Day At The Track
Search Results
1 to 16 of 245
1 2 3 4 5 Next »

Trainer Steven Reid has issued the usual warning for punters wanting to back any top horses returning from a long break off a back mark. But the story of Star Galleria’s comeback race at Alexandra Park tonight has a few more twists and turns than usual. The speed-freak pacer returns in tonight’s main pace off a 30m handicap over 2200m, which in itself can be a recipe for punting disaster. Because while he is clearly the best horse in the race, rival drivers know their best chance of beating him is to go hard all the way. So they could pace 2:43 or quicker off the front and leave him needing to go faster than almost any pacer has at Alexandra Park, coming wide to win. That sounds difficult when race hardened, seemingly impossible when fresh. But here is the catch. Star Galleria did exactly that is this race last year, coming from a 20m backmark to beat stronger opposition in 2:39.7, which wiped a remarkable 3.1 seconds off the national record. So the best version of Star Galleria can clearly still win tonight. But here is where things get murky. Three weeks ago Reid thought that level of return was on the cards again after Star Galleria flew in a lightning quick workout at Pukekohe. But an examination soon after suggested potential problem tissue on his epiglottis, on which he underwent an entrapment operation last season. “Initially we thought we had a problem there again but after a treatment of antibiotics he has scoped 100 per cent clear but it cost us nine days work,” explains Reid. “After that I gave him a decent workout last Saturday and again on Wednesday and he felt flat in the first one but far better in the second one. “So I am thinking he is going into this needing a run, maybe two, because he is a year older and because he missed those nine days work.” Reid will tell catch driver Zachary Butcher to cut as many corners as he can with Star Galleria before looking for a winning run over the last lap if the six-year-old feels like he is travelling well enough. “But with all that in mind it could depend on his rivals and and how he feels, so I’d say to punters if he is $3.8 or something like that take the risk, but we know he won’t get to that,” says Reid. Making life even more difficult for Star Galleria is the fact key rivals like The Devils Own, Check In and even a front marker like Bettorstartdreaming are all the sort of pacers who like to run along so are capable of exploiting any weakness in Star Galleria’s armoury. While Butcher will have his work cut out finding the right balance with Star Galleria, he will also be on another of the more exciting pacers racing tonight in untapped three-year-old Line Up (race five). He looked a Sires’ Stakes horse winning fresh-up last Friday but steps well up in grade and distance tonight. Still, if he is going to be a factor in the Sires’ Stakes series which culminates at Addington in November the younger brother to Partyon will want to be winning tonight.   Michael Guerin

Three of New Zealand’s best pacers will miss their biggest targets of the season after shock errors ruled them out of Menangle features over the next fortnight. Star Galleria misses his shot at qualifying for next week’s A$1 million Miracle Mile and Utmost Delight and Elle Mac the Ladyship Mile after all missed the nomination cut off yesterday morning for the preludes at Menangle this Saturday.  Star Galleria needed to contest a $100,00 prelude of the Miracle Mile to have any chance of qualifying for the great race, while his stablemate Utmost Delight and the All Stars-trained Elle Mac had to start in a mares race this week and finish top four to qualify for the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile.  Trainer Steven Reid missed the nomination time for both Star Galleria and Utmost Delight by two minutes.  “I was buying a horse at the sales and thought I had plenty of time but when I went to nominate the free calling number you use doesn’t work from New Zealand,” explained Reid.  “By the time I googled the office number and then rang them, got through to the racing office via reception I was too late. “I tried to explain what happened but their boss John Dumesny told me he would check the phone records and if I was late they couldn’t bend the rules.  “He checked the phone log and I was two minutes later and they won’t let them start. So they are coming home.”  While Reid was disappointed, the owners of Utmost Delight, Paul and Mary Kenny, were pragmatic about the error.  “It is disappointing but people make mistakes,” said Kenny, who still has Dream About Me in the race.   Elle Mac was being nominated online but because she had never raced in Australia she was not already in their system so that couldn’t be completed and by the time the phone call was made to try and rectify that problem it was too late.  That leaves New Zealand with six potential Miracle Mile contenders, all from the All Stars, contesting preludes on Saturday while Dream About Me (Ladyship Mile), Princess Tiffany (NSW Oaks) and I’m Anothermasterpiece (NSW Derby) will contest preludes of those races. Michael Guerin

