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It has been a hectic few months for new Oamaru Harness Racing Club president David Ovens. Ovens stepped into the role earlier this year, having spent 10 years on the committee, including four years as vice-president. He took over from David Heffernan, who stepped down as president after 10 years in the role. “It was just time to put my hand up and help carry on,” Ovens said. Coming out of lockdown the club faced plenty of obstacles, including a reform of the racing industry. Harness Racing New Zealand underwent an independent review of the Southern racing area and Ovens believed the Oamaru club put forward a good submission. “I’d like to think we put forward a very, very good case. We also had Kurow and Waikouaiti with us, as they race at Oamaru. “We would like to think that we are in good position, just with the state of our track both harness and grass, our facilities, we’ve just got a perfect setting out there.” The Oamaru Racecourse tracks were assessed recently, and came up with “very high honours”. “They couldn’t fault it – it’s a great credit to our groundsman Dave Heffernan and his hard-working volunteers.” Ovens was determined to turn the racecourse into a hub for the community and create more of a family-friendly atmosphere. “We now have cross-countries, pony competitions, big wheels, racing, both harness and gallops, weddings.” It was hoped the club could obtain the Waimate Racing Club’s dates permanently. Oamaru was in a prime location, being half way between big racecourses in Christchurch and Invercargill, he said. The Oamaru Harness Racing Club hosted a race meeting on Saturday, and there was an “absolutely fantastic” turnout from the community. “The racing was excellent. There were very fast times for a grass track. “We had invited drivers, brothers in arms – a lot of families came out, had picnics and sat on the grass. The kids enjoyed themselves.” There were nine races throughout the day, and Peter Ferguson joined an elite group in New Zealand, bringing up his 2000th win. “Especially as a North Islander – it was a very special occasion.” The club will host two more meetings in the New Year. By Kayla Hodge Reprinted with permission of the Oamaru Mail

By Jonny Turner    It was hardly a nervous wait for Waikato reinsman Peter Ferguson when his 2000th driving win approached as Milliondollarmonkey coasted up the Oamaru straight to win on Saturday. Ferguson had time to decide how to celebrate the milestone victory when the Regan Todd trained trotter went to the line untested to win race 6 by more than two lengths. The reinsman eventually settled on a raise of his whip as he crossed to join just seven other drivers in the 2000-win club. The victory came more than 34 years after Ferguson set on his journey to become one of New Zealand’s most winning reinsman. The then junior driver drove Sobriety to victory to win a 3200m maiden event at a Te Awamutu Trotting Club meeting in 1986. Ferguson wasted no time in establishing his career, he then cemented himself as a star of the future by winning the group 1 Television NZ Mile behind Cinimod Junior in 1987, while still a junior licence holder. The reinsman then went on to win four consecutive national junior drivers’ premierships between the 1988 and 1991 seasons. Ferguson solidified himself as a premier open reinsman and soon started collecting more premier trophies. Of his 19 career group 1 wins, three came in the 1997 calendar year with star mare and Auckland Cup winner, Kate’s First. Another Auckland Cup win came in 2006 with Mi Muchacho. 23 years after his first Ferguson would win yet another Auckland Cup, but not in the harness code. After taking out his greyhound trainer’s licence and developing an excellent winning strike-rate, the reinsman prepared Silenci to win the Auckland Cup for greyhounds this year. Gold Ace was another key contributor to Ferguson’s big race haul in the sulky. The now-retired stallion won a treble of group 1 victories, including his win in the 2011 New Zealand Derby. While maintaining his position as a top-class reinsman over three decades, Ferguson won the New Zealand Drivers’ Premiership in both 2003 and 2007. Ferguson’s win last win in the championship saw him represent New Zealand in the World Drivers Championships in Norway. Ferguson ventured south to Saturday’s Family Feud Drivers’ competition at Oamaru, where he competed alongside his son, Dylan. The father and son finished second behind brothers Nathan and Matthew Williamson.

By Jonny Turner    With grass track form on the board, trainer Brad Mowbray’s team is ready to make an impact at Oamaru on Saturday. Mowbray will start recent turf winners Spicy Girl Becqui and She’s Tough alongside maiden Bombolla. She’s Tough looks a key player in race 8, a heat of the Family Feud Drivers Series. The four-year-old comes into race 7 for driver Dylan Ferguson with three starts for two wins on grass and following an excellent last start effort at Ashburton. “She seems to pace a bit better on the grass,” Mowbray said. “She was a bit scratchy at the start as Ashburton and then before that at Oamaru she was horrible around the south corner.” “But she was really good when she won on the grass at Methven, so hopefully she can do the same at Oamaru.” “She seems fit and well within herself, so fingers crossed she should be a good chance.” In a handy middle-grade field Standout and She’s Tough’s regular driver Matthew Williamson look the toughest pair for the Ferguson and the Mowbray trained mare to hold out. The John Morrison trained pacer ran a good third in the final event on New Zealand Cup Day behind Riveered in his last start. Spicy Girl Becqui looks another strong chance for Mowbray in race 7, another heat of the Family Feud Drivers Series. Another grass track specialist, the mare should get every chance for driver Jay Abernethy from barrier 1. “I am hoping that one might get across and she might be able to trail or even if she was three-back she would be pretty hard to roll if she had a pretty sweet trip and got home.” “For some reason, she is a little bit better on the grass, she seems to let down better.” “If she is ever going to go really good, it is always on the grass.” B K Swy also comes out of Riveered’s win on New Zealand Cup and looks one of the hardest horses for Spicy Girl Bequi to beat. Jay Abernethy will combine with the Brent White trained mare. Bombolla gets an excellent chance to break his maiden with Matthew Williamson in the cart in race 3, an event outside the Family Feud series. The four-year-old went sound races in his last two starts before a short spell when slow away from the mobile and then making up good ground. Bombolla left the gate well in a recent Ashburton trial, where he ran third behind race rival Not Over. “I was really happy with his trial, he hasn’t got a lot of speed,” Mowbray said. “They ran home in 25.7sec (400m), so I was rapt.” “He is a good stayer, so he should love going up the hill at Oamaru.” “In that field, he should have a good show.” “He has been missing away and going pretty good races.” “The horse that beat him at the trials is in there, but they are not going to run home in that time on the grass at Oamaru.” “It will be a totally different kind of race.” Santeria looks the main threat to both Bombolla and Not Over on Saturday. The five-year-old has produced good thirds in much stronger fields in her last two starts. 

