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View the Addington harness racing fields click here! By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk     Group Three winner Pres The Belle will be looking to get her career back on track at Addington Raceway on Friday. The 13-win mare has had four starts for her new trainers, Geoff and James Dunn, and they believe she is capable of recording her first victory in their colours in the Haras des Trotteurs Heather Williams Memorial Mobile Trot (1980m). She has failed to flatter since joining the West Melton barn, but showed a glimpse of her former self when winning by five lengths in her 2600m trial last week. “We have changed her front shoes and she has trotted really well at the trials, so hopefully she can do it at Addington,” James Dunn said. “She doesn’t like Addington as much as other tracks, but she has been going good enough. “This is probably the most winnable race she has come up against since we have had her. If she brings her manners and doesn’t pull too hard, she should be a good chance.” Pres The Belle will come up against the likes of Group Three winner Splash Cola and in-form mare Gold Chains, but Dunn believes his mare is capable of holding her own on Friday. “Splash Cola is pretty good when they bring their A-game over the short trip, but Gold Chain is flying,” he said. “Pres The Belle is the class horse of the field. At her best she would be very hard to beat, but she is not there anymore, so we have got to get her 90-95 percent and she should be in the top three.” Dunn will also line-up Laver in the Dunstan Horsefeeds Mobile Pace (1980m) after he disappointed when fading late at Addington in his last start in March. He has subsequently freshened and has pleased in his resuming trials where he has placed and won in the lead up to Friday. “He was well short for that last start and after that we found out he was a little bit crook, so we have treated him and gave him some time, took him back to the trials and started again,” Dunn said. “He is still quite heavy. He got away on us a little bit. That is a good sign, it usually means he is pretty well. “We are using this as a fitness run looking towards the Jewels.” The Dunns final runner of the night will be Derby placegetter The Falcon, who put in a subpar performance at Rangiora last month. “He was disappointing last start,” Dunn said. “We probably asked him to come out of the gate a little bit (hard) and maybe backing up from the Derby he just found it a bit tough. “We have given him a bit of a freshen-up. We were going to go to the trials, but with the premier meeting next week we thought that we might as well go to a race instead of straight into a premier meeting after a month off racing.” Dunn is enjoying his first season training in partnership with his father, with 11 wins to their name so far. “It is going well,” he said. “We haven’t had a winner for a while, but we are pretty happy with how the season has gone so far. Laver has helped a lot and has won five. I am enjoying it.”

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    There’s a burgeoning rivalry developing at Cambridge Raceway and it’s just starting to heat up. Local junior drivers Alicia Harrison and Luke Whittaker have drawn level at the top of the North Island junior driver standings after Harrison recorded a winning double at her home meeting on Thursday night. She opened her account behind the Matthew White-trained Emmber in the Cambridge Homes Mobile Pace (2200m). The daughter of triple Group One winner Lauraella had to do it tough, sitting parked throughout, but she was able to draw on all her reserves to get up by a head over Jaccka Cooper, with Hooray Henry a further three-quarters of a length back in third. “Emmber had to do it quite tough, but she was quite on the bit and not as relaxed as I would have liked her to have been,” Harrison said. “Thankfully she dug in and stuck on really well. It was a really good effort from her.” Harrison was back in the winner’s circle saluting the judge in the following race after an all the way victory behind the Steve and Amanda Telfer-trained Sarandon. “It was a super effort from Sarandon,” Harrison said. “She is just a tough, wee mare. She tries her heart out. “She is only pony-sized, but I would love to have a heap of her around. She is such a cool, little horse. “The Telfers have been exceptional and every time you get on one of their horses you know it’s going to be in with a winning chance.” Her double brings Harrison’s season tally to 16 wins and on equal terms with Whittaker, who works for Cambridge trainer Mike Berger. “I was getting worried because he (Whittaker) had quite a few nice chances tonight. It is good to be back on level terms and now hopefully I can keep it ticking along,” Harrison said. Harrison is enjoying her best season to date and is relishing driving at premier meetings, most recently behind New York Minute in the Gr.1 Taylor Mile (1609m) and Gr.1 NZ Messenger Championship (2700m). “The first night I was so excited, and then it rained, and it was awful out there,” she said. “But it was awesome to be out there. “He went a great race in the Messenger, but unfortunately we got shuffled up and couldn’t get into it.” Harrison is looking forward to continuing her duel with Whittaker for top North Island junior driver honours, but she is also excited about the prospects of driving on Harness Jewels Day at Cambridge Raceway next month. “I am excited for the Jewels,” she said. “A mile is probably not New York Minute’s go, but it is pretty cool that he has made the race and that I will have a drive on a big day like that at Cambridge.” View the Cambridge harness racing results click here!