Kiwi harness racing mare Utmost Delight showed her toughness by bravely fighting back to win when looking beaten at Tabcorp Park Melton in Australia on Saturday night. Racing against a small but strong field in the Gr3 Pure Steel, Utmost Delight sat parked for the majority of the race before rallying late in the run home to claim a narrow short head win in a gruelling 3 way battle up the home straight. Utmost Delight (Bettor's Delight-Victor Supreme) ran the 2240m mobile in 2-39.3, a mile rate of 1-54.4  Trainer Steven Reid was looking to get the classy mare to the bigger track in Sydney he told harness correspondent Adam Hamilton earlier in the week.   .Watch the video replay here                 4 8:03pm EDGELL SIDEWINDERS THE PURE STEEL (GROUP 3) 2240M $30,000 M0 Or Better. PBD/$L4. Mobile Final Results Pl  Horse Prize- money   Row & Br TAB # Trainer Driver (C = Concession) Mgn (m) Starting odds Stewards' Comments  1 UTMOST DELIGHT NZ  $ 17,100   Fr5 5 Steven Reid Greg Sugars   $ 1.90 fav  3WE OLM 2 SWAB   BAY MARE 5 by BETTORS DELIGHT USA out of VICTOR SUPREME (NZ) (PLACID VICTOR NZ)  Owner(s): C J (Charles) Roberts  Breeder(s): C J (Charles) Roberts 2 SHADOW REIGN  $ 4,500   Fr1 1 Wayne Potter Gavin Lang SHFHD $ 15.20   GS WC L 1 3 AMPLE POWER  $ 3,000   Fr4 4 Emma Stewart Chris Alford HFNK $ 5.50   PRS 6 D/F 4 MAKES EVERY SCENTS  $ 1,500   Fr6 6 David Aiken Kima Frenning 3.50 $ 17.00   RAS 8 5 EGODAN  $ 900   Fr2 2 Kevin Pizzuto Todd McCarthy 5.30 $ 3.10   PRS GS UCL 4 HUE 6 LOVE INA CHEVY NZ  $ 600   Fr3 3 Lance Justice Lance Justice 8.00 $ 22.50   3 Scratchings All started Track Rating: GOOD Gross Time: 2:39:3 Mile Rate: 1:54:4 Lead Time: 44.3 First Quarter: 29.5 Second Quarter: 30 Third Quarter: 28.3 Fourth Quarter: 27.2 Margins: SHFHD x HFNK  

In racing, your enemy can very quickly become your friend. Which is just as well for Steven Reid and Star Galleria heading into tonight’s $500,000 Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton, because if they have any chance of winning they might need some help from those enemies. Star Galleria is the speed freak New Zealand pacer who looked like he could be anything back in spring until a moderate campaign saw him diagnosed with an entrapped epiglottis. Since that was operated on Star Galleria has rediscovered his turbo booster, even giving Wrappers Delight a fair start and a beating at Melton last Saturday. That suggested he could win tonight’s great race until the barrier draw suggested he couldn’t. Star Galleria has drawn three on the second line, not a killer blow in itself but the real problem is Inter Dominion champion Tiger Tara drew barrier three, from where he should lead and play catch me if you can. They usually can’t. Sitting on Tiger Tara’s back Star Galleria might have the speed to slingshot a vulnerable version. From the second line he will need help. Enter, the enemy. Actually, two of them. They are Thefixer and Cruz Bromac from the Purdon-Rasmussen stable and, quite incredibly, the last eight times Star Galleria has been beaten the race has been won by a Purdon-Rasmussen horse. But, tonight, they might be his only hope, because all three are likely to settle back and move in the middle stages. “I think that is our best chance, rather than trying to punch through at the start on the back of Tiger Tara,” Reid said. “In those big staying races being out of the early rush can often be a good thing, but if Tiger Tara runs straight to the front we could all be in trouble. “So I hope there is some pressure early and then the Kiwis all move together. Maybe then, if we get the right sit, we have a chance, because I couldn’t be happier with my horse.” Thefixer beat Tiger Tara in the New Zealand Cup, but that was when he hugged the marker pegs and the Tiger had to come wide. Tonight the horseshoe is very much on the other hoof. Unless Group 1 fever strikes a couple of the drivers or Tiger Tara performs below his best, the result might be different too.   Michael Guerin