By Jonny Turner    John Morrison will have his busiest day as a trainer at Oamaru on Sunday when lining up five horses from his stable. There will be no rest for the junior driver, who will take five outside drives at the meeting, which will see him compete in all ten races. Morrison rates Standout, who steps out in his stable colours in race 10, as one of his best winning chances. The five-year-old had his first run back after being freshened when seventh at Methven last weekend. Morrison was pleased with Standout’s effort for seventh, which hinted he was getting back to kind of form that he produced in his excellent first-up win at Addington in July. “He went good at Methven, he was good from a bad draw,” the trainer-driver said. “And I don’t think he is a grass tracker, he is a bit better on the grit.” “He shouldn’t be too far away, he should be the best of my ones.” Morrison also starts Grand Princess in race 6, following her gritty effort for second at Timaru earlier this month. A repeat of her last start effort should see her tough to beat. “She went good at Timaru, so hopefully she can get away and get a good run.” “If they go hard it will suit her, she will be in the fight if she trots.” Morrison will kick off another campaign with veteran trotter, No Fears, in race 9. The ten-year-old has had one workout ahead of his resumption and though unplaced, he pleased his trainer-driver. “He has got the ability if he trots and behaves – if he trots he is right there.” “But, who knows with him.” “He was good at the workouts and he has been quite relaxed in his work, but he is hard to trust.” Morrison will give Crimson Rain her first start in race 3. The four-year-old was second behind race rival, Daggy Lamb, in her most recent public appearance at the Methven workouts. “She is a handy enough little maiden.” “She is only a wee horse, hopefully she can bob away and get a handy trip hopefully she can run on.” Morrison also lines up stable newcomer, Darryl Kerrigan, in race 8. Random Jude looks to be one of the strongest chances among Morrison’s outside drives. The trotter, trained by his father Chris, will attempt to break her maiden in her sixth start in race 1. “She is an honest wee trotter, she just needs to keep doing what she’s been doing.” “If we can get a good run and hopefully she steps away like normal she will be thereabouts.” “She has had a bit of bad luck the last couple sitting parked.” Morrison is hopeful Champagneandwine can bounce back to better form in race 7. The Malcolm Shinn trained mare has been freshened since disappointing in her last start at Addington after winning at Methven. “She has had a freshen up, she should be a bit sharper than last time.” “She slots into a field that should suit her.” Morrison also drives Bono Brown in race 2, Paul’s Verdict in race 4 and Atomic Traveller in race 5.

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 Oamaru again today with a ten race program starting at 12:05pm and we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good 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 Oamaru Oamaru 18th October 2020 Race 1 Random Jude has been good at her last couple and getting fitter. Winning claims in this field. Top selection.…… Prince Ranier running on late last start in a stronger field. Driver change here and paying good money. Include.…         Emdeegee nice run last start after a gallop midrace. Hard to beat with manners…….. Line A Love stuck on ok last start and will be improved. One for longer odds in this Selections:  Random Jude (2),   Prince Ranier (1),   Line A Love (5),    Emdeegee (12)   Race 2 Hot N Gold has been unlucky in her races and decent draw to work with here. Can win……. Westburn Bliss  has ability and likely to be in or near the lead. Good place chance at nice odds in this field…… Manon The Run decent second last start and he will go forward. Good winning claims here with a soft lead…… Play By Ear drawn to get a cosy run on the fence. Could surprise in what is a tricky field Selections:  Hot N Gold (3),   Westburn Bliss  (2),   Play By Ear (10),   Manon The Run  (4)   Race 3 Captain Confetti has been running good trials and workouts. Will go forward early and good winning chance first up….. Iron Woman at her peak she would be a good chance in this with manners. Include at bolters odds ….. Daggy Lamb drawn well and has been running good races for his last two placings. Winning claims…. Art Collector conditions should suit here. Form has been ok and he is a place chance at longer odds. Selections:   Captain Confetti (4),   Iron Woman (5),   Daggy Lamb (1),   Art Collector (15)   Race 4 Cheddar Made Beta good gate speed and looks ready to go this week with the top driver in the sulky. Top winning chance….. Ohoka Chopper another with gate speed who could land near the leaders early. Include at longer odds.. Dreaminsover racing well against strong fields and should be hard to beat against a field devoid of form…. For Today tidy second on grass last start and good enough to be right in this. Will start favourite and can win Selections:   Cheddar Made Beta (2),   Ohoka Chopper (7),   For Today (12),   Dreaminsover (11)   Race 5 Endless Dreams last couple of runs have been in stronger fields than she meets here. Top selection with good winning claims…… Valynda drawn to stay handy and finishing well last start. Watch the tote but has winning claims… Perfect Cut getting better with racing and has been unlucky. Can trouble the favourite if close enough on the home turn… Booraa good draw and racing ok against similar fields. Can upset although place chances best. Selections:  Endless Dreams (14),   Valynda (1),   Perfect Cut (8),   Booraa (2)   Race 6 Grand Princess in top form and getting fitter. No reason she won’t be in the top three again here. Top selection….. Sonoma Tyron getting better with racing and likely leader early. Can run top three at longer odds…… Black Jacket manners a bit iffy from the ace draw but big motor. Can win with no mistakes.