – his father, John, and Dave McHugh, the proprietor at the Yaldhurst Hotel in Christchurch. “It good for Dad because he’s been a bit sick and Dave’s got a few with us,” Trathen said. “I’m only allowed to drink at the [Yaldhurst Hotel] otherwise he’d probably take the horses off me.” Dadndave produced consistent form in three of his four starts at both the recent Nelson and Blenheim meetings. He took no part in his last run after galloping out, which came with a silver lining after some initial disappointment. That soft run meant Dadndave could head south soon after a busy ten days at the top of the South Island. “He had just been thriving and he pulled up good, so we thought we would bite the bullet and he can have a wee freshener after this.” “He had no luck, really, at Blenheim.” “He is a lovely wee horse, he has quite a bit of character about him.” Dadndave’s trip to last year’s Nelson meeting showed he had the staying prowess to win a feature cups event like the Invercargill Cup. The pacer beat older horses over 3000m to win the Nelson Cup as a 3yr-old. Dadndave’s Invercargill Cup victory is Trathen’s biggest success among the 32 winners he has trained since 1993. “That would be the biggest win for me.” “I have a few, but I don’t race that many, just some with friends and family.” Trathen works as a farrier and also pre trains horses for All Stars trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen. Runner-up Franco Santino sat on Dadndave’s back throughout Saturday’s race, but could not reel him in. Later on Saturday, smart 3yr-old Spirit Of St Louis bounced back after his Roxburgh Cup disappointment earlier this month to beat older and more experienced pacers. The Graeme Anderson trained 3yr-old reverted back to mobile racing after standing on the mark and taking no part in the Roxburgh Cup. Spirit Of St Louis was too good in race 10 after sitting parked for the last lap for driver Matthew Williamson. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Ashburton trainer Laurence Hanrahan has all bases covered ahead of race 7 at Motukarara today. Hanrahan will line up impressive first up winner, Rocknroll Max, and the consistent Ultimate Rocker in the 2400m standing start event. Having that talented duo means a Hanrahan runner should be in the finish whether the race tempo suits front-runners or back-markers. Rocknroll Max is likely to land near the speed, as he did when winning his first start of the season at Timaru, earlier this month. The 4yr-old showed he had returned bigger and strong from a spell when powering along the passing lane to break his maden. “He won nicely last time, so hopefully he can take the step and mix it with the next grade,” Hanrahan said. “He has probably just taken a little bit of time.” “He just wasn’t mentally ready or mature enough last season, but this year he seems to have bounced back quite nicely.” Hanrahan is hopeful his A Rocknroll Dance pacer will handle stepping out of maiden grade to race more experienced campaigners in today’s event. “I hope so - his work has been fine since he raced.” “He had a quiet run at the Methven workouts on Sunday and he felt quite good there.” “So, going forward, hopefully we are on the right path.” Rocknroll Max must beat his stablemate Ultimate Rocker to continue his rise through the grades. The question of whether he can do it is not one Hanrahan can not answer easily. The two 4yr-olds have totally different racing styles, meaning race tempo and positioning will dictate their chances. “I don’t know if I would favour one – they are both different styles of horses in terms of how they need to be driven.” “But, if either of them get the right run, I would like to think they could be in the finish.” Getting back and sprinting off a fast tempo is the best scenario for Ultimate Rocker. “Ultimate Rocker has had a bit more experience in that grade.” “He has been going well without a lot of luck.” “If he gets the right run, he can come out and sprint quite fast.” “As he gets a bit more hardened up from a bit more racing, hopefully he will go forward from that.” Driver Stephen McNally will combine with Rocknroll Max, with Lawrence McCormick to drive Ultimate Rocker. Hanrahan also starts Pembrook’s Legacy in race 6. On form, the 6yr-old looks a strong eachway chance in the 2000m event for junior drivers. “He has come back nicely.” “The only question mark I have over him is I don’t know whether he is as effective on the grass as he is on the crusher dust.” John Morrison will drive Pembrook’s Legacy today. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    James Stormont is hoping his patience will be rewarded in Sunday’s $10,000 Rotorua Pacers Cup on the grass at Arawa Park. He prepares one of the race favourites, Magilligan Point, who is fresh-up for seven weeks. “He’s had some hard runs up at Auckland through November; I think three starts in a row he had to come home between 55 and 56 seconds. “His owner was going away on a holiday, so we decided to miss the last few Auckland meetings before Christmas and freshen him up.” The son of Gotta Go Cullect hasn’t been seen at the workouts in the interim, which would have been Stormont’s preference, but he’s still delighted with where the horse is at. “I’m very happy with him; his work has been excellent. “He hasn’t had a trial, because there haven’t been many and they didn’t really fit in with his training, but I think he’s ready to go anyway. “The only query is that it’s his first start on the grass but I don’t have any reason to think that will bother him.” It’s only the speedster’s second standing start, too, the first coming at his last start on December 7 when he finished a close-up fifth behind Some Do. “He stepped away clean that day that went rough for a few strides and lost ground.” Stormont reunites with his own horse, Clifton Flutter, in an R47-51 after putting him in amateur drivers’ races for stable staffer Ange Temu in recent weeks. She got the job done with an excellent win at Cambridge on January 5 and he’s done nothing to dissuade Stormont from thinking he can win again this week. “I thought his run the next start was even better; he did a heap of work and stuck on well. “I wasn’t going to back him up but he’s thriving and it made sense to fill the truck up since I was coming down anyway. “He had an issue with ulcers when I first got him, but that’s been treated and he’s been a different horse since.” Stormont’s team is rounded out by the debuting maiden trotter, Take The Monarch, in the last on the card. He’s five, and has been a bit of a project, but he’s getting there, his trainer reckons. “He’s been in work a long time and we’ve had a lot of problems with him.” Take The Monarch qualified for now Australian-based trainer Richard Brosnan as a three-year-old in April of 2018 so it has taken plenty of patience on the part of his connections to get to this point. Stormont wasn’t too sure what to expect from the horse. “I was going to take to Auckland on Friday night, but then I saw the noms for Rotorua – only seven horses – and it looked a far better option for him. “I guess we’ll know more after Sunday.” The day’s feature trot, the $10,000 Rotorua Trotters Cup, is headlined by Pukekohe mare Lovely Bundy, in what is her farewell race. She’s hunting a hat-trick of wins to round out her career for trainers, Peter and Vaughan Blanchard, and will head to the broodmare paddock next week safely in foal to What The Hill. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight    Blueblood trotting mare Daisy Hill cracked maidens in impressive fashion at Alexandra Park on Friday night, but still has a long way to go. That’s the belief of her driver and co-trainer, Josh Dickie, after the Muscle Hill half-sister to Stent cleared out to win by four lengths. “I’ve always liked her and she’s got a bit about her, but has just been a bit mentally weak,” said Dickie. “A couple of times she has galloped when she felt like she was going to win. “Really, she’s been letting herself down.” And while she’s finally put it all together in impressive fashion, Dickie reckons it will take plenty of racing and miles in her legs before she’s ready for the better company. “She’s the type of mare that’s not going to come out in her next few starts and keep doing this, I don’t think. “I really think we are a year away from seeing the best of her. “I believe with horses like her you’ve got to keep going around, putting the miles in to them. “She works perfectly at home, but she’s got to learn to keep her head in the game on race night.” Daisy Hill is the sixth foal of racing age out of broodmare gem Belle Galleon, who has a 100 percent winners-to-foals record thanks to Stent, Belles Son, Arya, Izmok and Lone Star Lad. She’s owned by Cantabrians Kevin Chapman and Trevor Casey, who have bred her about-turn for the last eight years. Daisy Hill was bred, and is co-owned by Chapman, who has been a regular collaborator with Dickie and his father, John, for a many years. “Kevin always has a nice horse around him and he’s been brilliant to us; we’ve had a bit of luck with the horses he’s sent north. “He did warn us that this one wouldn’t be easy as he’d had a bit of trouble with her, and he was right.” Tony Herlihy was the star of the show at Alexandra Park, training three of the eight winners on the night. Classy trotting mare Kenny’s Dream got her season back on track thanks to a heady drive from stable foreman, Tony Cameron. “It was a good effort after starting from a handicap,” said Herlihy. “There are a couple of nice mares’ races coming up for her.” Dina Brown was the easiest winner on the night, clearing out to win comfortably after leading throughout. “She’s just kept improving and is better than what I probably thought she was going to be. “It’s a great breed and she’s definitely got more wins in store.” And while the betting plunge came for stablemate Delightful Catherine, it as the Herlihy-trained Cowgirls N Lace that won the night’s opening event, a maiden. “She’s a good, honest filly from a nice family.” On The Cards put some disappointing recent performances behind him with a confidence-boosting win in the night’s feature pace, an early mistake the difference-maker for race favourite Double Rocket, who ran second. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

He’s been a bit underrated but today at Ascot Park West Melton trained Dadndave had his day in the sun when he won the $30,000 Group Three Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup. This race was not initially on the horse’s radar, but Southern Harness CEO Jason Broad who was raceday Secretary for the recent Nelson circuit, mentioned it to trainer Tim Trathen. “Yeah, Jas mentioned it on the first day at Nelson. I thought it was a bit of a quick turn around and I actually thought the race was next week. A few said it was a bit of a tough call. He’s had a bit of racing but pulled up well (last start) and he’s just been thriving so we bit the bullet. He can have a wee freshener after this,” Trathen said. The Bettor’s Delight four year old brought a consistent form line into today’s feature and his trainer was confident of a good run. “He hasn’t had much luck. At Blenheim he was fairly much last on the turn a couple of times and he ran home in 55. I wasn’t worried about any of them really. I thought if he was handy he’d go well.” Driver Brent Barclay took Dadndave straight to the top which kept the field rolling and at the end of the 2700 metres only Franco Santino which was trailing, got close. The winning margin was three quarters of a length. The winning time was 3-22.9 with the last 800 metres run in 56 seconds. “It was a great drive. I said (to driver Brent Barclay) he usually steps good so let him roll. It worked out great.” This is the first time in twenty three years  the Cup has been run over 2700 metres, as since 1996 it’s been contested over 3200 metres. Dadndave is owned by Trathen, his father John and host at the Yaldhurst Hotel in Christchurch Dave McHugh. “It good for Dad because he’s been a bit sick and Dave’s got a few with us. I’m only allowed to drink at the Yaldy otherwise he’d probably take the horses off me.” Today’s win is Trathen’s biggest since he started training thirty years ago and his first group winner. “I have a few horses but I don’t race that many. I do a few for Mark (Purdon) and Natalie (Rasmussen). I just tick away and breed a few of my own.” Winning connections with trainer Tim Trathen fourth from right    – Photo Bruce Stewart. Trathen said he’s expecting two establishments to be going off tonight – the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill and the Yaldy in Christchurch. “I’m staying with Brownie (Ascot Park trainer Murray Brown) so I’ll have a few friends tonight. I’m flying home in the morning. My wife and friends are all at the Yaldy. Dave will be gutted he’s not here. He went to Nelson and Blenheim and said he’d better stay at home this time.”   Bruce Stewart

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