Kiwi trainer Steven Reid isn’t letting the cold hard facts of the barrier draw for Saturday’s Hunter Cup dent his confidence.  Because as Reid sees it, last Saturday showed him a good draw can quickly become a bad one and vice versa.  Reid has Star Galleria in the A$500,000 Hunter Cup and Utmost Delight in the A$30,000 Pure Steel at Melton this Saturday.  Both have tricky draws, with Star Galleria drawn the second line and Utmost Delight wide on the front in a small field.  But while Utmost Delight has a class edge on many of her rivals, Star Galleria not only faces the might of the All Stars but the even more unenviable task of giving Tiger Tara a start as he has drawn seemingly perfectly at barrier three over the 2760m mobile.  “That doesn’t look good, especially if Tiger Tara is at his best,” says Reid.  “But often in big races what can seem a good draw can be a bad one and vice versa.  “Last Saturday I thought we had a good draw with Utmost Delight in the Ladyship Cup and she ended up sitting parked in a 1:51 mile rate for the 1720m and the horse who won (Carla’s Pixel) came from the second line. “So I am not going to let the draw bother us too much because the horse is very, very well and we have Tony (Herlihy).  “Sure, Tiger Tara might be too good on his best form but first he has to turn up in that form and even then I just hope there is some early pressure and we can come into the race later.”That looks likely as the All Stars pair of Thefixer and Cruz Bromac are also drawn the second line either side of Star Galleria and if the trio settle back they could all move together.  Whether that is good enough to sit parked or one-one and come from behind Tiger Tara is what we will all find out. “The good news is I couldn’t be happier with my horses,” says Reid.  “The heat hasn’t affected them at all and they seem right at the top of their game.  “Maybe Star can’t win from that draw against Tiger Tara but funny things can happen in big races.”Reid is far more confident with Utmost Delight as she takes on a mixed bunch of free-for-allers in the Pure Steel.  “She was good last week after sitting parked but I am sure she will be even better this week.  “She has really bounced out of the run well and I think she will race very close to her peak.” All going well after Saturday night the Reid pair will head to Menangle for the Miracle Mile meeting, where Utmost Delight will target the Ladyship Mile.   Michael Guerin

The Australian debut of New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer could hardly be going better. Now all the five-year-old has to do is win Saturday's A$110,000 Ballarat Cup. The Canterbury pacer went missing in action after winning the New Zealand Cup, with his champion trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen giving him an easy time and dodging the Auckland Cup before he returned with a luckless run at Cambridge last Friday. But while he couldn't get into the Flying Mile there because of a bad draw his luck looks to be turning around as he aims at his next target. Not only has Australia's best pacer Tiger Tara been a surprise withdrawal from the Ballarat Cup but the field has fallen away in general, with Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal in Perth for the West Australian Cup and Kiwi pacer Pat's Delight's trainer Cran Dalgety deciding to miss Saturday's race. So Thefixer and stablemate Cruz Bromac dominated the market for the Ballarat feature before yesterday's draw and Thefixer was elevated to clear favouritism after drawing barrier three. While he isn't known for having the gate speed that will ensure his draw sees him stroll to the lead, Thefixer should settle handy and Purdon wouldn't be surprised if he does use his draw to reach the top. "He has natural speed and while he hasn't been asked to run off the gate in the past I am sure he will have early speed if we ask him," he suggests. So with the high class withdrawals and his seemingly perfect draw Thefixer opened clear favourite with the Australian TAB and could continue to shorten as punters there love a well-drawn favourite. Cruz Bromac probably has the greater gate speed of the pair but has drawn wide at barrier six and early tactics will be crucial. He hasn't raced since his brave third in the Inter Dominion Final on December 15 but was impressive at the Melton trials last week. The pair's stablemate Spankem will be kept to an easier grade on Saturday night as he prepares for his clash with Pat's Delight in the Bonanza at Melton next week, a four-year-old race that would qualify the winner for the Chariots of Fire in Sydney. New Zealand will also have reps in heats of the Victoria Derby with Another Masterpiece one of the favourites for a very deep Derby series while Supreme Dominator has also been sent across by trainer Barry Purdon and remarkably both have drawn barrier one in their heats. Steven Reid is set to take his stable stars Star Galleria and Utmost Delight this week while Nicky Chilcott has Juice Brogden entered in an intermediate grade pacer at Melton on Friday night. Star trotters Marcoola, Speeding Spur and Amaretto Sun will join the Kiwi team in Victoria from this weekend.   Michael Guerin