… Don't Look Back ran some good races last campaign and good beginner. One for longer odds Selections:  Grand Princess (7),   Sonoma Tyron (3),   Don't Look Back (6),   Black Jacket (6)   Race 7 B K Swy good win fresh but no good next couple. Looks a top prospect in this field and will be hard to beat if back to her best.……. Champagneandwine going ok and gets an ok draw. Could surprise at good money.… Dolce Vita has been going well in lower grade but step up should be no issue. Can win with a good run in transit ….. Senorita Margarita getting fitter and has run some good races recently. Stable respect but place chances look best. Selections:  B K Swy (7),   Champagneandwine (6),  Dolce Vita (11),  Senorita Margarita (1)   Race 8 Under Wraps tidy run to place two starts ago and getting fitter. Looks the one to beat here and opened over the odds……. Pro Surfer going well placed when last on the track. Usually a good beginner off the gate and has winning claims here..… Canstar has been racing better fields and top three finish looks on the cards if she goes forward early. Include….. Mighty Reactor he won well when last on the track. Could provide an upset if he gets a good run in transit. Selections:  Under Wraps (12),   Canstar (5),   Pro Surfer (3)    Mighty Reactor (11)   Race 9 Chief Of Staff huge run to win last start and draw suits. Can win again if he gets near the leaders early……. No Fears gets the front row draw and coming in fresh. Can upset if they go hard all the way..… She's Allthe Craze disappointing last start but better than that. Should be running on at the finish and can win….. Alvira Hest forgive last start failure and she could bounce back here with good draw and top driver on board Selections:  Chief Of Staff (4),   She's Allthe Craze (3),   No Fears (9)    Alvira Hest (1)   Race 10 Fynn Frost highest rated horse who was unlucky last start. Should be very hard to roll here and top selection……. Miss Impression hardly ever out of the placings and this should be no different with a top four finish on the cards...… Barkley good run after breaking last start. Stand a question mark but has winning claims if he steps away cleanly….. Makasar Boy great draw and forgive last start grass run. Should get a cosy run and he is a top four player in this field. Selections:  Fynn Frost (11),   Miss Impression  (14),   Barkley 8)    Makasar Boy (2)   Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner    A G’s White Socks will be out to buck a growing trend when he steps out in the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on Sunday. Mystery sounds several of the top contenders for the New Zealand Cup and it hit fever pitch this week when stablemates Self Assured and Spankem were withdrawn from the 2600m standing start. Though trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have reported both horses’ setbacks - relating to hoof soreness - are not major issues, their scratchings have added mystery to an already tricky New Zealand Cup puzzle. Self Assured and Spankem join Belle Of Montana, Mach Shard, U May Cullect and Nandolo, who have question marks next to the status of their New Zealand Cup campaigns. Each of the latter quartet have made the waters surrounding New Zealand’s biggest race murkier by disappointing in their most recent lead up races. The withdrawal this week of Another Masterpiece and Princess Tiffany has further complicated the New Zealand Cup puzzle. A massive question mark has hung over A G’s White Socks campaign since he suffered an atrial fibrillation and was pulled up in his first start for the season in last month’s Maurice Holmes Vase. Trainers Greg and Nina Hope then scratched then 7yr-old from the New Brighton Cup two weeks later. The reason for that was not because the horse hit yet another obstacle on what is proving to a bumpy road to the New Zealand Cup and they hope their pacer can get his campaign back on a better footing at Oamaru tomorrow. “After his heart problem he had some treatment and it had a 14-day withholding period, so he had to be scratched out of the New Brighton Cup,” stable representative Ben Hope said. “He was working good enough going in to that race and we thought he would have been a pretty good chance.” A G’s White Socks has been left as one of two proven big race performers left in the Hannon Memorial, alongside Classie Brigade, following the scratchings of Self Assured and Spankem. Classie Brigade’s brilliant standing start manners and excellent recent form, including his last start win in the New Brighton Cup, have seen him installed the hot $2 favourite for the feature. While A G’s White Socks can match the Robert Dunn trained pacer on class, taking his rival on effectively in a fresh state, after his first up run turned in to a non-event, sets him a big task. Though the Hope camp could not be any happier with A G’s White Socks’ fitness levels given the horse’s recent circumstances. “He didn’t miss much work – maybe four or five days – after his fibrillation and we have been quite happy with his work since then,” Ben Hope said. “Obviously there are a lot of nice horses in there, but it does look like a two horse race.” “Classie Brigade is going to be hard to beat because he steps so well.” “It is not going to be easy for A G’s White Socks, but he should still be in the top three you would think.” A G’s White Socks will combine with driver Ricky May in Otago for the first time since May’s recovery from a heart problem that saw him fall from the horse’s sulky in the Central Otago Cup in January after he became unconscious. The current New Zealand Cup climate offers up and coming horses and excellent chance to boost their hopes of being a factor on the second Tuesday in November in the Hannon Memorial. Robyns Playboy, who has started the season in excellent form and broke the Ascot Park track record in his last start, looks a serious contender. Highly popular pacer U May Cullect also gets the chance to bolster his New Zealand Cup claims after disappointing when clearly lacking race fitness first up at Winton last week.  