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Peter and Vaughan Blanchard are hoping a couple of their stable runners will clear maiden ranks this week. The father-and-son training duo will head to Cambridge Raceway on Thursday with Harvey Specter and Skyzclearnsunny and they believe both runners are capable of scoring their first wins. Four-year-old gelding Harvey Specter will contest the Mitre 10 Cambridge Mobile Pace (2200m) where he will be driven by Todd Macfarlane from gate three. The 22-start maiden has finally started to hit his straps, placing in his last two starts, and his connections are hoping he can finally breakthrough for that maiden win on Thursday. “He is pretty consistent,” Vaughan Blanchard said. “It is a good draw, so hopefully he gets a bit of luck and things pan out well for him.” Later on the card, Skyzclearnsunny will be out to go one better than her last start runner-up effort when she lines-up in the On Site NZMCA Parking @ Cambridge Raceway Mobile Trot (2200m). “She is in a mobile, which she has already placed in before,” Blanchard said. “Her run last week was good and she seems really well. Hopefully she has good manners on Thursday.” The Pukekohe barn will also take a handful of runners to Alexandra Park on Friday. Promising trotter Cyclone Lebron has started his racing career in the right fashion, placing in both of his starts to date, and he will attempt to gain his first scalp in the Book Now for Mid-Winter Christmas At Alex Park Trot (2200m). “His first couple of runs have been pretty good. If he brings his manners he will be thereabouts,” Blanchard said. The Blanchard’s will have a two-pronged attack in the Blues Rugby Mobile Pace (2200m) with Je T’Aime and Joshua Richard. Je T’Aime takes a runner-up result into Friday, while Blanchard is expecting Joshua Richard to improve with his third run in 16 months. “Joshua Richard’s first two runs for us were really good,” he said. “It is a shame about the draw (8). He has only had two raceday starts over 16 months, so whatever he does this week he will improve on. “He was previously with Todd Macfarlane and it was nothing serious, but every time they got him close (to the races) something would go wrong. They had a run of bad luck with him. “He is now a little older, and more mature, and seems in a really good headspace. “He is a horse to follow in the future.” “Je T’Aime’s run last start was good. We feel like she is as good if not better than last time. She will need luck, but she is working pretty well.” Blanchard’s Auckland quartet will be completed by Satchmo in the Drag Bingo 3 June @ The Alex Mobile Pace (2200m). “He is probably the most improved horse in our barn. His last two starts have been very good. We clocked him 26.9 home last start,” Blanchard said. “It is a tricky wee field, but if the tempo is on I expect him to be right in it.”

View the Alexandra Park harness racing fields clcik here! By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Fresh from his 800th driving success at Cambridge last night with Eagle Watch, Zachary Butcher is now after his first Group One win as a trainer. He already has the best part of 20 Group Ones as a driver. The South Auckland horseman had plenty of success with Zeuss Bromac two years ago when he trained and drove him to a win and two placings in New Zealand, including running third in the Gr.1 2YO Emerald (1980m) at Addington Raceway. He subsequently travelled to Australia with the son of Bettor’s Delight where he placed in the Breeders Crown 2YO Colts and Geldings heat and semi-final, before running fourth in the final. The now four-year-old is part-owned by Lynette Philpott, who also owns Call Me Trouble, who will give Butcher his first chance at Group One trotting glory at Alexandra Park on Friday. The five-year-old son of Superfast Stuart will contest the Gr.1 2021 “What The Hill” Rowe Cup (3200m) and Butcher is excited about his prospects in the two-mile feature. He heads into Friday in good form, having won and placed in his last two starts, and in March he proved he was up to racing top-class company when finishing fourth in the Gr.3 Greenlane Cup (2700m). “It’s nice that we have managed to get hold of a horse that has done a good job, and it’s nice to have one in a big race,” Butcher said. “It is going to be pretty tough against Sundees Son and there are about four or five that are probably a class above him, but it’s 3200m. “If I can stick him on the fence or cuddle him up and if a few of them do a bit of work and he can follow that speed, he won’t be far away.” While Group One success is nothing new to Butcher as a driver, he said it is a whole different feeling training in the lead-up to an elite-level target. “When you are a driver you just have to look at that field and do your form on those other horses, but as a trainer it’s all the extras that you have got to do through the week,” he said. “Trainers deserve every dollar they get because it’s a lot more stressful than driving them.” While excited about the Rowe Cup, Butcher also has a couple of other feature drives on Friday. He is particularly excited about the prospects of the Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan-trained Bad To The Bone in the Gr.1 Dawson Harford LTD 2021 NZ Messenger Championship (2700m). The gelding finished second behind Copy That in the Gr.1 Taylor Mile (1600m) last week in his New Zealand resumption after a couple of months campaigning in Australia. He has drawn barrier five for Friday’s feature and Butcher is slightly disappointed that a few competitors sporting the Jewels silks - Copy That and Amazing Dream - have drawn inside of him. “He went super last start over the mile,” Butcher said. “It’s a bit of a shame that the ones to beat have drawn inside of us, but that’s the way it has turned out. “If they go hard and he gets a nice drag into it, he will be right in it. “He is tough. I think that Menangle racing has got him really sharp for these couple of races and it showed in last week’s run that he is right up to them.” Butcher will also partner stablemate Miki Montana in the Gr.1 Magness Benrow NZ Sires Stakes Championship (1700m). He wasn’t complimentary of his drive behind her when finishing seventh in the Gr.1 Caduceus Club Fillies Classic (2200m) in inclement conditions at Alexandra Park last week, and is hoping to make amends on Friday. “It was driver error last start,” he said. “I was pretty disappointed with my drive. She was pretty unlucky in the run home and the conditions weren’t great, so I couldn’t really see where I was going. Had she had a bit more luck I think she would have been right there. “Hopefully things can go her way on Friday and if she gets the right run and is following the right horses, I don’t think she will be too far away.”