The "bridesmaids" are set to get their chance in Cambridge's race of the season. Because both Jack's Legend and Star Galleria have drawn to try and upset the All Stars apple cart in the $60,000 Waikato Flying Mile on Friday night. The sprint race is the centrepiece of the club's centenary celebrations and has drawn a field worthy of the occasion, with the first ever clash between New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer and last week's Auckland Cup champ Turn It Up. The latter will start a hot favourite after drawing the ace in the mobile mile while Thefixer faces a huge task in his first start for two months after drawing the outside of the eight-horse field. But while Turn It Up will dominate betting, the draws of Jack's Legend (barrier three) and Star Galleria (four) at least suggest some early fireworks. Both have proven Cup bridesmaids to All Stars runners before - Jack's Legend finishing second to Lazarus in last season's New Zealand Cup while Star Galleria was second to Turn It Up last week. But what Jack's Legend and Star Galleria both have is real gate speed and they have also used it before to upset highly favoured Purdon-Rasmussen favourites. Jack's Legend began brilliantly to lead and down Ultimate Machete in the Jewels as a 3-year-old while Star Galleria led and won this race last season defeating Heaven Rocks. And their trainers agree their only chance of beating Turn It Up this Friday is crossing him at the start. "Usually those good horses have good gate speed but we have to have a crack to find out," says Star Galleria's trainer Steven Reid of Turn It Up. "My horse is flying and came through the Auckland Cup great so he will be heading forward and with Jack's Legend in there too at least Turn It Up will have some pressure early." Reid also has Utmost Delight in the race and his pair will then head to Australia to be campaigned in both Victoria and New South Wales. "I want to qualify Utmost Delight for the Ladyship Mile in Sydney so she will contest the Ladyship Cup at Melton on January 26," explains Reid. "Star Galleria will race is a sprint race [Casey Classic] that night and then the Hunter Cup on February 2 and then they both head up to the Miracle Mile meeting at Menangle." Rival trainer Barry Purdon is also hoping Jack's Legend can at least test Turn It Up early and set himself up for an Australian campaign. "He has really good gate speed whereas we haven't seen Mark's horse [Turn It Up] from the mobile all that much so we have to have a look at the start and see how we go." Purdon is eyeing Australia with three of his horses, with Jack's Legend still a chance to chase a Miracle Mile spot in Sydney next month. If he heads there that might increase the chances of exciting filly Belle Of Montana making the trip to Sydney after owner Queensland-based owner Dean Shannon left the decisions between the Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park and the NSW Oaks the same weekend to Purdon. "He said it is up to me so she will race here on February 8 and then we can firm up which Oaks to aim at." Purdon will send 3-year-old pacer Supreme Dominator to the Victoria Derby heats next week, where he will join Another Masterpiece as New Zealand representatives. Michael Guerin

Cambridge’s centenary meeting is set to host a rare clash of New Zealand’s biggest Cups winners. Because both New Zealand Cup hero Thefixer and this week’s Auckland Cup winner Turn It Up are being aimed at next Friday’s $60,000 Flying Mile. The super sprint is the centrepiece of Cambridge’s celebration of 100 years of racing and while the Flying Mile often attracts an elite level star like Lazarus, it rarely sees the two major Cup winners clash. And they are likely to be joined by defending Mile champion Star Galleria as well as last season’s New Zealand Cup runner-up Jacks Legend, making it one of the strongest Flying Miles in years. The Purdon-Rasmussen camp confirmed both Thefixer, who hasn’t raced since winning the New Zealand Cup, and Turn It Up will clash in the Mile after their trainers sat down to plan out where most of their superstars are heading for the summer. Thefixer missed the Auckland Cup after being given an easy time after the New Zealand Cup but looked very fit working between races on Monday. So his clash with Turn It Up could, depending on draws and runs, indicate just who the best pacer in New Zealand is at the moment. The All Stars also likely to have Ashley Locaz and All U Need Is Faith in the race so Cambridge officials will be beaming that their centenary night will attract a field appropriate for the occasion. Thefixer will be using the Mile as a lead up to the Ballarat Cup on January 19 before the Hunter Cup two weeks later. He will be joined at Ballarat by stablemates Cruz Bromac and Spankem, who are already in Australia after competing in the Inter Dominions. Cruz Bromac will also head to the Hunter Cup on February 2 but Spankem will be aimed at the Bonanza at Melton on January 26 to attempt to qualify for the Chariots of Fire in Sydney a month later. The All Stars have decided Another Masterpiece will be their Victoria Derby contender while unbeaten three-year-old Ultimate Sniper will be saved for the NSW Derby on March 2. He will be joined in Sydney by Chase Auckland, who is being aimed at the Chariots Of Fire while Elle Mac will be the stable rep in the Ladyship Mile, with Dream About Me returning to Christchurch after a rare below par effort in the Auckland Cup. Trainer Steven Reid has indicated he will look to take both his Auckland Cup contenders Star Galleria and Utmost Delight to Australia. While next Friday’s meeting shapes as Cambridge’s best of the season, this Friday's twilight offering is far more sedate, with small-time trainer Cheree Wigg maybe the punter’s best friend as she has winning chances with Wait For Success (race two) and Crackared (race three), both legs of the Pick6. Michael Guerin

