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2011 Cup Day Photo Gallery

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Parade Day (Sunday March 4)

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Cullen Breeding Premier Raceday
(Addington Raceway, Saturday February 4, 2012)

2012 PGG Wrightson NZ Breeders Stakes
Carabella's Breeders' Stakes start to finish

Hope's win three at Oamaru (Sunday, January 29, 2012)

The in-form racing team of Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope stole the show again at the Oamaru meeting last Sunday, winning three races with Ricky May driving them all, plus one more.

Win favourite Hot Vacation, a Dream Vacation-Solar Fire (14 wins) mare, began the Hope's winning streak in Race Two, the Morrison's Saddlery Trot. Holding off a storming late run from outsider Suzannah close to the finish, Hot Vacation recorded her first win by 3/4 of a length in 2.42.7 for the 2000m, the last half in 59.8.

Win number two for the Hope's came from Jason Rulz, a Courage Under Fire-Rule Zona (7wins) three-year-old. Jason Rulz was given a cosy, economical run four back on the rails by May but looked to be facing mission impossible with 400m to run. However May found the gaps and Jason Rulz did the rest storming home to win easily 1 1/2 lengths clear of Got The Nod in 2.33.3 for the 2000m.

The Hope's Oamaru trifecta was completed in Race 9, The Monarchy Trot, when Stubmeister (Earl-Mistry Gold, 3wins) began well, led with 1600m to run, skipped away at the turn and won his second race comfortably, and untouched, in another clever drive from May.

May began the day well with a win behind Miss Milwaukee (Dream Away-Somkindaloven) which led out then got shuffled back to near last on the turn as the lead changed. May hooked her wide and she responded well sprinting hard to overhaul the leaders and win her first race in her ninth start.

Dream run for Canterbury horses at Invercargill (Saturday January 28, 2012)

Canterbury-trained and driven horses had a dream run at the Invercargill Harness Racing Club's meeting at Ascot Park Raceway on Saturday, winning 8 of the 12 races.

The Dunn brothers were in fine form with Dexter winning four races and John two, while Mark Jones trained and drove two winners, Cran Dalgety and Robert Dunn also trained two, and Steve Dolan one.

The day kicked off well for Dalgety and Dexter Dunn with Abraxas winning the first race, the Cruickshank Pryde 2YO Mobile Pace, for them.

A beautifully bred colt, by Mach Three from Exotic Lover (Artsplace-Under Cover Lover) Abraxas was purchased for $65,000 by Dalgety from vendors Tim and Andrea Butt, at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch last year in February.
With the benefit of two previous races at Cambridge and Alexandra Park in December last year, and the number one barrier position Abraxas, the race favourite, showed perfect race manners. He lead out easily from behind the mobile gate and held on to win impressively by 3/4 of a length in 2:49.9 for the mobile 2200 metre event.

Drawn alongside Abraxas was Blazin N Cullen, another beautifully bred colt, which, as Lot 151 Virgil Exner, topped the Christchurch sale in February last year selling to Ian Dobson for $160,000. The Christian Cullen-Rye Hanover (p2 1.58.6) two-year-old was having his first start. His inexperience proved costly with a few rough strides in the run-up behind the barrier taking him to the back of the field soon after the start, and setting him a big task. However, with a round to go he roared up alongside Abraxas, after making a spectacular run from last at the bottom of the straight. Although he headed the favourite for a short time twice, and looked a big threat to him, it must have been tough going sitting outside Abraxas for the last lap, and in the final run to the finish his earlier effort told. He did well to finish third behind Abraxas and Classiemahon, a Jereme's Jet-Ballymahon colt, bred by Mike Stratford at Prebbleton, which ran home well on the inside, after receiving a lovely, cushy run one out one back, to finish second.

Three races later Texican gave Dalgety and Dexter Dunn their second winner for the day. Then in the next race Dexter drove his third winner for the day when classy three-year-old filly Castellina Lover, trained by Steve Dolan, put in a stunning home-straight sprint to win the $18,000 Nevele R Fillies (Heat 3) Pace, by 1 1/2 lengths in 2.05 for the 1700m mobile. Her third win from three starts.

Mark Jones struck next, training and driving Ohoka Texas to win the $38,500, 3200m Invercargill Cup.

Then Southern Sun, a seven-year-old Thunder N Lightning mare, trained by Tony Stratford at Invercargill, took her race earnings to $55,946 with win number six, giving Dexter his fourth win on the day in Race 8, the Arden Lodge Mobile Pace.