View the Addington harness racing fields click here! By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Amanda Telfer is dipping her toes into Canterbury life before she makes the plunge later this year and moves south from her South Auckland base. Telfer, who trains in partnership with her brother Steve, is campaigning a handful of their runners in Canterbury and she is looking forward to heading their permanent South Island barn from November. “We (Stonewall Stud) have bought Jack Smolenski’s old place,” Telfer said. “It doesn’t actually all happen until the end of November this year. We are looking at setting up a stable down here as well as one up north.” While she spends a good portion of her year in the South Island, she said the region’s harsh winters will take some getting used to. “It’s pretty good down here, but I am not too fond of the frosty, cold mornings. We don’t get that in Auckland,” she quipped. “But it is going to be good to be able to split our horses up. Up there (Auckland) we have four or five in a race, so to split the stable up will be a good thing.” While their new Canterbury base won’t be available until later this year, Telfer is enjoying utilising the facilities at Dancingonmoonlight Farm in the interim. “Sara (Famularo) has a few broodmares of ours down here. They invited us to come to their place and it has been good,” Telfer said. Telfer will have three runners at Addington Raceway on Friday, all of which have Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks ambitions. Their charge will be led by Allamericanlover in the ‘Hilarious Guest’ 3YO Fillies Prelude (1980m). The promising filly has won two of her three starts to date, and finished runner-up two starts back behind The Honey Queen. Telfer is happy with the way she has settled into her new surroundings ahead of her first southern hit-out where she will be driven for the first time by northern reinsman David Butcher. “She has settled in really well down here,” she said. “She went good against The Honey Queen so hopefully she measures up against La Rosa.” “David is coming down to drive her, so that’s an advantage. David hasn’t driven her before and he is going to be driving her in the Nevele R Final and Oaks.” Allamericanlover will be joined on Friday by stablemate Ruby Mach who has drawn two on the front line and will be driven by Craig Thornley. She finished fifth in her first-up southern run last week behind Bettor Twist and Telfer is hoping for an improved result on Friday. “She is an honest little filly, she tries hard,” Telfer said. “She has got a better draw on Friday so we will just see what happens. “She is always running on so if she can get a bit more handy she might be a place chance.” Although Show Me Heaven is entered in the same race, she is dual accepted for the meeting and Telfer is leaning towards starting her in the First Direct Taxis Mobile Pace (1980m). “She will probably start in the last race,” Telfer said. “We have got two already in the other one, so it will be good to split them up a little bit.” The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere disappointed when tailing the field home at Addington last week and Telfer expects an improved performance on Friday. “She did a fair bit of work early, but I thought she would have boxed on a bit better,” Telfer said. “She has come through the race well and has been working well. Hopefully she has improved this week.”