By Jonny Turner    Canterbury trainer James Dunn added to the incredible mark his family has made in harness racing when scoring his first win at Oamaru yesterday. Dunn joined his father, Geoff, in a training partnership at the start of the season and took just three races to notch his maiden victory. Dunn admitted it was a thrill to complete the feat, but indicated he would have been proud of Lottie Moon whether her result was win, lose or draw. “It was a good thrill, it feels a little different,” the rookie trainer said. “But, I get pretty in to all the races we have and the horses mean a lot to me.” Dunn has been on hand at his father’s stable since he was developing his star pacers Tiger Tara and Venus Serena in 2012. That experience led to the new licence holder deciding a career in harness racing was for him. “I have been involved since I was a kid, obviously being around the horses growing up.” “Back when I was in school I was more interested in the breeding side of things.” “I left school early and then ended up working for Geoff back in 2012.” “About three or four months later we had Venus Serena and Tiger Tara at the trials and then it was just the most amazing thing - winning group 1s - and I kind of rode that.” “I always said I might have to look at doing something else, but the ride kind of didn’t end and by the time it did I was too far in.” Dunn was keen to join forces with his father earlier, but resisted that idea out of respect for him. “I was pretty keen to start a few years ago, but it didn’t really suit.”  “I just had to wait for those good horses to go because I hadn’t worked for him for very long and they were his horses.” “But basically all of the horses we have now I have worked with since they were young.” Dunn hopes to build his career on quality, rather than quantity, much like his father has. “I don’t want to train big numbers, I would rather try to have nice horses.” “We have 12 here at the moment with another 10 to come in.” Chinese Whisper completed a hat-trick of wins in what was a homecoming of sorts in the feature trot at Oamaru yesterday. Trainer-driver Nathan Williamson barely had to ask the Sundon 5yr-old for an effort as he unleashed a scintillating 56.6sec last 800m to win. Chinese Whisper was bred in Oamaru by Williamson’s mother Bev. The 5yr-old is raced by Williamson’s wife, Katie, and Southland farrier Brendan Franks. Italian Lad made it two starts at Oamaru for two brilliant performances when winning yesterday’s Kurow Cup. In September of last year the then 3yr-old drifted off a hot pace before storming home to win and smash the all-comers track record for 2000m in just his first start. Driver Tim Williams was not going to let the same scenario play out yesterday. He punched the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained 4yr-old to the lead in the middle stages, before Italian Lad held out the favourite and runner-up Minstrel to win the 2600m handicap. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Chinese Whisper seeks hat-trick By Jonny Turner    Southern speedster Chinese Whisper will be the talk of Kurow Cup day if he can keep his manners in check for the third consecutive start tomorrow.  The Nathan Williamson trained trotter has unleashed scintillating closing sectionals leading in to the feature handicap trot at Oamaru. Those wins came after two error-ridden performances, which the 5yr-old can put further behind him with another faultless display. And that looks likely if what Chinese Whisper has shown Williamson in trackwork recently is anything to go by. “He seems to be in a really good head space at the moment and I am really happy with him,” the trainer-driver said.  “Fingers crossed he can do things right again on Sunday.” That frame of mind should not be rattled by Chinese Whisper venturing out of Southland for just the second time tomorrow. “I don’t think the trip should worry him, we will go up on the morning of the race and I can’t see it being an issue at all,” Williamson said.  Chinese Whisper will start from a 10m handicap in tomorrow’s 2600m feature. That may not be the hindrance it would be to many horses given the 5yr-old’s electric speed. “I wouldn’t imagine there would be many in that race that would be as fast as him,” Nathan Williamson.  “Ideally I would sit him in and use his speed because it is his biggest asset.” “But he has can do work, I think because he went a couple of poor races earlier on in the season people might think he is weak.” “But he is definitely not.” Chinese Whisper may need to call on his toughness when meeting what looks to be the strongest line up he has faced during his short career. He takes on Midnight Dash, who has been competing well in stronger Addington company recently. Emerging talent Cochy Malc, Superfast Lad, Rydgemont Son and the seemingly born again Missalyssa add depth to an exciting clash.  Williamson will start what is hoped to be Franco Santino’s path to the New Zealand Cup in the Kurow Cup. From a handicapping perspective the 2600m feature looks an ideal race for the 6yr-old. With the scratching of his fellow 20m backmarker, Spirit Of St Louis, Franco Santino has at least 13 more rating points than the rest of the field. “It is a pretty good race for him – with the mark he is on he is not going to find any better races,” Williamson said.  Smart 4yr-olds Minstrel and Italian Lad, who will undoubtedly go to higher ratings, both have a major advantage over Franco Santino in starting from the front line. And Williamson knows how hard they will be to catch. “It won’t be easy chasing them from 20m.” “I have been impressed with what Minstrel has done and you have to have full respect for Italian Lad’s colours.” “But, I am happy with my horse - he went a really nice workout at Winton last week.” “He should go a good race.” Franco Santino was a nose behind race rival Lawrence, who reeled off a in 55.9sec closing 800m at the Winton workouts. Williamson lines one other runner up at Oamaru in Longueval, who starts from barrier 9 in race 9. “The draw is a real killer for him over 2000m.” “But, I didn’t think the field was that strong, so he could be in it if he could get a decent run.”   Williamson hoping for memorable homecoming By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk Southland trainer Nathan Williamson will be hoping for a memorable homecoming when he takes three stable runners north to Oamaru Racecourse on Sunday. The North Otago native is pleased with his trio of runners and he is looking forward to kicking off what could be an exciting spring for Group Three performer Franco Santino who will contest The Golden Fleece Hotel Kurow Cup (2600m). The six-year-old entire will start from the 20m back mark and Williamson is hoping for a solid first hit-out ahead of some bigger targets later on this year. “He seems well and his training has been good,” Williamson said. “He went well in a recent trial and he benefited from that run.  “He has trained on well since, so I am happy enough with him.” Williamson isn’t expecting a lot on Sunday with his sights set further on in the season. “Fresh-up we are just using it as a starting point, but he seems pretty happy,” he said. “The two off the front (Minstrel and Italian Lad) are going to be the two to beat.  “If he got a nice run I would think he would finish in the top four. Being his first-up run we would be happy with that.” A tilt at the Gr.1 New Zeaalnd Cup (3200m) in November remains firmly on the raider and Williamson said he will target a few feature races in the south prior to testing the waters in Canterbury later this spring. “He was sixth in the Hannon Memorial (Gr.3, 2600m) last year, so he has got that on his agenda,” he said. “We will take him up to a couple of races in Canterbury and see how he mixes it with a couple of the better ones. “We are going to nominate him for the Cup. We nominated him last year and just decided to give him another year. He should be ready for it now if he is up to the class. “We will see how that transpires and hopefully we make the race.” Williamson will also line-up Chinese Whisper in the Glamour Hooves Racing Stables Handicap Trot (2600m). The Sundon five-year-old will be vying to make it three wins on-end and if he continues to impress Williamson said he could join his stablemate on the trip north to Addington Raceway in November. “He has been going well,” Williamson said. “There are a couple of nice horses in there. He has been trotting well so if he brings his A game I am sure he will acquit himself well. “He will have a freshen-up after this race and then we will have a look at some races later on in the spring. “The Cup meeting is on the agenda, but what sort of races I am not quite sure. He will be in the middle grades somewhere.” Williamson is also confident of a bold showing from Longueval in the Bluff Proteins/Johnson Gluyas Tractors Mobile Pace (2000m). The Bettor’s Delight gelding ran third last start over 2200m at Invercargill and Williamson is hoping he can go two better on Sunday. “He has been racing pretty well of late. He has just got a bit of a rough alley (9),” he said. “It’s a bit of a step back in class for him so he should be hard enough to beat.” Williamson is looking forward to heading back to Oamaru where he will be able to catch-up with family and friends. “It’s good to get up to Oamaru,” he said. “We will stay up there and spend the night with Mum and Dad.  “It will be good to get back there and it’s a good change from going to just the one track mostly since lockdown. A bit of a change is always good.”