The Perfect Storm, trained by Robert Dunn and driven by John won the next race, then Mark Jones won again, this time with OK Courage, while Onedin Classic scored in the 11th race giving John and Robert Dunn their second win for the day.

World Amateur Drivers' Championships, at Motukarara Raceway, January 22, 2012

Congratulations Marian Tux, 2012 World Champion Amateur Driver

Marian Tux with Wife

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World Amateurs deliver excitement

Castellina Lover
Grant Adamson

The World Amateur Championship drivers stole the show, but two Kiwis, Gerard O'Reilly and Dexter Dunn, were also in fine form driving two winners each, at the Banks Peninsula Trotting Club's meeting last Sunday.

The visitors' exuberance, style and obvious passion for harness racing delivered a shot of excitement to the Motukarara country meeting dampened by an unwelcome cold and wet twist to our Summer weather.

Although the hard-working Motukarara Raceway team had the course and track looking picture-postcard perfect, the early rain and cold weather kept the crowd away. What an exciting day of racing they missed.

Marian Tux, a talented amateur from Germany with experience and flair to burn, travelled more than 18,000 kilometres to compete in the New Zealand, series, and he left a World Champion.

As the driver of 580 winners in his homeland, Tux was the obvious favourite, having won three times more races than his closest rival in the series, Bjarke Haagensen from Denmark (175).

The series started quietly for him though with no luck at the Manukau meeting, at Alexandra Park, in Auckland, on January 19. His drives there finished 5th, 7th, 4th and 8th but his luck returned at Addington on January 20 where he fared much better, finishing second with Franco Talon behind series leader, New Zealand driver Steve Phillips on the Robbie Holmes-trained Tor Riley. Then later Tux won with the John Hay-trained trotter Sonofanearl in the final of three heats at Addington.

On to the grass-track racing at the Banks Peninsula meeting. Two more wins, behind the Neil Edge-trained The Doctor in the second heat, and the Steven McCrae-trained New Revenue in a thrilling finish to the final heat, clinching the title for him. However, he had to endure a long wait in the birdcage for official confirmation while points were checked and drives analysed before celebrations could begin.

Two winners each
The three-year-old trotting filly Anonymiss was impressive on debut with a big run from near last on the home turn to win comfortably for her Rakaia trainer-driver, Gerard O'Reilly. Later in the day O'Reilly made it two wins from only four drives on the day when he won with the Geoff Dunn-trained favourite Waipawa Junior in Race 10.

Dexter Dunn also drove two winners at the meeting, Hawthornden, in Race 8, which has now won three for $25,461 in stakemoney from 18 starts, and Castellina Lover, trained by Steve Dolan at Loburn, having her second impressive win from only two starts, in the last race on the programme.

New Year's Eve Twilight meeting at Rangiora (Saturday December 31, 2011)

Junior horseman Tom Bagrie, who is in his first season of driving, had his first race drive on Blackjacky at Addington on Friday September 30 last year.

The mare ran second that night, in the Christchurch Casino Trot, deadheating with Mo Hahn, driven by Tom's cousin John Dunn, behind race winner Mystic Reign.

However, at the Rangiora Harness meeting today the Falcon Seelster-Rare Vintage mare went one better giving Tom his first winning drive.

Tom works for his father, Peter Bagrie, at Ohoka in North Canterbury. Peter also trains the mare and owns her in partnership with his wife, Anne, and Reid Storer, a good friend of the Bagries, who owns Storer Motors in New Brighton.
It was ``pretty special'', Tom said, to win on his home track, on a mare he had his first drive on and who is owned by his parents.

He was not far away from scoring two more wins today too when Radar, trained at West Melton by his uncle, Robert Dunn, ran a close second behind Jellignite in Race 2 on the programme. Then, at the end of the day, he drove Field Officer, also trained by Peter, and owned by Peter and Anne, to run second, behind La Passione, in the last race on the programme.

Bred to pace, the double gaited Blackjacky revelled in the trotting gait at Rangiora today , clearing out to win by 2 1/4 lengths after a beautifully timed drive from Tom.

She has now won three races trotting and one pacing, and has a best placed time pacing of 1.55.2, achieved when she ran second at Ashburton in February, 2010.

Tom said the Ashburton run was particularly hard on Blackjacky and she showed little heart for the pacing gait after that, preferring to trot in her work. ``She had a nice way of going, so we decided to let her trot,'' he said.