View the Cambridge harness racing results click here! By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Consistent trotter My Royal Roxy rewarded trainer Ival Brownlee’s patience when winning the Ike Unsworth Bayleys Handicap Trot (27000m) at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night. The daughter of Majestic Son began like a bullet off the front row to take an early lead for driver Jay Abernethy who maintained a solid tempo throughout. The pace told on her rivals, with the six-year-old running away to a comfortable 2-1/4 length win. Brownlee was delighted with the result and he was full of praise for Abernethy’s tactics. “She is not a bad little horse,” he said. “She is pretty limited but what she did tonight in that grade was pretty good. “You get the odd one that makes a mistake and you end up in front. He ran her along a little bit. “It all comes down to the start. She is a really good beginner. If you get a good start and run a good time like she did tonight, it’s really hard for them to make up that ground.” My Royal Roxy finished fourth when first-up at Cambridge Raceway a fortnight ago and Brownlee took plenty of confidence from that run. “That was a good run first-up,” he said. “He (Abernethy) didn’t knock her around at all and she was probably unlucky to not get a little bit closer. “At the moment she seems to be in a really good space, she is eating really well and doesn’t have any tying up problems. Everything has been going really well.” While My Royal Roxy has been in good form this season, placing in seven of her previous 12 starts this term, Thursday was her first win since 2018. Coincidentally it was the last time Brownlee’s silks greeted the judge, but he hasn’t been overly perturbed by that. “We have been knocking on the door plenty of times, but I am not too worried about having the photos up on the wall,” he said. “As long as they are paying their way I am happy. “She has been a great cashpoint card, she nearly averages $1,000 a start. She has definitely been carrying the team for a while. “You only need a couple like that in the barn. We have got a couple of young ones coming through that look quite nice, including a full-sister to her, she is a nice animal.”

View the Cambridge harness racing fields click here! By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Cambridge trainer Ross Paynter has an exciting couple of days ahead of him. The appetiser will come at his home track on Thursday when he lines-up As Free As Air in the IRT. Your Horse. Our Passion Handicap Trot (2700m), with the main course coming a day later at Alexandra Park when Anditover competes in the Gr.1 Rowe Cup (3200m). As a trotting enthusiast, the Rowe Cup has always been held in high regard by Paynter who previously finished fourth in the staying feature with Group One winner Lemond. “It is the one race I would like to win,” he said. “You need a pretty classy horse to do it. I had Lemond and he was right up to winning it but didn’t get a lot of luck in the run a couple of times, but still went good races.” While Anditover isn’t in the same class as his former stablemate, Paynter is hopeful of a bold run from the son of Andover Hall after he returned to winning form a fortnight ago at Alexandra Park. “He is a nice horse, he just lacks a bit of real speed,” Paynter said. “The two miles will suit him. There are five or six there that are a lot classier than him, but the rest of them he can handle. “But you just never know. You only need one of those good ones to have an off day. “He is feeling really well and racing really well at the moment.” While he is holding out hope of ticking a major bucket list item off on Friday, Paynter is looking forward to Cambridge Raceway’s Thursday meeting with As Free As Air. The six-year-old mare returned to form when placing at Alexandra Park last week and Paynter said she will appreciate a return to Cambridge. “She hasn’t done a lot of racing at Auckland, but she just cost herself around the last bend,” he said. “She should have really finished second, but it was a good run. “She will be better going back left-handed this week.” As Free As Air has won one and placed in three of her last five starts, with her only blemish coming at Cambridge two starts back when breaking at the start. But Paynter has taken plenty of confidence from her last start and has entrusted her to the care of junior driver Luke Whittaker on Thursday. “He has been ringing up for a while to drive her,” Paynter said. “She is not really a junior drivers horse but she is in really good form and she always behaves better over the 2700m. “He is going to have a go on her this week to see if we can get a penalty free win.”

View the Rangiora harness racing fields click here! By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Matt Purvis is hoping he can take home a couple of winning cheques from Rangiora on Sunday. The Woodend Beach trainer will line-up a quintet of runners, including Sense Of Occasion and Auchtercairn in the NZ Expeditionary Force Amateur Drivers (2000m). Sense Of Occasion heads into Sunday in consistent form, having placed in five of his last six starts, and winning the other. While confident in the gelding’s chances on Sunday, Purvis said it will be a good hit-out for the four-year-old after a bug went through his stable last month. “He has been a model of consistency,” Purvis said. “He has got a good draw (3) tomorrow and I couldn’t see why his run of good form can’t continue. “It is a nice race for him to come back into. I had a bit of a bug run through the stable and I had to back off them a bit. It will be a good pipe opener for him before he goes back to Addington.” Purvis is also confident about Auchtercairn’s chances and said she can be forgiven for her last start unplaced run at Addington last month. “Auchtercairn has been another one that has been really consistent since turning up,” he said. “Her last run she was slightly disappointing, but with the bug that ran through my stable, it made sense. “She has bounced back from that and her work has been good. She has got a good draw (1), so she shouldn’t be too far away either.” Purvis will also line-up Lei Miss and Honour Before Glory in the Le Quesnoy Mobile Pace (2000m). “Lei Miss is a bit of a head scratcher,” he said. “But her work has been good at home and she will need a lot of luck tomorrow, but she should be running on at the finish. “Honour Before Glory has only been with me for about a month. Her work has been really good and I am really happy with her. I expect a bold showing from her.” Purvis’ quintet will be rounded out by Jenabella who will take her place in the ANZAC Batallion ‘Young At Heart Super Sprint’ (1390m). Purvis is unsure how his charge will handle the sprint distance, but he is looking forward to contesting the unique race. “I am not too sure how that one will work out, the 1390m is a bit of a head scratcher,” he said. “It will be interesting – it is something that will either take off or be a flop. “But she seems well and her work has been good. If they go hard she will have her chance to sprint over the top of them.”

