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Concerned horsemen are considering their next move after yet another unfair start cast a long shadow over Tuesday’s New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington. But sorting out what has become a blight on not only harness racing’s marquee event but the entire racing industry will not be easy with reported friction between the Canterbury starter and drivers, differing opinions on ‘moving’ standing starts and inconsistent policing of unspecified rules. Most of the talk that followed Tuesday’s big day centred not on the finish of the great race but the start where horses on the outside of the front line gained a huge advantage over those on the inner, several, including winner Self Assured, allowed to pace away at speed while their rivals, including race favourite Copy That, were at a standstill. No one was more frustrated watching the farcical start than Ken Barron, chair of the Greater Canterbury Branch of the NZ Harness Racing Trainers and Drivers’ Association, who just four weeks earlier took the pro-active step of calling a meeting with officials to try to prevent exactly what transpired. “I was sickened watching it because we worked so hard to get the right procedures in place before the showcase races. “It was very disappointing and so unfair on the connections of a number of horses.” Now, as the inevitable post mortems are held, and punters who bet more than $1.5 million on the race cry foul, Barron and his fellow horsemen are weighing up their options on what to do next.   Read the full story click here By Barry Lichter Courtesy of Lincoln Farms  

By Jonny Turner    Champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen took a chance with Self Assured and it paid off when the star pacer exploded away from his opposition to seal their fifth consecutive win in New Zealand Cup at Addington. The All Stars stable duo went into the country’s biggest harness race knowing they had the most talented of horses, but one they rated just a 50-50 chance of stepping away safely when the starting tapes flew. Those concerns evaporated in the first few strides when Self Assured effectively sealed his victory with a brilliant beginning. The faultless display came after Purdon and Rasmussen took a calculated gamble by taking the five-year-old off the unruly starting position and then putting their masterful training skills to work. “The Cup is about winning and I took him off the unruly because I didn’t think he could win it from there,” Purdon said. “He was going to have to go around the field.” “It was a risk, if he had drawn on the inside you would say I have done the wrong thing.” “I was disappointed when he missed away in the Cup trial, but we did a lot of practice between then and today and he got it right.” Purdon and Rasmussen not only cemented their place in New Zealand Cup history with Self Assured’s three and a half-length win for his Victorian owner Jean Feiss. Spankem and Rasmussen held down second, ahead third placed Ashley Locaz and Tim Williams, to seal a race trifecta for the superstar trainers. Yesterday may have appeared like just another day at the office for Purdon and Rasmussen as they collected three group 1 wins and the trifecta in New Zealand’s most sought after race. But that is far from how Purdon sees it. “Having horses like this is what you do it for.” “And you have got to count yourself lucky.” “Most trainers have only got one of these type of horses and we have just filled the first three placings in the New Zealand Cup.” Self Assured’s victory was Purdon’s sixth win in the New Zealand Cup as a driver, equalling the late Cecil Devine. The master horseman has now trained winner eight times, six of them in partnership with Rasmussen. The thrill of winning the country’s biggest harness race is yet to fade as Purdon keeps etching his name into its history books. “You do get the same thrill from each win in the Cup, especially when you do it for different connections each time.” “It is lovely to do it for Jean, she has been such a great supporter of ours.” “She is so passionate.” “We have had horses in the past where I have suggested they have a better earning capacity in Australia after they’ve climbed the ladder here.” “But she wouldn’t take them off us.” Feiss enjoyed more success yesterday with her star mare Amazing Dream, who delivered an incredibly tough victory in the group 1 Nevele R Fillies Series Final. Purdon indicated the Melbourne owner’s two stars could clash in next year’s New Zealand Cup. Purdon and Rasmussen also took out the Group One the Sires Stakes Final with It’s All About Faith. The beginning that handed Self Assured a huge early advantage over his stablemate Spankem and the favourite Copy That was the biggest talking point following the running of this year’s New Zealand Cup. As Self Assured was settling into his handy spot in the trail behind his stablemate Ashley Locaz, Copy That was drifting back through the field. The North Island pacer was among several runners drawn on the inner that appeared to be disadvantaged when the starting tapes were released. After his slow start from barrier 1, Copy That eventually settled last with a huge task in front of him to catch Self Assured and Spankem. The effort the Ray Green trained pacer put in to try to get into the race told and Copy That faded into eight placing. Green labelled the start of the New Zealand Cup a disgrace, after the race.