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 Oamaru today with a ten race program starting at 12:00pm and in this video we highlight some specials and value runners we think can give you a run for your money on a good 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 Oamaru.   Oamaru Selections Sunday 16th August 2020   Race 1 American Viking has ability but blowing it with manners issues. One for longer odds and can win with manners.…… Cody Banner has been running on in tough fields and getting fitter with racing. Could be the early leader and can win……Jaguar Bay  change of trainer and good win at last weeks trials. Include….. Gold Chain good last start and this field not as strong. Should run top three as long she brings her manners Selections:  Gold Chain (9),   Jaguar Bay  (16),   Cody Banner (1),    American Viking (12)   Race 2 Le Pole Dancer coming in fresh with no workouts so fitness query. Good winning claims at longer odds if she can land the front early……. Lottie Moon another going ok at Addington and drops into a winnable race. Big winning chance…… Mrs Washington batled on last start but tricky draw. Can run in three with luck…… Ebony Banner has a bit of ability but even field here. Can run top three with luck in the running. Selections:  Lottie Moon (12),   Le Pole Dancer (6),   Mrs Washington (7),   Ebony Banner (4)   Race 3 Mossdale Mac has not had a lot of luck in his last few starts. One for longer odds in this field who can win with manners…… Corravally Star disappointing last start but drawn well and should go close here. Good winning claims.…. Mongolian Conqueror in good form and this is easier than what he has been racing. Will start favourite and should run top three …… Westburn Bliss running on last start and can place here with her good manners. Selections   Mossdale Mac (8),   Corravally Star (4),  Mongolian Conqueror (7),  Westburn Bliss (5)   Race 4 Demand Respect ok last start in a strong field. From the strike rate stable and top selection here….. Ticking Over some tidy runs last campaign and good draw. Top three player for sure at longer odds….. John James Preston workouts have been good. Should get a run through from the draw and winning chance here…. Magic Mike has run some decent races and getting fitter. Can trouble the favourite. Selections:  Demand Respect (3),   Ticking Over (2),   Magic Mike (6),    John James Preston (1)   Race 5 Steel Dust trainer change could work wonders. Don’t mind him today, top selection….. Chief Of Staff has a lot of ability and good last start. Can step and run and winning claims here… Christmas Babe good third last start and will be fitter. Tricky draw and place claims best….. Grand Princess change of trainer here. Not the worst and winning claims if she can find the lead early. Selections:  Steel Dust (4),   Chief Of Staff (11),   Grand Princess (2),   Christmas Babe (14)   Race 6 Standout classy pacer at best and top junior on board. Will be hard to beat if he can land somewhere near the pace with cover ….. Essence Of Easton deserved win last start and will be improved. Can run in the money again here.…… Stavros The Terror getting fitter after racing in good form in his latest few runs. Needed here.… Four Starzzz Shiraz running good races and drawn well only needs a good trip in transit to be a place chance here. Selections:  Standout (9),   Essence Of Easton (7),   Four Starzzz Shiraz (3),    Stavros The Terror (12)   Race 7 Midnight Dash raciong good Addington fields with merit. Will go close to winning this with manners……. Chinese Whisper on his way to the best classes and dangerous with a run close to the pace. Good winning claims with manners.… Overzealous lobs into the money every now and then and getting fitter with racing. Good place chance at longer odds….. Rydgemont Son has been in good form and track stats stack up well. Can win even from the handicap. Selections:  Midnight Dash (9),   Chinese Whisper (12),   Overzealous (10),    Rydgemont Son (13)   Race 8 Italian Lad needs to bring his manners but this fields suits. Winning claims if he can get handy before the home turn……. Minstrel has been freshened and trials good. Has a big finish with a run close to the pace and good  winning claims.… Lawrence tricky draw but not the worst here if he leaves the stand quickly. One for longer odds….. Franco Santino on a path to the Cup and would want to be going close to winning this to keep on track. Include Selections:  Italian Lad (6),   Minstrel (2),   Lawrence (7),  Franco Santino (8)   Race 9 Skippys Delight Has been disappointing but would win this on his best form. Should run top three……. Longueval good third last start but tricky draw. Winning claims with a run close to the pace..… Dreaminsover will be better for the last start run. Draw good and he will be running on….. Cheddar Made Beta tricky draw but should be poking through the inside in the home straight. Place hopes best Selections:  Skippys Delight (11),   Longueval (9),   Dreaminsover (1)    Cheddar Made Beta (10)   Race 10 American Lightning Has been impressive and would win this on his best form. Should run top three with stand start the only question mark……. The Kaik good third two starts ago and stand no issue. Winning claims with a run close to the pace..… Flamboyant will be better for the last start run. Draw good and he will be running on up the inside….. The Diva conditions suit and she could be the early leader. Place claims Selections:  American Lightning (12),   The Kaik (7),   Flamboyant (1)    The Diva (5)     Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner   Handing a quick turn around is the main challenge for Southland trotter Moniburns as she attempts to continue her brilliant form on grass at Oamaru today. The 8yr-old has won her last two starts for trainers Kirstin Barclay and Paul Ellis and owner Paul Hillis on the same track and over the same distance she faces in today’s 2000m feature trot. Moniburns led all of the way to win for driver Blair Orange on the first day of the annual two-day Waikouaiti meeting at Oamaru on Sunday. That victory came after the Monarchy mare produced an identical performance on the track eight days prior. Rewind twelve months and Moniburns won at last year’s Oamaru meeting, before running second on Waikouaiti Cup day and being well beaten in to