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Cover Girl will get her chance to grab headlines at Alexandra Park on Friday when she lines-up in the Gr.1 Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Fillies Classic (2200m). The promising filly impressed on debut at the Auckland track last week when closing late to secure a runner-up result behind Suntan. TAB bookmakers took notice and have subsequently installed her as a $2.90 favourite for Friday’s juvenile feature. Trainer and driver Bob Butt was pleased with how she handled Alexandra Park and said she has thrived at Joshua Dickie’s Clevedon barn this week. “It was a really good run last week,” Butt said. “It was obviously her first time around Alexandra Park and she handled it well. “She has licked the bowl and her work this week has been good, I have just been ticking her over. She seems great.” Butt enjoyed his first Group One win as a trainer last November with Heavyweight Hero and he is keen to taste elite-level success once again. “It is what you are in the game for,” he said. “It is even more pleasurable when you train them yourself.” Cover Girl has drawn the ace marble and Butt said she should get every opportunity from there. “It’s a step up again but she seems to have a bit of class on her side. She has got the draw so hopefully she can go a good race,” he said. Cover Girl will remain in the North Island over the next month with plenty of northern spoils up for grabs. “She has got the Sires’ Stakes next week and then the Harness Millions, and hopefully if she is going alright she will stay up for the Jewels,” Butt said. Meanwhile, Butt is looking forward to lining up a handful of stable runners in Canterbury this weekend. Last start winner Roll With Eunice will contest the El Alamein Fillies & Mares Mobile Pace (1609m) at Rangiora on Sunday and Butt said she will have her work cut out for her starting from the outside of the second row over the mile. “It’s a funny race since she is in a mile,” he said. “They start on the bend and she hasn’t drawn that well. She should hopefully be a good chance, she has got good speed. She won’t be far away.” Butt will head to Methven’s Monday meeting with two chances - Creme De La Creme in the Yaldhurst Hotel Trot (2400m) and Terror Maria in the Carrfield Livestock Junior Drivers Mobile Pace (2300m). “The maiden trotter is still learning the game. They will be a place chance if everything goes right,” Butt said. “Terror Maria never runs a bad race. She hasn’t got the best of draws (outside of the second row), but it is a junior race so hopefully they go hard up front and she will be running home late.” View the Auckland fields click here!

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    It’s hard enough for a small stable to get a trifecta, let alone two in the space of a month, but that’s exactly what Sheryl Wigg has achieved. The Kumeu horsewoman trained a trifecta just over a month ago at Alexandra Park and repeated the feat at the Auckland track on Friday when steering Frankie Jones to a comfortable seven length victory in the Autumn Trotting Carnival Fri 23 & 30 April Mobile Pace (2700m). Wigg urged the six-year-old gelding forward off the gate to take an early lead over stablemate Kayla Maguire, who enjoyed the trail throughout. But Frankie Jones proved too strong and opened up a significant margin turning for home, nullifying the passing lane. Kayla Maguire was able to hold on to second, while Mighty Monica ran home late to secure the stable trifecta. Wigg was delighted to get the result and said reining home the victor was an added bonus. “I got it (trifecta) a couple of weeks ago as well, but to do it again was great. “It’s hard enough to win let alone get the first three home, so it was excellent. “When I got the last trifecta I got second (driving), so I pulled the right rein this time in picking the right horse.” Despite a series of unplaced runs, Wigg was confident in Frankie Jones’ chances heading into Friday after he had pleased her with his work at home. “I didn’t think he could get beaten,” she said. “He has been training unbelievably well.” A great supporter of the amateur racing scene, Wigg said it plays an important part in northern harness racing, particularly in Auckland. “It pulls a lot of people into racing and punters love us, they like to have a bet,” she said. “Alexandra Park have just been unreal putting these races on for us. They are using their brain because they need horses and these horses would be down in Cambridge otherwise, they are not Auckland horses. But with amateur racing they have got another field.” While Wigg is in her seventh season of driving, this is her first season in the training ranks after taking over partner Tim Vince’s stable earlier this year. “I am loving it. I didn’t think I was going to, but I am really enjoying it. It’s a new challenge for me,” she said. “Tim was starting to think he had enough and he said to me ‘how about you have a go?’ and I grabbed it with two hands. “I only got my license a month ago, but my goal is to get 10 wins this season.” While amateur horses make up the bulk of her barn, Wigg said she is excited about the prospects of a number of the stable’s younger talent, particularly a Vincent yearling filly Vince bought as a weanling out of Alabar Stud’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred All Age Sale for $23,000. “I have got a really lovely Vincent filly that I am hoping to get black-type with next year,” Wigg said. “She is out of Alta Serena and I hold her in high regard. She has got the x-factor.”