Race 11 IRT New Zealand Cup Group 1 3200m $540,000 Self Assured has again shown what a superstar he is with an emphatic victory in the IRT New Zealand Cup. After being tardy away from standing starts of late Mark Purdon got the cleanest of getaways to go straight into the trail, behind stablemate Ashley Locaz. In contrast great northern hope Copy That didn’t step from one and found himself at the tail of the field. That was a scenario that no-one saw coming. Stablemate Spankem then rounded the field to take the lead, giving Purdon the perfect run. As the passing lane loomed it was a matter of when not if Self Assured would take over.  To make it the perfect result it was an All Stars trifecta  of Self Assured (Purdon), Spankem (Natalie Rasmussen)  and Ashley Locaz (Tim Williams). Self Assured paid $4.20 and $1.80, Spankem $1.50, Ashley Locaz $4.70. The 11:15:12 trifecta paid $136.20.  It was the second time Spankem’s finished second, last year he was runner up to Cruz Bromac. It was Self Assured’s 14th win in 22 starts. It was the All Stars’ sixth New Zealand Cup in seven years. It’s Mark Purdon’s sixth New Zealand Cup as a driver, and his eighth as a trainer.   Race 10 Avon City Ford Mobile Pace $25,000 1980m Ricky May returned to the winner’s circle for the first time on Cup day in race 10. Cheezel, trained by Regan Todd, got a sweet passage in the trail and then exploded home. Favourite A Taste of Honey had taken the field to the final corner and held on gamely for second as Cheezel made his winning move. It’s May’s first New Zealand Cup since he very nearly lost his life at Omakau in the New Year.  May, a seven time New Zealand Cup winner, collapsed to the track and had to be revived. Cheezel’s win was a timely change of fortune after a string of unlucky performances.  Cheezel paid $9.90 and $3.10 with A taste of Honey at $1.60 and Laver $3.40. The 2:4:11 trifecta paid $337.80.   Race 9 : Hornby Liquor Centre Mobile Pace $25,000 1980m The Barry Purdon – Scott Phelan trained Bad to the Bone had been talked up by many leading into this race. And the four-year-old, trained at Clevedon,  did not disappoint.  Driven by Zachary Butcher, Bad to the Bone was pushed hard to make the lead and then staunchly withheld all challenges. The win gave North Island stables their first winner for the day. Belmont Major ($2.40) was second for Bob Butt, with Steel the Show third ($2.50). The 6:3:13 trifecta paid $82.80.   Race 8 Woodlands Stud Series’ Stakes Final Mobile 1980m $150,000 The All Stars clinched their seventh Sires’ Stakes victory in a row with It’s All About Faith (Mark Purdon) capitalising on a lovely trip to win one of the day’s most eagerly anticipated races. It was seen as a match race between It’s About faith and Krug but Krug didn’t finish off the race after being in the one-one. He finished fourth. BD Joe for Steve and Amanda Telfer speared out from the gate to take the lead and looked likely until the final stages when Mark Purdon made his move.  Purdon’s All Stars stables have dominated this race in recent years, winning the last six with horses like Lazarus and Ultimate Sniper. It’s All About Faith’s stablemate Aladdin finishing third ($5.20). It’s All About Faith paid $2.40 and $1.30, with BD Joe $2.40. The 1:4:2 trifecta paid $199.20.   Race 7 : Livamol NZ Trotting FFA Mobile Trot (Group 1) $95,000 1980m After running second in his last four starts Heavyweight Hero did one better when it really mattered, winning the Group One Trotting Free For All. The son of Muscle Mass was three back for driver-trainer Bob Butt only for the gaps to open and he scooted down the passing lane to win. Muscle Mountain had loomed as a real threat only to finish third, with Cracker Hill second after Brad Williamson opted to not take passing lane.  That saw Heavyweight Hero get the perfect run. The pace setting favourite Majestic Man faded to fifth.   Heavyweight Hero paid $11.60 and $2.70, with Cracker Hill $1.40 and Muscle Mountain $1.60. The 3:12:5  trifecta paid $136.50.     Race 6 : Mitre 10 Mobile Pace 1980m Champion trainer Robert Dunn had the three favourites in race 6, with Above N Beyond the punters’ elect but it was Mossman, trained by Graham Court and driven by Sheree Tomlinson, who got the perfect trip in the trail and then used the passing lane to win at odds of nearly 30-to-one.  It was another  Dunn runner Mighty Looee that did a power of work in finishing second for driver Korbyn Newman ($2.10).  Chiller Bay was third ($4.40) for David Butcher. Mossman, by three-time New Zealand Cup champion Terror To Love,  paid $23.90 and $6.80. The 3:14:10 trifecta paid $2206.90.    Race 5 : Dunstan Horsefeeds Junior FFA Mobile Pace - Group 3  2600m The Williamsons made it three from five races in the Junior Free For All with Matty and Nathan’s brother Brad Williamson doing the honours this time on southern visitor Vintage Cheddar. Fabrizio, who had shortened from $15 to $5, set a hot pace with Wild Excuse circling the field from her poor draw to keep the pressure on. It was set up for a swooper and it was the Alister Black- trained son of Betterthancheddar that prevailed from a long way back, paying $9.20 and $2.70. On the Cards finished second for Zachary Butcher ($3.30), and That Alexander Guy (Robbie Close, $8.30) was third. The 8:9:11 trifecta paid $1660.60. The winning time was  3:08.30. Read the full story here Race 4 : Nevele R Fillies Series Mobile Pace – Group 1 1980m The first Group One of Cup Day and everyone’s pick Amazing Dream was at prohibitive odds to win, despite drawing nine. But this was no walk in the park. The superstar was forced four wide at the 1000 metre mark. Natalie Rasmussen pressed on to face the breeze at the 600 and then managed to run down the pace-setting Need You Know and John Dunn. It was Amazing Dream’s sixth Group One. She paid $1.40 and $1.00. After the race Rasmussen said “she never thought it was going to be easy from the draw, and she was tired but she really wanted to win.”   It was Amazing Dream’s 15th win in 23 starts. Need You Know ($1.60) held on for second with Stylish Memphis third ($1.80). The all Bettor’s Delight  trifecta (9:5:6) paid just $9.90.   Race 3 : Hydroflow Handicap Trot 3200m @ 12.55pm Race 3 and another Williamson victory. This time it was Nathan Williamson and his five-year-old Andy Hall who capitalised on a beautiful one-one trip to outlast the pace-making Missalyssa. Blair Orange had driven a confident race on Missalyssa and went clear turning for home. But Andy Hall had plenty in reserve. Paying $9.50 and $3.20, it was his third win in seven career starts. The Player ran home well for John Dunn to be second ($2.30) and Missalyssa held on for third ($5.60). Favourite Andoverlov broke with around 800 to go, losing all chance.    The 3:5:9 trifecta paid $1502.10. Nathan's brother Matty won the first race on Humble Ladd, trained by their father Phil.    Race 2: Bushbuck Cup Day Maiden Mobile Pace 1980m @ 12.25 There will be few easier winners on Cup day than Castelo De Vide in race 2 for trainer Darren Keast and driver Bob Butt. The Bettor’s Delight three-year-old was all the rage with punters after trialling brilliantly and he duly delivered, paying $1.70. After getting a good cart up Castelo De Vide gave nothing else a chance, with several runners ruled out of contention with a squirmish a lap out from home. It was win one at career start number three. Evangalista battled on for second ($2.80) and Magic Mike was  third ($2.10). The 11:4:2 trifecta paid $61.80. Winners time : 2:24.8.    Race 1: Welcome to the IRT NZ Trotting Cup Handicap Trot 2600m @ 11.55 Favourite  Humble Ladd has got punters off to a good start on Cup day.  Starting off the backmark (10 metres) Matty Williamson bided his time initially as Majestic Hurricane (Blair Orange) stepped well and went to the front. With just over a lap to go Williamson made his move, cruising to the top. From there the $3.30 favourite dominated. Doff Your Cap launched a bid before finishing fourth, with Madeline Stowe ($9.70) and Majestic Hurricane ($5.20) filling the minors. The 11:5:9 trifecta paying $1,487.60.   Harness Racing New Zealand