fourth as the favourite two days later. Hillis, who is a key part of Barclay and Ellis’ training operation will be hoping his mare backs up better than she did last year when she steps out in race 8 today. “Backing up will be the biggest concern for her,” Barclay said. “The field isn’t that much stronger than she beat the other day and looked to do it really easily on Sunday.” Moniburns’ form suggests she is returning to Oamaru in even better order than last year, which could help her chances overcoming her short turnaround from Sunday. “Paul reckons she is in the best form of her life.” “He does all the driving with her at home and looks after her and before he left for Oamaru he said she was really well.” Moniburns has been aided by two typically excellent front running drives from Orange in her last two wins. Finding the lead will be a slightly trickier task today as his mare starts from a 10m handicap, rather than off the front line. Why Moniburns excels in February at Oamaru can not be explained by just one factor. Instead, it appears to be for a number of reasons. “Maybe she just loves the track and the longer grass it has on it,” Barclay said.  Moniburns was the $7 equal fourth favourite, with Only One Way in fixed odds betting for race 8, last night. Bookmakers rated One Over Dover ($5.50), Playboy’s Brother ($6) and Sundon’s Flyer ($6.50) ahead of the pair. One Over Dover ran home well in to fourth after galloping and losing ground behind Moniburns on Sunday. Playboy’s Brother ran second behind impressive winner, Never Mind, in a stronger race on the same day.  Only One Way and Sundons’s Flyer did not start on Sunday. The pair have both competed in stronger events at Addington recently. In a strange turn, Orange will sit out four races at today’s meeting. Despite being the reigning national premiership winner and winning nearly three times more races than another driver in the country so far this season, the reinsman has just six drives in today’s 10 races.  Orange’s best winning hopes alongside Moniburns look to be Emma Louise in race 2 and Chiller Bay in race 10.  Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Finding the perfect starting point for smart 4yr-olds Lotamuscle and Gil Favour to begin their seasons means trotting master Paul Nairn will make a rare trip from Leeston to Oamaru today. Nairn has chosen to step the pair out for the first time since the Harness Jewels in June on the grass track at Oamaru on Waikouaiti Cup day. Lotamuscle and Gil Favour took contrasting paths to end up in the top bracket of New Zealand’s 3yr-old trotters last season. Lotamuscle announced his class when winning last year’s Hambletonian Classic. Gil Favour started his season in more humble circumstances, winning his maiden in his second start at Methven. The squaregaiter consistently improved last term and went on to notch placings in the Northern Trotting Derby and Harness Jewels. Lotamuscle’s downward-trending formline, which culminated in a sixth placing at the Harness Jewels, could be partly attributed to the horse battling stomach ulcers. Nairn hopes those problems are now behind the gelding. "It is fair to say his form was a little bit mixed in his last half-dozen starts last season," Nairn said. "We found he had ulcers which are not uncommon in racehorses. [They] were affecting him a bit. "It is hard to know exactly how they are unless you put a camera down and have a look. But he is in good order and he is quite healthy and well." Nairn has been pleased with Lotamuscle leading up to his first start as a 4yr-old. "He is probably a bit on the fat side at the moment. "His work has been quite good and he seems quite good." Gil Favour has also pleased Nairn. The trainer is hopeful the 4yr-old, who he bred and races himself, will continue his upward momentum this term. "I was pleasantly surprised with how much he stepped up to it last season," Nairn said. "He has come back well. "The two of them are ... not great trackworkers at home. "Gil Favour is possibly working a little bit better than he was last season so I am hopeful he is going to take the next step up." Gil Favour gets a 10m headstart on his stablemate, who starts from the 10m mark tomorrow. Nairn favours Gil Favour as a slightly better winning prospect. "I think if Gil Favour can step away like he can do he will have an advantage over the other horse. "It is his first stand [start] for a while after having a lot of mobile racing, but if he begins like he has before it will be hard for the other fellow to catch him." In typical Nairn style, neither Lotamuscle nor Gil Favour has had a trial or workout leading into their resumptions. That means they give away a race-fitness edge to their main rivals Kiwi Crusher (front), Riteur (10m) and Humble Ladd (10m). The Waikouaiti Cup features a battle of experience and inexperienced pacers. Fifty-one-start veteran Queen Bee Bardon will clash in the 3000m feature with Rocknroll Max, who will be having just his seventh start. Rocknroll Max will get a 20m headstart on the mare when he starts from the front line. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner   Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope can continue their brilliant recent strike rate at Oamaru today with Homebush Lad. The 6yr-old is one of the leading contenders for the feature 2000m pace, the ninth race on a bumper 12-race card of grass track racing. Homebush Lad comes in to the event after getting within half a length of Cast No Shadow in his Amberly Cup win on the Rangiora grass, last weekend. His showing in that significantly stronger event means today’s event should not hold any fears for the Mach Three pacer. “The way he went at Amberly he just needs to step cleanly and be close by them and he should really be the horse to beat,” driver Ben Hope said. “If Cast No Shadow this week he would be the hot favourite.” “He has been going some great races, so as long as he can step away well, which he has been doing, he should be hard to beat.” Homebush Lad shares the 10m mark with in form Roxburgh pacer Wolfenstein. They are the only two horses off handicaps, with the remaining seven runners starting from the front line. Much of Homebush Lad’s recent form has come over staying distances, including his last start second over 2600m. Hope does not see today’s step