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk Woodend Beach trainer Bob Butt will take two trotters to Addington Raceway on Friday night and he believes if they bring their manners they are both winning chances. Six-year-old mare Gold Chain recovered well after breaking in her 2600m contest at the Christchurch track last week to finish fourth, and Butt put her early indiscretion down to gear. “I was rapt with her run last start,” he said. “It was a really good field and I was hoping she would go a good race against them. She had that little mistake early, but it was a bit of gear that caused that. “I had a crupper on her that I usually race her in, but she hadn’t had it on for a while and she didn’t like it much.” Gold Chain had won two of her previous three starts, placing in the other, and Butt is hoping she can return to her winning ways in the McMillan Equine Feeds Mobile Trot (1980m) on Friday. “She is quite a nice mare, she has been going good times,” he said. “You always need a bit of luck and I think she is the best horse in it, but it makes it a bit harder over 1980m off the unruly. If she can get a good run they will know she is there.” Butt will also line-up KD Hawk in the HRS Construction Mobile Trot (1980m). The five-year-old son of Andover Hall had strung together a win and two placings before breaking at Addington last week, costing him all chance in his race. Butt will have his fingers crossed that KD Hawk brings his manners on Friday night, and if he does Butt believes he will figure in the finish. “He didn’t trot as well last start,” Butt said. “He just needs to be in the right headspace. “Hopefully he can bring it on Friday night and he will be a chance in that field. He just needs to bring his manners.” Meanwhile, Butt is looking forward to next season with Group One-winning trotter Heavyweight Hero after his autumn campaign was curtailed through illness. “He had a virus so I had to tip him out for the season,” Butt said. “It was a bit close to all of those big races coming up, where you have got to be 110 percent. “We will aim him at the spring again. “He went great through the whole spring last year, he never went a bad race. He is a lovely horse, he tries his guts out and he has got good manners as well.” View the Addington fields click here!

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    He has already won one Group One race in his short career and now smart juvenile Montana DJ is marching on to try and add a few more to his burgeoning record in the coming months. The Gr.1 Garrards NZ Sires’ Stakes 2YO Final and Gr.1 Harness Jewels 2YO Emerald are firmly on the radar and he will continue his preparation towards those targets in the Garrard’s Sires’ Stakes (Heat 2) Mobile Pace (1700m) at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday. The son of Captaintreacherous won his 1609m trial at Pukekohe a fortnight ago following a freshen-up after his win in the Gr.1 Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes (1700m) at Alexandra Park last month. Trainers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan are pleased with the way he has returned and said they elected to bypass the Gr.2 Welcome Stakes at Addington last week in favour of the Sires’ Stakes heat. “He’s come through that race well and had a good trial about 10 days ago and he is forward enough,” Phelan said. “There wasn’t really much for them in the way of two-year-old races. There was the Welcome Stakes which wasn’t good timing for them having to travel down there and then travel back home, or stay down there for six weeks.” Montana DJ will continue his rivalry with the Graeme Rogerson-trained Classy Operator on Thursday, who he has beaten in his last two outings. “He is a nice enough horse, that one of Rogerson’s, but we have got a good draw (1) so we will see what happens,” Phelan said. Phelan will be in the bike himself behind stablemate Major Perry, who has followed a near identical preparation to Montana DJ. While he has lived in the shadow of his more fancied stablemate, Phelan said he expects his charge to perform well after drawing barrier two. “He has finally got a good draw, so he will settle pretty handy and will go a good race,” he said. As well as the Sires’ Stakes Final and Harness Jewels, the Listed Harness Million is also in the sights for both runners at Addington next month. “They will head down for the Sires and Harness Millions and then head to the Jewels,” Phelan said. “We will just try and find a suitable race in a fortnight or just give them a trial before they head to Christchurch.” The Clevedon stable will also contest the Dunstan Horse Feeds Mobile Pace (2700m) on Thursday with Montana Storm and Montana Jet. Montana Storm recorded their maiden victory at Cambridge Raceway last week, while Montana Jet extinguished his chances in his 2200m contest when breaking down the back straight. “Montana Storm got a deserved win,” Phelan said. “He has gone some good races at Auckland and the drop back to Cambridge he got his win, which was good. “Montana Jet got a couple of things wrong, but he is a nice enough horse. He is probably the better of the two chances.” View the Cambridge fields click here!