As Ray Green started his training career he never dreamed of getting to the New Zealand Cup. He dreamed of getting to Panama. Not that there is any harness racing in Panama and Green hadn’t actually set out to go there. But it is testament to the fact that Green, who trains favourite Copy That in today’s $540,000 IRT New Zealand Cup, took the longest possible road to today’s iconic race that his path there led through Panama. While many of the trainers and drivers in today’s 3200m group one are bred into the industry, Green travelled the world to get to Addington. “I actually started in harness racing properly about 1972 when they were setting up racing in Wales,” remembers Green. “They wanted a young guy to travel all the New Zealand horses to Wales by boat. So I said I’d do it but the ship broke down in the middle of the Pacific and as we sat there doing nothing all I wanted to do was get to our next stop in Panama.” Green made it there and then to Wales where he trained slow horses before a stint back in Australia picking fruit and a second harness racing job in the English Midlands when the industry started there. “There wasn’t much money in it but I had some fun and earned a living.” When Green returned to New Zealand he worked his way up to being No.1 man for big-spending dual-code racing operation Lincoln Farms. As their facilities became world class and the cheque book for the sales got bigger Green emerged from racing shadows and as a smiley 75-year-old he has his first New Zealand Cup starter today. “I have become a better trainer as I have trained better horses, the two things go hand in hand,” he explains. “Better horses race in the best races against the best trainers so you learn from them and you learn from your mistakes. “So it has been a long road but we are here now and I am enjoying it. You have too. It is a huge deal the New Zealand Cup, especially down here, but I’m not going to get down if we don’t win it.”Copy That can win it and maybe should win it. He has developed enormously this season and has the motor to match it with Self Assured and Spankem, the trio looking far and away the main winning chances in the race. Copy That and Self Assured have the huge advantage of front line draws and the drag race to the winning post the first time, with 2400m still to run, may decide the race. “If he leads he they will really struggle to catch him,” says Green. “There are some very good horses here but he is as good as them and he is thriving. “He is lovely and quiet at home but at the races be just turns into a monster. He is ready.”Copy That has yet to race over 3200m so there is that doubt and barrier one could be tricky but Blair Orange is driving like a man possessed and it would surprise to see him get locked away. Self Assured can, and maybe should, beat Copy That is he steps better and gets in front of him, their closeness in the market suggesting just how hard such things are to predict. Spankem can definitely win and Thefixer is a former Cup winner albeit struggling with soundness while Classie Brigade is a warrior who would love a hot tempo to dull Copy That’s sprint. But maybe this is Day of Ray. The boy from Taumarunui who went around the world on a broken boat to get to the Addington’s winner’s circle.  Courtesy of NZ Herald   by Michael Guerin