There’s a certain something with the name Purdon and the Auckland Cup. The famed North Island feature was first staged back in 1890 when Commodore proved triumphant and since then, so many great champions have won the event. Names like Cardigan Bay, Delightful Lady, Gammalite, Master Musician, Christian Cullen, Monkey King, Im Themightyquinn and Terror To Love  have all proved victorious while many more have all etched their name into the record books. But it’s the name Purdon that is synonymous with the Alexandra Park feature. Whether it is Roy, Barry or Mark – they have all made the race their own! Their haul of winners includes Sole Command, Comedy Lad, Luxury Liner (x 2), Christopher Vance, Chokin (x 2), Sharp And Telford, Holmes DG, Young Rufus and Auckland Reactor. And more recently, they have won it with Have Faith In Me, Dream About Me and Vincent. What’s even more remarkable, the Purdon name has contested the Auckland Cup every year since 1985. Most times with multiple entries. And the 2018 edition is no different. Again, the Gr.1 $250,000 Trillian Trust Auckland Cup will be staged over the 3200m and the Purdon stables have 8 of the 12 runners. The All Stars (Mark & Natalie Rasmussen) have 5 entrants while Barry has three runners engaged. Sporting the blue and silver livery is classy four-year-old’s All U Need Is Faith, Turn It Up, Sicario and Ashley Locaz while 2016 winner Dream About Me also represents the powerful stable. Mark Purdon All five pacers are racing in super form headlined by millionaire mare Dream About Me and emerging superstar Turn It Up, a last start winner of the Franklin Cup. Big brother Barry has Raptors Flight, Jacks Legend and Mach Shard lining up. Jacks Legend finished 6th behind Vincent last year. Astute mentor Steve Reid has a pair of challengers with the highly regarded Star Galleria and Utmost Delight both engaged. Dream About Me and Utmost Delight are the only mares tackling the famed feature this year. Veteran performer Lets Elope is starting in the Cup for the second time after finishing 5th behind Terror To Love back in 2014. After spending several seasons in Australia, the Real Desire gelding has recently returned to original trainers Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins. Promising four-year-old Triple Eight takes his place for trainer Steve Telfer but faces his biggest challenge to date. Six of the 12 runners are four-year-olds. As it stands, Sydney based pacer Tiger Tara is a clear leader in the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit and while connections have elected to bypass this feature, maximum points are up for grabs which will be crucial as the series hits the halfway mark. Chris Barsby

Tony Herlihy isn't exactly sure how well Temporale is racing but he is determined to find out at Cambridge today. This time last year the rangy trotter was the best in the country, winning both the Lyell Creek Stakes and National Trot before a growth spurt saw him struggle to carry that momentum through the autumn. He returned looking back to his best this season but after a slight virus pre New Zealand Cup meeting he has looked like a V8 racing on six cylinders since. Trainer-driver Herlihy says part of that battle has been Temporale getting poor draws which has seen him settle well off arch rival Lemond, or in the case of his last start both Lemond and a rampant Marcoola. But in today's $50,000 Trotters Flying Mile, the centrepiece of today's twilight meeting, Temporale has the draw to change that script. "I think he gets a chance to go forward this time and be closer to the speed, maybe even in front," says Herlihy. "He might not have looked that impressive recently but I think he is going all right, it is just very hard when you get back against those good horses. "So this race looks his chance." Of the horses drawn inside Temporale today The Almighty Johnson looks to have the best gate speed and he would almost certainly hand the lead to his stablemate, but even more importantly Lemond is drawn outside Temporale. When the pair meet it is usually the one who gets the better run that wins so while Lemond has the superior form lately, Temporale looks the better bet today. If there is to be an upset, and this race has had its share over the years, then Massive Metro looks the emerging trotter. He made good ground late for fifth behind Marcoola last start in a race where he didn't have any luck and if he could hold the front at least early from the ace he has the raw speed to be competitive. Today's other feature looks the perfect opportunity for Utmost Delight to get back to winning form on the track where she won the Jewels last winter. She has been solid when asked to give Dream About Me a start from bad draws in the mares' races at Alexandra Park recently but drops enormously in class for race seven today, a leg of the $40,000 terminating Pick6. Trainer Steven Reid only put Utmost Delight in today's race because he believes she needs race fitness heading into next Monday's Auckland Cup but he would have been pleasantly surprised by the conditions. Not only has she only had to cop a 35m backmark but she only has five rivals, and with 2700m to get either handy or around them she is clearly the one to beat, with whoever out of stablemates Check In or Step Up can get to the front being the one she has to catch.   Michael Guerin