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Cambridge Raceway stalwart Donald Cossey had a memorable night at his home track on Thursday night when returning to the winner’s circle as a trainer for the first time in nearly 20 years. Cossey is a familiar face around the Waikato track, having driven the mobile on racenight for more than 15 years as well as being the track farrier. “I was shoeing horses and worked for the Cambridge trotting track for a few years,” Cossey said. “I was the course farrier as well as the mobile driver on race night. All those years I gave up training. “I turned 70 not too long ago and I thought when I turned 70 that would be it.” Cossey elected to hand in the driver’s keys at the start of the season and return to training and was rewarded with a win in the Happy Hour At The Clubhouse 4-6pm Mon-Wed Handicap Trot (2700m) on Thursday night with Highview Rockn Roll. “I am over the moon, she went very well,” Cossey said. “She had been working quite well and she has come through it well by the looks of things.” The filly extended her career tally to one win and two placings from just four starts, but it hasn’t been all plain sailing for the pacing-bred three-year-old. Cossey initially tried the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven out as a pacer, but after she showed limited ability in that gait, he elected to try her without hopples, and she proved to be a natural trotter. “I couldn’t believe it when I got her, I thought she was going to be a pacer and I went out on the track at the workouts and she showed me nothing as a pacer, she was very ordinary,” he said. “I decided to take the hopples off one day and just work her with no hopples on and all she wanted to do was trot, so I thought ‘here we go, this is it’. “She is a great beginner and she hasn’t looked back. She has got great manners, that is the key with her.” Cossey initially happened across Highview Rockn Roll online and decided to lease her, and he said he is enjoying every minute having her in his barn. “Her former owners put her online for lease and I thought I would have a go with her,” he said. “We got her going and when she qualified I thought we would buy her. “My nephew, Nick Coxon, and I bought her and we are going to have a bit of fun with her.” Originally hailing from Taranaki, Cossey is a member of one of the region’s most prominent harness racing family’s, and he has enjoyed a lifelong involvement in the sport. “The family has been in harness racing all of our lives,” Cossey said. “Farley races down in Taranaki, and Jason had a win the other night down in Palmerston North. “When I left school I started working for Ivan Dickie, John Dickie’s father. I was with him for about eight years, he taught me a lot, he was a very good trainer. “I also worked with Jack Davies, and I was foreman for Ross Olivieri when he was in New Zealand for Curtin Farms.” Cossey transitioned to become a farrier and has shod a number of quality horses over the years, but admitted Highview Rockn Roll is his favourite horse that he has shod. “I shod Just An Excuse to win his first New Zealand Cup, but Sovereignty would be the best horse I have shod, I would say. He was a hell of a good trotter,” Cossey said. “But I like this little filly (Highview Rockn Roll). Being by Rock N Roll Heaven, I call her Angel because that is where Angels come from, heaven. “She is just an angel, she is just the best, and would be my favourite horse I have shod so far.” Cossey initially took out his trainer’s license in 1986 and he said Rannach Ruler was the best horse that went through his care. “I owned a horse called Rannach Ruler, he was the two-year-old trotter of the year in 1989. I sold him to Australia,” he said. Cossey is enjoying his return to training and is looking to breed from his mare Alanajane this coming season, after health issues forced him to end her racing career after he suffered health issues. “I have got a broodmare I want to put in-foal next season,” Cossey said. “She is a Monarchy mare out of an Armbro Invasion mare. She never raced. “I got her broken in and I took ill for a little while. I ended up with a stent and a heart pacemaker in 2013. I am still shoeing horses though. “She never went anywhere and I just want to breed a foal out of her.” In the meantime, Cossey is having the time of his life working his Angel and is hoping Thursday night won’t be the last time he visit’s the winner’s circle with his pride and joy View the full results for Cambridge click here!