By Jonny Turner    In a year of unknowns, Spankem is set to offer punters some certainty when he seeks redemption in the New Zealand Cup at Addington today. With the favourites Copy That and Self Assured dominating pre-race talk, the All Stars pacer will step quietly on to harness racing’s biggest stage in his attempt to go one better than his runner-up effort behind Cruz Bromac last year. Though there is no doubting their class, Self Assured and Copy That will have to prove they have what it takes to handle the extraordinary surrounds of a sold-out Addington Raceway when they step out in the 3200m feature for the first time. After going down by just a neck in last year’s race, Spankem comes into the New Zealand Cup with less to prove to than his main rivals. The hopes of the horse going one better than last year look bright especially when his champion trainer Mark Purdon says his six-year-old will return in even better shape this time around.   “I feel Spankem is a little bit stronger this year.” “He is just a very, very good horse and a professional horse and no doubt he will go a great race.” Spankem was back to his professional self to win the New Zealand Cup Trial after a rare skip at the start of the Ashburton Flying Stakes. The pacer appears to have been stuck with the worst of the barrier draws among the favourites when he was handed saddlecloth 15. But if the race’s three emergencies come out as expected, Spankem will start from barrier 2 on the second row, following out Di Caprio. And that is a position Purdon is comfortable with for his Miracle Mile winner. “He is in a real good spot – I have been really pleased with him right the way through.” “And I can see him getting not a bad run through at the start.” “He comes into a decent spot and I could see him taking up a handy enough position early in the race.” Self Assured is set to start from barrier 8 on the front line in today’s feature. After beginning well from the unruly position in his two most recent runs, the five-year-old was back to his old tricks when galloping away in last week’s New Zealand Cup Trial. Purdon admitted he has exhausted nearly every option in training the Auckland Cup winner to step away. The worst part for the master horseman is Self Assured feels like he is about to get it right just as he goes to leave the mark. “He just feels like he has almost got the first three steps right and then he leaves his gear for no reason,” Purdon said. “He has had enough practice now and he begins well at home.” “It is not like you lose him every time at home, if he catches it he is very fast.” While Purdon heads to Addington unsure of what Self Assured will deliver when the tapes fly he has no doubts about what shape the pacer is in leading into the New Zealand Cup. “He is in really good shape.” “But he has to do things right to win it, he can’t go giving away 10 or 15 metres at the start.” “When he has galloped he hasn’t given them big starts, but at the same time we can’t afford to give away any ground in the Cup.” Ashley Locaz rounds out the All Stars stable’s team that is out to win a fifth consecutive New Zealand Cup for Purdon and training partner, Natalie Rasmussen. The six-year-old has not had any trouble stepping away in two starts since returning from Australia and is expected to begin well from barrier 9. “First up at Ashburton he wasn’t too far away and then at Kaikoura, he was outside Classie Brigade all of the way and he fought all of the way to the line,” Purdon said. North Island hope Copy That is clearly the horse the All Stars stable trio have to beat. The Ashburton Flying Stakes winner is set to start favourite when he becomes 75-year-old Pukekohe trainer Ray Green’s first New Zealand Cup runner this afternoon.

By Jonny Turner    Trainer Robert Dunn hopes Classie Brigade begins so quickly he sees a flash of red, white and black silks in what is set to be a crucial beginning to today’s New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington. The eight-year-old veteran will carry his trainer’s diamond emblazoned colours when he seeks redemption in the 3200m feature following an agonisingly unlucky third placing in last year’s event. To win, Classie Brigade will need to become the first horse since Flashing Red in 2007 to carry the number 18 saddlecloth to victory. After being stuck with the draw no other camp would have wanted, fans and pundits quickly started writing off the pacer’s chances of redemption. But there is one crucial factor they may be forgetting. If the New Zealand Cup’s three emergencies come out as expected, Classie Brigade and driver John Dunn will line up on the second row behind Robyns Playboy and Craig Ferguson. And there are few better spots to be for the five horses forced to start off the second line to be in, given the lightning beginnings the Southland pacer has been making recently. “If Robyns Playboy begins quickly Classie Brigade might be able to get through pretty quickly himself,” Robert Dunn said “And he might end up settling a lot handier than a lot of people think.” With barrier draws and the standing start ability of their rivals out of their hands, the Dunn camp have been concentrating on what is within their control with Classie Brigade. After producing a New Zealand record and an excellent Kaikoura Cup win in his last two starts, they could not be happier with their horse’s condition. Combine that with Classie Brigade’s record over 3200m and it explains why the Dunn camp is not losing faith in their horse ahead of today’s race. “We are very happy with him going into the race,” Dunn said “His record is over 3200m is phenomenal, he ran 3.53 when he won the Invercargill Cup.” “Which on a track like that is exceptional.” “And he ran 3.56 in last year’s cup and he was strong to the line after being held up at the top of the straight.” Dunn has a three-strong attack on this year’s New Zealand Cup with Heisenberg and Henry Hubert starting alongside Classie Brigade. Henry Hubert was less than two lengths behind Cruz Bromac in sixth placing in last year’s race for driver Gavin Smith. Though his form does not show it, the six-year-old, who is set to start from barrier 7 on the front line, comes into this year’s race after enjoying a much better preparation.   “He had a very interrupted preparation last year, he missed races and we didn’t think we were even going to make the cup.” “And he went a great race and was less than two lengths from the winner.” “This year he has had a much better preparation and we are expecting him to go a good race.” Heisenberg will step up to race in his first New Zealand Cup for Dunn when he lines up from barrier 2 for driver Ricky May That starting spot should give the five-year-old every chance to get into his favoured position close to the pace. “He has had one start over two miles (3200m) and he won it,” Dunn said  “He will go a good race, he definitely won’t get in the way.” Dunn has a massive team of 28 horses nominated for New Zealand Cup Day. Singling out just one horse as his best chance was impossible for the Woodend Beach trainer, who has high hopes across the 13-race Addington card. “We have a few good chances, Steel The Show should go a great race.” “Mighty Looee is going really well and Ned Kelly could be a sneaky chance in the maiden race.” “Bryan Boru should be a good chance in his race and one horse that has been going well but hasn’t had a lot of luck is Tyron’s Bit Of Lemon.”