Taking on the hottest field of the night from the outside draw over a mobile mile isn’t usually the easiest path to a confidence-boosting win at Alexandra Park.  But Star Galleria has three major factors on his side as he attempts to do just that in race two tonight.  While undoubtedly one of the fastest pacers in the country, Star Galleria’s season has been tracking downward since a fresh-up win in September and he was eventually sent for an operation on an entrapped epiglottis straight after the New Zealand Cup.  He returned off a harsh mark in the Franklin Cup a Alexandra Park last Friday night so trainer Steven Reid took the reins and cut corners on his way to finishing sixth but tonight he is racing to win before the Auckland Cup on December 31.  “I’d love him to get a confidence-boosting win,” said Reid.  “He hasn’t had an easy season but he felt a lot better last Friday and had I pulled the right rein he might have finished third.  “But having missed some racing and with there being 17 days between last week and the Auckland Cup he needs another race so I am thrilled this one got off the ground.” The outside of the front line can be a shocker for horses and punters alike in mobile miles at Alexandra Park with it short run to the first bend but Star Galleria has plenty in his favour.  Not only he is rated 28 points above his rivals but his sprint record is phenomenal, with six wins and two placings in eight starts while in another bonus regular reinsman Tony Herlihy jumps back on.  If Herlihy got serious early the five-year-old would probably have the speed to blast past his rivals and give punters a comfortable watch but with a few stayers in the race he can probably afford to be more patient as the speed should be on.  If the best version of Star Galleria turns up he should win, with only Sicario looking a serious danger on their overall career form. After all, less than 11 months ago Star Galleria beat Sicario’s superstar stablemate Heaven Rocks in the Flying Mile at Cambridge.  Some of the small fields tonight could bring others facing wide draws into play, especially as most of the races have no, or very small, second lines, meaning horses drawn wide don’t have to go too far back.  Another with a clear class advantage on her rivals but a wide draw is former Jewels-winning trotter Missandei in race seven.  Half of her eight career wins have come from behind the mobile and while she galloped early in the Lyell Creek Stakes last Friday she drops a long way in class tonight and if she behaves might be too quick. Michael Guerin

If there is a positive to your New Zealand Cup dream being turned upside down then Steven Reid has found it. “I think the pressure if off us now,” the Pukekohe trainer says matter-of factly. Reid and Star Galleria arrived in the South Island a month ago one of the Cup favourites, with the speed he had shown in his first two runs of the season at Alexandra Park suggesting with Tony Herlihy in the sulky anything was possible. Since then things have only headed one way. The wrong way. The speedster missed one lead up race, was surprisingly beaten after leading in the Methven Cup and the was good but only after missing away in the Flying Stakes at Ashburton. That all led to one of the worst runs of his career in the Kaikoura Cup, which Reid views with blunt honesty. “If I was looking at that as a punter I’d say he can’t win,” he admits. “But I know the horse and I haven’t given up. “I think he might have had a mild bug, nothing serious, at Kaikoura because he was too bad to be true. “So we changed tactics. We gave him a mild antibiotic and three days off and a really easy time and we are going to let him miss the Cup trial (Wednesday) too. “So his last major run we will be with a galloping pacemaker on Thursday.” While the build-up has been anything but ideal, Reid has not lost faith in the ability of his five-year-old. “I still know how good he is and I still think he can win, even if he deserves to be a $18 chance. “All along I have thought to win the Cup he was going to need to be driven for speed, for one run and I think the pressure being off means Tony can and will do that. “I never discuss tactics with Tony but I can see him now driving him cold, parking away on the markers and only asking him to run a quarter and hoping a few others are dropping away. “Whether he can win, I don’t know but you never do going into a Cup.” Reid says no thought was given to missing the $800,000 race. “It is the Cup, it has been his main aim and it is not as strong as some other Cups so he will be there.” Aussie pacer Tiger Tara is now the $3.90 favourite and unless something very odd happens this week looks set to start the public and bookies elect in the great race tomorrow week.   Michael Guerin

Steven Reid finds out today where Star Galleria is really at. While that could be the case for many of his rivals in the Flying Stakes at Ashburton, for Pukekohe trainer Reid and his speed freak pacer it feels like there is more at stake. A booming performance today and Star Galleria remains a serious New Zealand Cup player and a horse worth aiming at the Inter Dominions. But if he doesn’t shine, Reid admits he will start to worry. Star Galleria started this season as he ended last, showing brilliant speed to win and soon after huge money offers were pouring in from Australia.  Reid and his owners decided to keep the five-year-old, who has been beaten in next two — one when luckless, the other fair and square after leading at Methven last Sunday.  Reid is willing to give Star Galleria a leave pass for that defeat as he has missed work on his southern trip and probably had to work too hard to get the lead.  “So I think he will improve with the run and I also think over distance he might be better driven with a sit, not that Tony (Herlihy) had that option last week.  “But if he is going to be a big New Zealand Cup chance he needs to step up and we think he can but drawn wide it is not going  to be an easy race.” The problems for Reid and Star Galleria are two-fold: he is seeking improvement in the same pivotal race as the other main Cup dangers and he has drawn wide.  While the mysteries of standing start mean a poor draw can become a good one very quickly, if all the main players begin evenly then Star Galleria could be midfield on the outer at best, a very tough place to win a Flying Stakes from.  Especially so with star stablemates like Dream About Me, Eamon Maguire and Ultimate Machete drawn inside him.  Dream About Me has been so solid this season with the ace draw and usually good standing start manners she is the one to beat but Ultimate Machete, like Star Galleria, is looking to improve after his fourth at Methven and should be suit by the likely hot speed.  Quite simply, the race could come down to which one of the favourites leads or secures the best run close to the speed.  A similar scenario looks the winning formula in the Flying Mile for the elite trotters today, with Great Things Happen and Harriet Of Mot the big winners in the draw.  If they can lead and trail from the inside two barriers it is hard to envisage any of their rivals being good enough to trot past both of them.  While taking short odds about Harriet Of Mot would have sent you broke over the course of her career she has looked far more reliable so far this campaign and deserves favouritism.   Michael Guerin