back to 2000m being a major problem for his pacer. “I don’t think it would be a negative, obviously he has been going well over distance.” “But, Mach Threes don’t mind short distance racing, so I definitely don’t think it would be a disadvantage.” Krystal Delight starts for the Greg, Nina and Ben Hope combination in race 6. The 5yr-old looks one of the best winning hopes in the 2000m mobile, if finds clear air from her barrier 1 on the second row draw. “She has been going good races and I don’t think there is anything in the field that is a lot better than her,” Ben Hope said. “But just from that draw she is going to need a bit of luck.” Dreamsinthe Mist starts for the Hopes in today’s opener, with Blair Orange in the sulky. The former high priced yearling has failed to flatter in two starts as a 3yr-old. The squaregaiter has the potential to win race, but whether he can show that today will depend on his manners. “He has definitely got ability,” Hope said.  “We paid quite a bit for him at the sales a couple of years ago – he is pretty well bred.” “He is a trotter that we are still working out in a way and he hasn’t got the best gait.” “He is a horse that we think a bit of, but we are not sure he will be able to show it this time in.” “He will be a nice horse one day.” Ever So Bettor starts in race 3 for the Hope stable with Ben Hope to drive. “She is probably a horse I couldn’t tip out as a winner with the way she is going,” Ben Hope said. “But she should get a pretty good opportunity at Oamaru.” “She should win a maiden, it is just a matter of when and where.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner    Brothers Zachary and Benjamin Butcher proved consistency counts when winning the Family Feud Driving Series at Oamaru on Saturday. The northern reinsmen beat out the five other sets of siblings in the competition to win without taking out any of the four series heats. The Butchers’s win came in the first running of the siblings series, which was changed after formerly being run as the Brothers In Arms Drivers Series. Their tally of 65 points saw them beat sisters, Sheree and Kerryn Tomlinson, who were second with 61 points. Brothers Matthew and Brad Williamson were third with 60 points. The Butchers best results in the competition came when they produced three placings. Benjamin drove Refine in to second placing behind Futura Easton, who scored a front-running win for Matthew Williamson. Zachary was seventh in heat one behind Betstars Blue Jean.  Williamson also took out heat two of the competition with Only One Way. The Butchers were both out of the placings with Zachary finishing fifth with Sugar Can and Benjamin finishing seventh with Moniburns. The brothers picked up more points when Zachary finished second with Markham Eyre and Benjamin finished third with Goodthingstaketime in heat three.  The race was won by Gotta Party Doll for fellow northern driver Sailesh Abernethy, who teamed with brother, Jay.  The Butchers sealed their victory when Zachary and Donegal Gilbert finished fourth and Benjamin finished ninth with Sheeza Sport in heat four.  The race was taken out by Three Ideas and Craig Thornley, who competed alongside brother, Chris. Final points tally: Zachary and Benjamin Butcher - 65 Sheree and Kerryn Tomlinson - 61 Matthew and Brad Williamson - 60 Jay and Sailesh Abernethy - 50 Gerard and Leo O’Reilly - 41 Craig and Chris Thornley - 35   Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Jonny Turner   Ashburton trainer Brent White is set to play a key role when brothers and sisters square off in Oamaru’s annual family driving series on Saturday.  White lines up two strong winning hopes in Burlington and Hot Starff, who will compete in the heats of the rebranded Family Feud Drivers Series. Hometown driver Matthew Williamson, who competes alongside brother Brad, was the lucky reinsman to clinch the drive behind Burlington. The 4yr-old looks the classiest horse competing, and a big chance in heat 4. Burlington ran third in last season’s group 2 Southern Supremacy Stakes final. "He has come back looking a lot stronger," White said. "He has done a power of work at home and he has had one workout a fortnight ago. "Mikayla Lewis drove him and she came back in very happy with him. And he has had another good hit out at home since." Competing in just one slowly-run trial makes Burlington slightly vulnerable against a field of race-hardened rivals. White hopes a patient drive and his 4yr-old’s class will help him overcome that. "It may be a week too early for him, but it is a penalty-free win so you can’t turn that down. "He worked on the back of Jazzy Star before he won on Show Day at Addington and Mikayla felt his work was nice then and he has certainly come on a lot since then." Cool tactics worked in Burlington’s only other start on grass.  The pacer produced a huge finish for a scintillating win at Gore in February. The Williamson brothers have a strong hand in heat 4, with Brad to drive last-start winner King Of Heroes. Westwood Beach pacer Bono Brown looks another strong chance in the race for Leo O’Reilly. O’Reilly competes alongside his brother Gerald, who drives outsider, The Go To Man, in heat 4. Gerard looks to have a much bigger chance of winning heat 3 with the White-trained Hot Starff. Hot Starff was in excellent form for much of her campaign before spelling in July, and White expects the mare to continue that on her return. "I have been hoping to get her in to a low-rated race and she will get that on Saturday." Hot Starff has had one trial leading in to her resumption, and it was a fast one. The 2400m heat was cut out in 2.58.7, with the last 400m in a sizzling 26.5sec. "She has come through it well. "She is in the same boat as Burlington — whatever she does she will improve on, but I couldn’t be happier with her." The Tomlinson sisters look to have a big hand in heat 2, with Sheree to drive Jimmy Richter and Kerryn to drive Glacier Coaster. Zachary and Benjamin Butcher look well placed to make a good beginning to tomorrow’s driving series in heat 1. Zachary drives the consistent Sugar Cane and Benjamin steers leading hope Moniburns. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