Who better to talk to about the New Zealand Cup than Ricky May? He’s won it seven times, that’s more than anyone else - with his last victory being Terror To Love’s third in 2013. Today he’s driving  $61 outsider Heisenberg,  one of three runners for Robert Dunn. And we caught up with May for a brief chat – well it’s 60 seconds to be precise.   HRNZ

Welcome to the Harness Analyst series where we take a look at New Zealand's harness racing with free previews,tips and reviews of trials and the previous weeks racing. Harness racing hits Addington today with a thirteen race program starting at 11:55am and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a massive day of racing. The content and data on this video is provided for informational purposes only Check below the video for our selections for all of the races today for Addington.   Addington selections (CUP DAY) 10th November 2020   Race 1 Globe Trekker slightly out of form but strikes a winnable race for him here. Top selection in this field and paying nice money.…… Overzealous nice draw and she has run some cheeky races against good fields in her last half a dozen starts. Major player here..… Madeleine Stowe out of form but on her best day would compete well here. Can upset with a soft run in transit at massive odds…….. Zsa Zoe running ok races without a lot of luck. Could surprise here at nice odds…… Humble Ladd Southern horse do well at the meeting and he is in good form. Needed Selections:  Globe Trekker (1),   Overzealous (3),   Zsa Zoe (4),    Madeleine Stowe (5)   Race 2 Bad Hombre pacer with form who should be running top three here from the draw. Likely to get a good run and can win.……. Sudaman has ability, and the draw might be an assist on the front line today. One for longer odds …… Surfers Delight money has been on the last couple but draw not great. Stable runs hot over cup week and he can upset at longer odds …… Castelo De Vide getting fitter with racing and has been racing better fields. Winning claims…… Ned Kelly Tricky draw to contend with but should get a cosy run on the fence here. Not the worst at decent odds Selections:  Bad Hombre (1),   Surfers Delight (12),   Ned Kelly (10),   Castelo De Vide (11)   Race 3 Sundons Flyer has been running good races from handicaps and won this race in 2018 at big odds. Could surprise if the pace is on all the way….. Andoverlov good stayer who is nearing peak form at the right time. Top selection and hard to beat  ….. Get Lucky slightly disappointing last start but is getting fitter with racing. Southern horses do well here and can run in the top three…. Andy Hall nice inside draw if he can bring his manners. Winning claims here…. B D Yasothon  drawn well and big on ability. Good winning claims with manners Selections:   Andoverlov (15),  Sundons Flyer (14),   Andy Hall (3),   Get Lucky (13)   Race 4 Amazing Dream stable/driver combo hard to beat at premier meetings and this mare has the x-factor. Top selection even from the wide draw ….. Need You Now likes to race near the lead and could be hard to catch if she found the front early. Winning claims….. Stylish Memphis has the game to beat a field like this and she will go forward early. Can run top three…. Pearl Harbour biggest test to date but drawn to get every chance in the running. Place hopes best…. Sugar Loaf not convinced she is at her best but has a lot of speed. One for longer odds Selections:   Amazing Dream (9),   Need You Now (5),   Stylish Memphis (6),   Sugar Loaf (3)   Race 5 Pembrook Playboy conditions suit here and he is a major player in this field. Good winning claims and top selection.…. Burnham Boy going ok in strong fields. Should be thereabouts from the draw with luck in the running…… Vintage Cheddar tricky draw but 2600m mobile will suit. Can place at longer odds.… Jazzy Star drawn for a cozy run on the fence and finishing speed to win if gaps open. Include at longer odds….. Fabrizio out of form but big on ability. Chances increase if he can lead early. Selections:  Pembrook Playboy (6),   Burnham Boy (3),   Jazzy Star (10),   Vintage Cheddar (8)   Race 6 Above N Beyond has been racing strong fields with merit. Should be a good winning chance in this lineup and could blast to the lead early. ……. Bundoran has ability and the draw and should be handy early . Good winning claims …… Buckskin out of form but on his best day could win this. One for longer odds…… Anamajor good beginner who is the likely leader early. Place chances best here….Mighty Looee in good form but drawn out the back here. Place hopes best from the draw Selections:   Above N Beyond (7),   Bundoran (1),   Anamajor (4),   Buckskin (5)   Race 7 Cracker Hill  has been running good races with fast closing sectionals. Hard to beat in this field….. Majestic Man good draw and very classy. Should lead and be running top three here  ….. Tough Monarch draw not great but is tough. Can go forward and inject some speed into the race. Winning claims…. Muscle Mountain nice draw and has been racing huge. Winning claims here and one of the leading chances…. Ultimate Stride drawn badly and not convinced he is at his best but pay to give another chance. Include Selections:   Cracker Hill  (12),  Majestic Man (2),   Muscle Mountain (5),  Tough Monarch (9)   Race 8 It's All About Faith drawn to lead and get in front of his arch rival Krug. Good winning chance….. Krug  likes to race near the lead and drawn for a run through at the start. Should run topo three….. Aladdin bit disappointing last start. Has ability and could place with luck in the running and from the good draw…. American Dealer racing ok but tricky draw. Winning claims with a cart into the race at the right time….. Shan Noble terrible draw and only running for place money here Selections:   It's All About Faith (1),   Krug  (11),   American Dealer (12),   Aladdin (2)   Race 9 Bad To The Bone racing well in top fields but drawn wide. Can win and top selection….. Rocknroll Rod races best near the lead and early tactics vital to his chances. Winning claims at nice odds with a trail all the way….. Tyron's Bit Of Lemon racing well and he could go forward early here. Place chances best in this field…. Dance Time racing his way back into form but bad draw. Chance at nice odds if he is handy early and shorter distance suits…. Steel The Show drawn wide on the second row and hard to see him winning. Place hopes best Selections:   Bad To The Bone (6),   Dance Time (9),   Rocknroll Rod (4),   Tyron's Bit Of Lemon (2)   Race 10 Alterior Motif unbeaten and untapped talent who should press forward early. Can win with a soft lead here…… Cranbourne tricky draw but racing ok and getting fitter with racing. One for longer odds….. Laver win last start very good and drawn to get a run through early. Can run top three if he can clear traffic….. A Taste Of Honey good second last start and races best when handy. Needed…. Cheezel has speed at both ends of her races and might land the trail behind the favourite. Can upset at good odds. Selections:  Alterior Motif (6),   Cranbourne (8),   Cheezel (2),   Laver (11)   Race 11 Self Assured racing well in top fields but drawn wide and manners a concern. Hard to beat with if he steps away safely ….. Spankem races best near the lead and will be heading forward early. Very hard to beat if he can find the front….. Copy That racing well and would be hard to beat if he could get in front of the All Stars horses. Chances depend on whether he can clear the fence early…. Tango Tara under rated horse who never gives in and racing his way back into form but bad draw. Chance at nice odds if he is handy turning for home…. Mach Shard quick beginner who should get a cosy run on the pegs. Place hopes best Selections:   Spankem (15),   Self Assured (11),   Copy That (1),   Tango Tara (13)   Race 12 Royal Pride big run to win after breaking last start and drawn ok. Can win at good odds…… Grand Princess tricky draw but racing ok and getting fitter with racing. Winning claims here….. I Dream Of Jeannie win here two starts ago was very good and beginning much better now. Can run top three if she can get handy early….. Idle Stuartia consistent trotter who races best when handy. Good place claims in this field…. She's Allthe Craze good beginner who races well on the track. Can upset at good odds but place chances best Selections:  Royal Pride (1),   Idle Stuartia (7),   Grand Princess (8),   I Dream Of Jeannie (16)   Race 13 Gliding Away tricky draw but he will go forward early. One of the major players in this field at good odds ….. Five Star General terrible draw but in good form and the rise in grade no problem. Can run top three….. B K Swy racing well and would be hard to beat with a run in front or in the trail which is likely from the draw. Needed…. Skippys Delight under rated horse who is racing his way back into form but bad draw. Chance at nice odds if he is handy turning for home…. Riveered quick beginner who is from a strike rate stable. Good winning claims. Selections:   Gliding Away (9),   Riveered (2),   B K Swy (1),   Five Star General (13)   Harnesslink Media