She qualified as a trotter at Rangioira in March last year and has raced well ever since, clocking up a win, three seconds, five thirds, a fourth and two fifths from 20 starts.

Colin De Filippi was also in fine form at Rangiora today with three winning drives, behind Malak Uswaad, La Passione and Elusive Chick, which won her third race in a row.

A three-year-old filly by McArdle from Annie Jay, Elusive Chick is trained at West Melton by Tim Butt. She has had nine race starts now with Colin driving her in five of them for three wins, a second and a third.

The beautifully bred McArdle-Delizioso three-year-old filly, Castellina Lover looked a star in the making today, impressively winning her race debut after a heady and confident drive from Loburn trainer Steve Dolan.

She made a flying start from her number two position behind the mobile barrier and stayed in control, careering away in the home straight to win by 4 lengths in 2.27.3 for the 2000 metres, the last half in 58.3, quarter in 29.6 and a mile rate of 1.58.5.

Bred by Graham Pearson at Waipara in North Canterbury, Castellina Lover was sold through the 2010 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch. Prepared for the sale by Maria Perriton, the filly was bought by Steve for $32,500 and is now owned by his wife Leeanne and Grant Adamson, a merchant banker from Belfast, in Christchurch. Grant is also part-owner of stable star, Franco Jamar, winner of 20 races and $386,487 to date.

Castellina Lover's original name, Deli Licious didn't appeal to Grant and his wife, Karen, so they decided to rename her and chose one of their favourite holiday destinations, the beautifiul Italian town of Castellina, in north Siena, a particularly pretty part of gorgeous Tuscany. By renaming her Castellina Lover they also gave a nod of recognition to her talented family, in particular the champion mare Under Cover Lover (1.51.8), a full sister to her dam Delizioso, and another close relative, the amazing mare Bettor Cover Lover, who recently made a remarkable winning return to racing after a horrific injury threatened her life.

Steve said Castellina Lover was a ``beautifully gaited filly with stacks of ability.''

``She has got a big motor but has a few quirkly little things about her and can be a bit too willing at times,'' he said.
She is nominated for the Nevele R Fillies series but won't be rushed towards the early qualifying heats while she is still learning all about racing. Steve will look instead for a suitable low key penalty-free race to run her in next. He is likely to step down as her race driver also, preferring to concentrate on training and leave the race-drive responsibility to others.

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Rangiora Christmas meeting, Sunday, December 18 2011

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Methven heat (Sunday December 11, 2011)

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Methven turned up the heat on Sunday and a big crowd turned out at the picturesque raceway.

They brought their barbecues, sun umbrellas and marquees, and settled in for a relaxing day watching the racing and the between-race entertainment.

Even Father Christmas turned up and, with a big bag of sweets for the many children on course, he was the most popular man around. Santa's ride for the day was a shiny 1968 Shelby Mustang, one of several Classic Cars displayed on course.

Who knew that the big guy in the red suit sometimes rides in shiny 1968 Shelby Mustang, or that wheelbarrow racing could be such a laugh?

The day's racing racing kicked off in fine style too with an impressive win from the favourite Escapee, a three-year-old Sundon filly from Una Bromac owned by Trevor Casey and trained for him by Mark Purdon and Grant Payne at Rolleston.
The Purdon-Payne combination won two more races during the day, Equalizer, driven by Blair Orange, in the third, and Ohoka Dallas, driven by Grant Payne, won the $17,000 Green Mile, scorching home in 1.56.5 and earning a $2000 bonus for breaking the grass track mile record of 1.57.1,. Major Mark ran second, scoring a quinella for the stable, and their only other runner in the race, Kotare Mach, finished fourth.

The heat was also on in the Trotters Green Mile with Clover Don returning to winning form after a lovely drive from Colin De Filippi, who settled the Sundon gelding midfield one out for most of the race, then eased him out to storm home in 1.59.6 beating The Fiery Ginga by a length, with Quality Invasion, looking to record his fifth win in a row, third.

In the next race, favourite Falcon Crown, trained by Robert Dunn at West Melton, and driven by John Dunn, was also impressive, leading from start to finish to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 3.05.3 for the 2400m, the last 800m in 58 seconds.

Methven Racing Manager, Trevor Robertson, said the large crowd on course at Methven on Sunday was pleasing especially considering the cool weather in Christchurch, and the betting had also been good.

``We did a million dollars off-course and $150,000 on-course, which was pretty good considering the economy and the events of the previous year '' he said.