Steven Reid knows what he is supposed to say ahead of Star Galleria’s comeback at Alexandra Park tonight. He just can’t bring himself to say it.  After 10 days embroiled in a scandal, harness racing gets down to the business of good horses racing again toinight, with big names in both gaits on the track at Addington and Alexandra Park.  For all the talent on show Star Galleria may be the most exciting, a pacer who has emerged as a real player in the best races this season as the open class crop reconfigures after some big-name losses. He has the speed of a very serious horse and has sharpened up for tonight’s 2200m main pace with wins in both his recent workouts.  But he still faces a 20m handicap in a small field, often a tricky assignment for horses returning in this grade when their connections don’t want them stressed fresh up.  Reid, a cunning form tactician, knows that. But he also knows how good Star Galleria is and might be.  “I know it can be difficult to win fresh up in a race like this but the way he is going I think he can pull it off,” says Reid.  “His workout last Saturday was brilliant and he has definitey improved.  “So while anything can happen, especially fresh up, I think he will still win.”  It is hard to see Star Galleria being any worse than three back on the outer starting the last 800m and unless his rivals get away with pedestrian sectionals and then sprint a 55 second last 800m, he should be able to get over the top of them. But with class opponents like Mach Shard and No Doctor Needed, punters will want $2-$2.20 to make it worth their while as more top horses lose than win off backmarks at Alexandra Park. That almost certainly sums up the fate of trotting warrior Speeding Spur earlier in the night where he faces a 50m handicap in race three, a race his trainer John Dickie doesn’t really want to start in.  “It isn’t the ideal comeback race but he needs racing to get hard fit now he is an older horse,” says Dickie.  “But I will be going to the stewards before the race to tell them we don’t intend taking off in the middle stages and making it a staying test because he is not ready for that.”  The open classers are also back in both gaits at Addington and after two dominant wins so far this season Thefixer will be expected to win the main pace.  The Ordeal Trotting Cup looks a far more complex puzzle with plenty of big names returning while Harness Jewels winner Habibi Inta steps into open class without as much as a workout.  “He only had a month off after the Jewels (June) so he is ready to go and working well,” says trainer Paul Nairn.  “Whereas my other one, Ronald J, hasn’t been working quite as well yet so probably has the right draw to be driven with a sit.”   Michael Guerin

Steven Reid is happy being harness racing’s David, able to occasionally slay Goliath. And Reid almost did that twice at the Jewels on Saturday, winning one of the $150,000 pacing divisions with Utmost Delight and only field position costing him doing it again when Star Galleria went down narrowly to Eamon Maguire. Reid left Cambridge a happy man, knowing his Jewels double had only been denied by the most powerful stable New Zealand has ever seen, the Goliaths of the All Stars. “How could I not be happy?” said Reid. “The mare went super to win her race while I think reverse the runs and Star Galleria could have beat Eamon Maguire. “So for a guy with a small team we had a great day and Utmost Delight’s win might have been my first group one since Gold Ace so I’m pretty stoked.” Reid and rival Cran Dalgety with Pat’s Delight in the three-year-old race were the only pacing trainers able to slow the All Stars, who won six races, most of them by big margins. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen were the deserved stars of the show after a tough, interrupted week, their mammoth harness racing machine honed down to peak performance. But while Reid has been at least remotely close to where the All Stars are, having won a premiership beating Purdon 20 years ago, he says he is happy living in the giant’s shadow. “Things have changed a lot for me since those days and I don’t have the owners for a big team any more and wouldn’t want to train one anyway. “I find it less stressful and my attention to detail is better this way and I can train the horses I want. “And having these two horses means we can have a real presence at the major carnivals next season.” Utmost Delight is the 13th foal of the fantastically flawed mare Victor Supreme. She used to be talented yet weak but the Bettors Delight influence has seen her strengthen with every campaign. “She has turned into a lovely mare and while we will probably stick mainly to mares races next season she might be good enough to be a Cup horse. “Star Galleria will almost certainly bypass Australia over the winter and be set for the New Zealand Cup.” The two Delights -- Utmost and Pat’s -- were rare points of difference as the All Stars were at their ruthless best in the majority of Saturday’s races. Shez All Rock, on loan to them before heading back to Australia, finally broke the Aussie invite duck with a whirlwind performance in the three-year-old Diamond and she might be one of the most talented fillies seen in this part of the world. But her juvenile stablemate Princess Tiffany was just as crushing in the opening race, coming from last to blow her rivals away. Driver Tim Williams used Another Masterpiece’s draw to win the juvenile male pace while Eamon Maguire was fast enough to hold Star Galleria at bay as Rasmussen won a driving game of cat and mouse. Now the super stable will need to sit down in the coming week and decided which horses press on to Victoria and the Breeders Crown riches and who heads to the paddock as they call time on another premiership season during which they have won a record $4.4million domestically and plenty of Lazarus loot in Australia. What they have achieved this season, even with plenty of lows among the highs, has been remarkable in not just its brilliance but its sustainability. But as Reid, Dalgety and Paul Nairn showed on Saturday, even giants are beatable. By Michael Guerin