In less than 24 hours the biggest event on the harness racing calendar will go ahead at Christchurch’s Addington Raceway. For one North Canterbury harness racing trainer, Regan Todd, it’ll be his first Cup Day start. In June this year he took over The Fixer, who previously won the cup in 2018 under the famous Purdon-Rasmussen stable. “It’s one of those races you watch as a kid and go, 'Oh, I wouldn’t mind doing that one day,'" Todd said. "So to finally get one. Yeah, it’s special.” He’s been training The Fixer daily at Woodend Beach, where the stables back onto. “It’s therapeutic for them, especially the ones that get sore feet.” Whilst it’s been a bumpy road to the cup for The Fixer, Todd believes he’s in with a good shot. “I’m not a bullish kind of person, but he won’t disgrace himself – he’s in a good space at the moment.” The horse is just $5000 shy of winning $1,000,000 in its career. Come time for racing at 5.35pm today, Todd will be hoping The Fixer keeps the cool, calm, composure he shows at Woodend Beach. TV One News

A number of the best harness racing horses from the deep south are in Christchurch for the New Zealand Cup day meeting tomorrow. Horses like Cracker Hill, Robyns Playboy, Vintage Cheddar, Majestic Man and Humble Ladd - so how do the southern stables rate their chances? To find out Bruce Stewart from Southern Harness has spoken to some of the key drivers and trainers. 