By Garrick Knight An Oamaru twilight meeting presents as an unusual but interesting offering for punters on Thursday. Ben Hope will head down from Woodend Beach in North Canterbury to drive five of the team prepared by his parents, Greg and Nina. Among them is Baxter, a resuming four-year-old trotter that was deemed good enough by the Hopes to contest the Hambletonian Classic at just his second start last season. What’s more, the half-brother to former champion trotter Monbet ran third behind Lotamuscle in the Group 3 feature. He only had one further start before being turfed out and this week represents his first run since March. The junior Hope piloted the son of Muscle Hill in heavy weather at the Rangiora workouts last week and says he was happy enough with his third placing. But this week, in a junior drivers’ event, where a penalty-free win is in the offing, he isn’t exactly preparing his acceptance speech. “He’s a nice enough horse without being a star. “I was happy with his trial and, while he got a bit tired towards the end, he was entitled to first up on a heavy track. “He’s obviously going to be an each-way chance, but is no certainty. “To be fair, too, I think he would prefer a shorter distance than the 2600 metres.” Hope points to another relative of Monbet as probably his best chance on the day. Her name is Crazy N Love and she debuts in the first on the card, a maiden trotter. She’s been given plenty of time to learn the ropes at recent workouts and trials and has shown her trainers plenty. “I really rate her,” said Hope. “She is a lovely filly and is going to do a bloody good job in time. Whether that is this week or in a couple of years’ time, I’m not sure. “She’s not fool-proof and mentally is just not quite there yet. “I was really happy with her first trial this time, but in the second one she knuckled over on the bend. “It does look a pretty weak field and if she trots the whole way, she should go pretty close.” Rockntommy Rulz doesn’t have an overly inspiring record – just one placing in nine starts – but his two runs for fifth this time in have been better than they looked. He’s drawn well in gate three in a handy field of maiden pacers over the short course mile-and-a-quarter trip and Hope reckons he could surprise. “He can take advantage of that draw. “He’s actually improved a lot since last season and those first two runs have been ok, I thought. “Last season he kept going out as a favourite but I felt he was too physically weak to be very competitive, but he’s definitely grown up now.” Panda Girl is a daughter of former stable star Helena Jet, but doesn’t seem to have inherited much of her mother’s ability. “She’s really not showing a lot, but if she was ever going to win one, this is it. “I would have liked to have drawn the front line with her because she’s usually quite a good beginner. “It doesn’t seem an overly strong field and with an economical run I expect her to be at least a place chance.” Rounding out Hope’s book is stable newcomer Melody Pond, who showed glimpses of ability for former trainer Robert Anderson on the grass last season and has seemingly turned the corner in recent weeks. “The first few weeks we had her, she was pretty average, but has definitely improved. “Dad’s been doing most of the driving with her and he reckons she’s come on lately. “We’ll know more after the race but if she can settle handy from that good draw, she’s got to be a reasonably good chance.” Bookies have shown respect to Crazy N Love, opening her a $2.90 favourite while Melody Pond ($7.50), Rockntommy Rulz ($17), Panda Girl ($5.50) and Baxter ($4.20) all present varying degrees of each-way appeal. Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Hype pacer U May Cullect faces a tricky introduction to the big time of New Zealand pacing. Because the Southland star has drawn the ace for Sunday’s Hannon Memorial at Oamaru and while that sounds good, it almost certainly isn’t. The winner of seven of his eight starts, U May Cullect is one of the more exciting pacer to emerge away from the usual age group channels to open class in recent seasons. Even his last start third off a 50m handicap when resuming saw him pace sectionals that suggest he won’t be out of place in open class and he adds a fresh dynamic to a sometimes stale elite pacing scene. Sunday is his chance to prove he can run with the big boys, up against proven superstars like Miracle Mile winner Spankem but while the ace draw may sound ideal in a mobile start, it could be niggly in what is U May Cullect’s first full standing start. He has had two standing starts before and both have been off handicaps, where most horses tend to step well with plenty of room to move. But on Sunday he will have to come into line first and stand the longest with a full front line outside him. That can be annoying for even the most experienced horses and he is going to need to be very professional to hold his field position against many of the best pacers in the country. Driver Kirsten Barclay told Trackside TV yesterday the six-year-old pacer had come through his resumption well but admitted the standing start under full front line conditions concerns her. Spankem looks set to start a dominant favourite on Sunday after a huge second when resuming at Addington last Friday night but the Hannon has drawn the best field of the season so far, with Chase Auckland, Ultimate Stride and A G’s White Socks also entered. The latter’s trainer Greg Hope has decided to give both his open class trotters Monbet and Enghien this weekend off but has not given up on getting Monbet back to winning form. The former champion trotter has looked a shadow on himself in two starts this campaign, finishing 23m behind Sundees Son in the Ordeal Cup last Friday night. “He just isn’t fit enough and I think he might be looking after himself when he is getting back in the field,” admits Hope. “But he is sound so we are going to press on with him and up his work. “It is hard for him because he had almost three years away and it is like a rugby player not playing for three years and then coming back at All Black level, rather than playing at club then provincial level first. “So I’d like to see him get more handicapping relief so we can race him back into form.  “If he runs a few more races like that retirement might loom but for now we are heading toward Addington next week.”   by Michael Guerin

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