Bettor's Delight mare Utmost Delight has won a brutal Jewels race, finally claiming a narrow victory in stirring home stretch battle with harness racing rival Delishka. Utmost Delight had to be the best horse to win after sitting three wide and parked for most of the race while Mark Purdon took the bull by the horns and launched to the front early on All Stars runner Partyon. In the straight Utmost Delight dug deepest and beat Deliska by a half a length with a further length back to Seaswift Joy in third. Driver Ricky May gave credit to trainer Steven Reid after the race. "I have only driven her five times and she has never been out of the first two for me, so Steven always has her pretty spot on,"he said. Steven Reid said it was a great week for him. "All I can say is it has been a great week. "I had my doubts today that she could win but the way she worked during the week I thought she only needs an ounce of luck and she had no luck but still won. "I am just rapt. I am really rapt for the owners and everyone involved in the horse," he said. Utmost Delight paced the mile in 1-52.7  Harnesslink Media   Listen to owner Charlie Roberts son in law Paul Kenny Utmost Delight WOODLANDS STUD 4YO DIAMOND (MOBILE PACE) (Gr1), $150,000, 4YO MARES, 1609m   For 4-year-old pacing mares. Video  Weather: Overcast     Track: Fast      Race History     Plc Bk Horse Barrier Hcap Stakes Fav Time Margin Driver Trainer 1 13 Utmost Delight 13 fr 75,000.00 1/2 1-52.7   R T May S J Reid 2 5 Delishka 5 fr 22,500.00 3/3 1-52.8 0.50 M J Williamson B K Mowbray 3 2 Seaswift Joy 2 fr 15,000.00 2/1 1-53.2 2.40 J P Stormont J P Stormont 4 11 Opoutama 11 fr 6,375.00 8/8 1-53.3 2.80 Z E Butcher B Purdon 5 12 Partyon 12 fr 4,735.00 5/4 1-53.3 3.00 Mark Purdon M Purdon & Ms N C Rasmussen 6 7 Step Up 7 fr 3,770.00 9/9 1-53.9 5.60 D J Butcher S G Telfer 7 3 Juice Brogden 3 fr 3,770.00 6/6 1-53.9 6.00 N A Chilcott Miss N A Chilcott 8 10 Bonnie Joan 10 fr 3,770.00 4/5 1-54.0 6.10 D J Dunn C T Dalgety 9 1 Christanna 1 fr 3,770.00 10/10 1-54.5 8.90 P A Butcher M G Berger 10 8 American Empress 8 fr 3,770.00 11/12 1-54.7 9.90 S W Abernethy J M Young 11 6 Bettor's Heart 6 fr 3,770.00 7/7 1-56.0 16.10 J R Dunn P D Bagrie 12 4 Lynbar Rose 4 fr 3,770.00 12/11 1-56.7 19.60 M W McKendry MNZM J M Young $150,000.00   Scratchings SCR 9 Carlas Pixel 9                     Divs: $4.20. $1.70. $2.10. $1.60. Quinella $9.30. Trifecta $72.70. First4 $508.20. Margins: 1/2 length, 2 lengths, 1/2 length Times: Mile Rate: 1-52.7 Last 800m: 56.0 Last 400m: 28.2 Placed Horses:       Utmost Delight 2013 4 B m Bettor's Delight - Victor Supreme   (by Placid Victor)    Trainer: S J Reid, Pukekohe    Owner: C J Roberts    Breeder: C J Roberts    Delishka 2013 4 Br m Bettor's Delight - Balishka   (by Badlands Hanover)    Trainer: B K Mowbray, Russley    Owner: Nanticoke Racing Inc    Breeder: E W Knight,B K Mowbray    Seaswift Joy 2013 4 B m Bettor's Delight - Swift Belle   (by Christian Cullen)    Trainer: J P Stormont, Pukekohe    Owner: M I Shinn, Mrs P G Redmond, J R Redmond, G S Redmond, D C Redmond, A G Redmond    Breeder: M J Prendergast,Mrs P G Redmond,M I Shinn

1 to 16 of 245
1 2 3 4 5 Next »