Copy That has come in for some massive support as the excitement builds to tomorrow’s New Zealand Cup at Addington. The pacer, the first Cup runner for his 75-year-old trainer Ray Green, has drawn one in the big race and punters have been quick to invest, especially after his defeat of key rivals Self Assured and Spankem in the Ashburton Flying Stakes on October 26. A winner of 14 from 26 the four-year-old is currently at $2.80 and $1.38. The TAB reports that the horse is clearly the best backed, currently accounting for just over 45 per cent of turnover on the race. That’s nearly double any other runner. There are approximately 70 per cent more bets on him than Self Assured and Spankem. Self Assured is currently the second favourite for trainer-driver Mark Purdon $3 and $1.40 while All Stars stablemate Spankem (Natalie Rasmussen) is at $4.4 and $1.75. Of the other contenders both Thefixer ($16 - $13) and Classie Brigade ($15 - $16) have been supported on an each way basis, and account for approximately 92 per cent of turnover outside the top three. A substantial bet ($1250 @ $2.05) has also been placed on Thefixer to finish Top Five. Other notable bets include : Race 1 : 11. Humble Ladd ($5 - $4.4) $500 @ $5 Race 2 : 11. Casteldo De Vide ($1.75 - $1.8) $1000 @ $1.8 14. Pembrook’s Destiny ($51) $250 E/W @ $51/$9 Race 7 : 2. Majestic Man ($3.3 - $3) $2000 @ $3.2, $990 @ $3.2 Race 8 : 11. Krug ($3.3 - $3.2) $500 @ $3.3, $400 @ $3.3 Race 12 : 12. Willangus Lad ($17 - $14) $200 @ $17, $100 @ $17 18. Isla Elsie ($16 - $11) $2000 @ $16   HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Victorian owners Merv and Meg Butterworth will take winning form into the New Zealand Cup after enjoying success at Ascot Park on Sunday with Prince Envy. The couple, who race the favourite for the country’s biggest race, will be hoping Copy That can produce something similar to the impressive seven and three-quarter length win their Brett Gray trained trotter dished out in race 3. Though the Butterworths’ two horses look to have very little in common, they both appealed to the keen eye of their Australian owners. The Butterworths purchased Prince Envy out of Canterbury as an unraced five-year-old, who had had plenty of workouts without taking the final step to make the races. “Merv rang me up and said I have got a bit of a project horse, but don’t worry he has got ability,” Gray said. While Butterworth was vindicated in his opinion of the horse with his huge victory, it has been a testing road to the winner’s circle for Gray. Prince Envy galloped and out of his first two starts before his polished victory on Sunday. “The horse has been doing my head in, to be honest.” “Just because he has been getting it wrong at the start.” “We know he has got the ability there, so it has been a bit frustrating.” “Hopefully now he can go on with it a little bit.” Gray produced the quinella in race 3 with Peregrine running second to Prince Envy. After getting the winner’s manners in check, Gray will now have to work on Peregrine. The three-year-old galloped at the 500m before staging an impressive recovery to take second. The Butterworths’ good eye for a horse has also led to them having the favourite for the New Zealand Cup. They purchased Copy That after towards the end of his two-year-old season and could get the ultimate reward for their judgment in Tuesday’s 3200m feature. The four-year-old was previously raced by Deborah Green, the wife of Copy That’s trainer, Ray Green. The pacer will be the veteran Pukekohe trainer’s first New Zealand Cup runner. Gray will be among those cheering for Copy That when the tapes fly on Tuesday afternoon. “I would love for Merv and Meg to win it.” “They have been great for Southland [harness racing] and have been very good to me.” “They always have three in work with me and they were two of the people that helped get me started.” Gray tasted more success of his own later on yesterday’s Ascot Park card when Memphis Tennessee took out race 9. The five-year-old dropped in class after running into Robyns Playboy and Pembrook Playboy in his last two starts and it showed when he cleared out to win by three lengths for driver John Morrison.