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Progressive filly The Honey Queen will be out to continue her burgeoning form line when she contests the Nevele R Filles Series Heat 5 Mobile Pace (1700m) at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday. The daughter of Group One-winning mare Tosti has won three of her nine starts to date, and placed in two others, including a runner-up effort in the Gr.1 Northern Oaks (2700m) two starts back. She subsequently went on to post her third win at Alexandra Park last start and trainers Brian and Gareth Hughes have been pleased with her progress. “She has come through her last race well and she seems well in herself,” Gareth Hughes said. “She is coming along quite nicely, she keeps improving. “It was an awesome run in the Oaks to finish second and her next start, where she won, she went well again for (driver) Tony Cameron. “I am very happy with the way she is going.” The Honey Queen has drawn the outside in the seven-horse field on Thursday, but Hughes is hoping her class will prevail. “It always makes it a bit tougher when you draw out wide down there,” he said. “She is a class filly and hopefully she can overcome it.” All going to plan, The Honey Queen is on a path towards Addington Raceway next month for the Gr.1 Nevele R Fillies Series Final on May 14, and the Gr.1 The Breeders NZ Oaks a week later. “She is nominated for the Oaks down south and that would be the sort of races will be looking at after tomorrow, all going well,” Hughes said. The Ardmore stable will also be represented on Thursday by Nudist Beach in the IRT. Your Horse. Our Passion Mobile Pace (2200m). The son of Sunshine Beach has been freshened since his sixth-placing at Cambridge last month and Hughes is hoping for an improved performance. “He had a little freshen-up after his last run,” Hughes said. “He has drawn six, which makes it a bit tougher, but he always puts his best foot forward for us, although sometimes you need a bit of luck.” View the Cambridge fields click here!

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    It was a long time between drinks for Peter Holmes but he was able to quench his thirst at Motukarara Raceway on Monday when securing his first win since 2014. Holmes contested the Crate & Barrel Leeston Mobile Pace (2000m) with Beeps and Evidently, and the former was able to get up for the Templeton trainer by half a head over Cristiano Buccini. Holmes was duly delighted with the result, but said it came as a pleasant surprise given Beeps was fresh-up after undergoing treatment for stomach ulcers. “It was great, it’s been a long time between drinks,” Holmes said. “He went quite good races on the coast and up at Blenheim, but we had a bit of trouble with him, he wasn’t eating. “We found out that he had stomach ulcers, so we treated him for that and he has been eating up really well ever since. “He has always gone better when he has had a race under his belt. I thought he would probably need the run today, but he proved us wrong.” Holmes was also pleased with the seventh-placed run of stablemate Evidently. “He didn’t go too bad, I was quite happy with him,” he said. “He is no champion, but he went quite a good race today.” Holmes has enjoyed training for more than three decades and he said he enjoys training a couple of horses, which gives him a break from running his Canterbury sheep farm. He has trained since 1988 but said the best horse he has been associated with was seven-time winner Regal Nugent, who was trained in his mother Maureen’s name before Holmes took out his license. “She was a really nice mare,” Holmes said. “She won seven, and in those days there was no drop back or penalty free wins. She was a lovely mare and the best one that I have been associated with.” While pleased with Monday’s win, Holmes is looking forward to the future with a couple of his younger stock. “We have got a couple of Terror To Love two-year-olds that go around alright,” he said. “A cobber of mine, Grant Inglis, who works for New Zealand Bloodstock, he and I bought a trotting yearling at the sales, which I have broken in and is going alright too. “We live in hope.” View the full results from Motukarara.

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk    Consistent pacer New York Minute extended his winning record this season to six when taking out the City of Palmerston North Festival Gold Cup (2500m) at Manawatu Raceway on Thursday night. The Arna Donnelly-trained gelding sat midfield for driver David Butcher for the majority of the race before he was asked to improve three-wide shortly after the bell. He assumed the lead down the back straight and was able to hold off the late challenge of American Me to win by a length, with a further 2-1/4 lengths back to Brookies Jaffa in third. New York Minute finished third in the Hawera Cup (2000m) on Tuesday and Donnelly was pleased he could go two better a couple of days later. “It was a great win,” she said. “He doesn’t really know how to go a bad race, he is super consistent. “He raced super on the first day, he just got beaten by the draw. “He got the job done tonight with a great drive from David. “You wish you had a stable full of horses like this guy, he just tries so hard. He has had six wins and 10 places this season. He is a super consistent wee tradesman.” Later on the card, stablemate Rough And Ready recorded his second runner-up result of the week in the T Market Fresh Mobile Pace (2500m). “If he didn’t throw his head and himself around he might have got the money,” Donnelly said. “He is an unusual horse, but he has paid his way.” Meanwhile, the Brent Mangos-trained Chris Kyle was victorious in the Pat O’Brien Memorial Graduation Final (2000m). The son of He’s Watching began well from his ace draw for local reinsman Stephen Doody, maintaining his pole position. The four-year-old gelding led throughout and ran away to a 1-1/4 length victory, redeeming himself to punters after breaking at the start on the first day as a short-priced favourite. Thursday’s meeting brought the curtain down on the harness racing season in the Central Districts.

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