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    The Butcher clan will head to Addington Raceway on Tuesday with potentially three family members vying to take out the Gr.1 IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup (3200m). David Butcher has already tasted victory in the great race, winning the 2008 edition behind Changeover, while son Zachary Butcher finished runner-up to Lazarus in 2017 with Jack’s Legend. Benjamin Butcher will try and replicate his father and brother’s success in the race when he competes in The Cup for the first time on Tuesday. He will take the reins behind the Steve and Amanda Telfer-trained Check In and he said he is looking forward to realising a childhood dream of driving in the New Zealand Trotting Cup. “It’s awesome to even have a drive in the race,” he said. “It is always a race you want to win. Hopefully we can get a bit of luck. There are a few horses in there that are probably a bit better but if everything goes right we won’t be too far away.” Butcher was pleased to see Check In return to form when runner-up in the Gr.2 Kaikoura Cup (2400m) last week after a series of unplaced runs at Alexandra Park. “Check In had been racing for a while and the freshen-up might have helped him,” Butcher said. “He had a good trip and went well at Kaikoura. He has always been one of those horses that have suited when they have gone hard and he has had a good trip. He can keep coming at the end and that’s what we will be looking to get on Tuesday.” Butcher is particularly looking forward to competing against his family in the big race, with father David set to drive stablemate Triple Eight, while brother Zachary will need a bit of luck to gain a start, with his charge On The Cards the second emergency for the race. “It adds a bit more competitiveness to it,” Butcher said. “We will all be looking at beating each other home. If we can’t win it, it will be down to who beat who home. “It always makes it a bit more fun and it will be a big crowd there on Tuesday, so it will be great fun.” Butcher will have another shot at Group One glory when he contests the Gr.1 Woodlands Stud Sires’ Stakes Final (1980m) with B D Joe. The gelding took out Heat 2 of the series at Cambridge Raceway last start, beating home Group One winner American Dealer, and Butcher is optimistic with his charge’s chances in a quality field on Tuesday. “He is a nice horse,” Butcher said. “There are a few horses in there that are pretty close to each other and we have got a good draw (4) and hopefully we will be able to use it. “I think that he is a good chance, he would be one of my better chances of the day.” Butcher will have two further drives on Tuesday, behind Dance Time in the Hornby Liquor Central Mobile Pace (1980m), and Down The Hatch in the Avon City Ford Mobile Pace (1980m). “Dance Time has been racing well up in Auckland,” Butcher said. “It is always tough in those smaller fields up in Auckland when there are not a lot of moves and you only sprint home. “He is a bit better with a bit more speed on, but he has got a bit of a drop back in class so it could be a bit easier for him (on Tuesday). He is going really well, so it will be just what happens on the day. “Down The Hatch has been racing really well this whole prep. It will be a step up in grade on Cup Day, but with the right run I can’t see why she wouldn’t go a good race.”

Champion trainer Mark Purdon finds himself in an unusual position heading into tomorrow’s $540,000 IRT New Zealand Cup at Addington. And he says it is the right one. Purdon, along with training partner Natalie Rasmussen, has trained five of the last six New Zealand Cup winners and even the year they got beaten it was by Arden Rooney, a horse they used to train. Even more clockwork than them having the Cup winner is having the Cup favourite, with superstars like Lazarus getting as short at $1.40 when he won his second Cup in 2017. Yet tomorrow the All Stars stable will have to make do with having the second and third favourites in Self Assured and Spankem and Purdon says they both deserve to be behind northerner Copy That in the market. “I don’t think is one of those years we can go into the race confident, definitely not as confident as some other years,” says Purdon, who will drive Self Assured. “We have three winning chances (Ashley Locaz is the other) but none of them are any better than Copy That. “He is racing as well as our horses so he deserves to be favourite.” Copy That and Self Assured have the likely advantage of being drawn the front line in tomorrow’s 3200m standing start whereas Spankem starts off the second line. That and Self Assured’s best performances this season, which have been stunning, make him the stable’s best chance but his Achilles heal has been on display for all to see. Self Assured has missed away at the start more often than he has begun safely this campaign and Purdon admits he has run out of ideas. “We have exhausted everything we know to get him going away,” says the Hall of Famer. “So now it is up to him. I rate him 50-50 to step away okay and if he does I think he can lead and win. “But if he doesn’t then I think he will lose his winning chance.” The irony of the Self Assured puzzle for punters tomorrow is his richest career win came when he stepped brilliantly and led throughout in the Auckland Cup last December. If punters knew Self Assured was going to pack those manners in his gear bag you could feel confident he is in a fair fight with Copy That. But if he misses away not only does that cost him ground but also gives Copy That a shot at a less-contested lead as most of the others on the front line would more than likely concede him that role. Which is why on Cup Eve, Copy That is the TAB’s tightening $2.80 favourite and Self Assured has drifted to $3 First published in the New Zealand Herald.   by Michael Guerin

There is 1 day to the New Zealand Cup From now to November 10 we will feature some of the great races, horses and personalities with a new letter for each day. Z = Zenola Zenola farm was the Auckland-based stables of high profile trainer Geoff Small who won the New Zealand Cup for the first and only time with Changeover in 2008. The five-year-old beat Baileys Dream in a then record 3:56.4. Small also prepared Elsu, widely regarded as one of the best horses never to win a New Zealand Cup. Twice New Zealand harness horse of the year, he won 11 group ones and made a clean sweep of the three heats and the final of the 2005 Interdominion series. But despite all that Elsu could not win a New Zealand Cup. He twice finished second to grand stayer Just An Excuse, going down narrowly each time (2003 and 2004).

There are 2 days to the New Zealand Cup From now to November 10 we will feature some of the great races, horses and personalities with a new letter for each day. Y = Young Bob Young had 784 winners over 42 seasons but never won a New Zealand Cup or a drivers’ premiership. At the time his rivals included greats like Peter Wolfenden and Maurice Holmes. Young had 20 New Zealand Cup drives from 1932 to 1967. He was second with Patchwork in 1961, beaten a neck by Invicta and he finished third with Master Alan in Cardigan Bay’s 1963 win. Trotters were Young’s forte and for six seasons he was the leading driver of squaregaiters, thanks to the success of stars like Aerial Scott, Single Task Gay Belwin and Indomitable. Young died in 1981 aged 75.   HRNZ

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