Rangiora midweek meeting (December 7 2011)

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West Melton trainer Greg Payne achieved a perfect strike rate at the midweek Rangiora Harness Racing Club's meeting at Rangiora Raceway today.
Payne took two horses to Rangiora, Bowen Delight (Race 4) and Zolas Bud (Race 5), and drove both of them to win. Although Payne has quite a few young horses in work, Bowen Delight and Zolas Bud are his only race horses.
Payne said was confident both could win today, so it was nice to actually do so. Bowen's delight, a Bettor's Delight-Bowencourt four-year-old gelding, had been dogged by bad draws, Payne said, so no doubt appreciated the number four barrier position today with one scratching inside him.
Both horses were on the market, Payne said, with Zolas Bud likely to be sold soon.

Oxford trainer Phiippa Wakelin also had a good day winning with the trotter Theycallmesam in Race 1, the Terror To Love Trot.
By Grant Our Wishes from Zola's Chiola, Theycallmesam had not raced for almost a year, and had a string of zeroes in his form line, but was the win favourite today after an impressive trial win at Rangiora last month. The five year-old gelding's part owner Eileen Noble was on course to see him win, and also to mind her grand daughter, Paige, aged 2, while Philippa did the race driving.

A great day out at Motukarara, Sunday 27 November 2011

I have to admit that I was not always a fan of Motukarara Raceway.

But that was before our trotter Hadrian won two races on the course. Suddenly Motukarara held a lot more appeal, even in the rain.

hat was many moons ago and a lot of work has been done in the interim by the hard working Motukarara Raceway team to make it is such a pleasure to go to the races there now.

The grass-track racing and relaxed country atmosphere are great, and with six meetings annually mainly in the warmer months the weather is usually fabulous.

The good facilities are also much appreciated. Everything is in close proximity too so you don't have to walk miles to get to the grandstands, the stables, the toilets, the tote, the secretary's office or the carparks. The wonderful country-fare food, good coffee, and nice places to sit outside to eat, in the shade if you want, are all a pleasant bonus too. The water pressure in the washdown stalls in the stable area is also great, a small detail but most important to those washing the horses after their races.

It is also fantastic to be able to stand and have a good look at the horses while they walk around the parade ring before they go across into the birdcage and out onto the track to race. The club has obviously gone to a great deal of effort to ensure this area is pleasant and safe, and it is the perfect place to select a winner because you can have a really close-up look at the horses before they race.

The Bank's Peninsula Trotting Club turned on another great meeting at Motukarara Raceway on Sunday. Although the crowd was smaller than expected, everything else went according to plan with great racing and fantastic weather.

Motukarara moments

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2011 NZ Cup meeting, Addington Raceway:
Show Day, Friday November 2011
2011 Show Day Photo Gallery
2011 Hellers Dominion Handicap Trot

Dominion Handicap finish

Trotting up a storm: Vulcan wins the $200,000 Hellers Dominion Handicap Trot at Addington Raceway on Show Day November 11 for driver Anthony Butt, trainer Tim Butt and owners Jenny Butt and Don McKenzie. Dr Hook (9) is second from Clover Don (16) third with Springbank Richard (3).

Terror To Love wins the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup
NZ Cup 2011

Feeling good: Jimmy Curtin celebrates winning the 2011 $600,00 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington Raceway yesterday (Tuesday November 8) with
the four-year-old pacer Terror To Love, which is owned by Terry McDonald and trained for him by the father and son partnership of Graham and Paul Court at West Melton.

Terror To Love NZ Cup 2011
Well done: Blair Orange, driver of third placed Cup runner, Highview Tommy, reaches over to Jimmy Curtin, driver of the winner Terror To Love, to congratulate him. Australian trainer driver Lance Justice with his pacer Smoken Up, which finished second in the Cup is on the inner.

November 5, 2011

The Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup is one race every trainer, driver and owner in harness racing wants to win.
There are many reasons for that, the most obvious is that it is worth a lot of money, $600,000 this year, with half that going to the winner, a very big pay day for those involved.

Realistically most people will only dream about winning the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club's historic, keenly-contested 3200 metre premiere event.

For one driver though that dream has become a reality five times over. Ricky May drove Inky Lord to win the Cup in 1989, Iraklis in 1997, Mainland Banner in 2005, and Monkey King in 2009 and 2010. Only the late Cecil Devine has driven more at six.

Ask Ricky how he has achieved such amazing success in the New Zealand Cup and he will tell that you that he has been ``pretty fortunate to drive some pretty nice horses.'' To win five cups has been ``amazing'', he said.

NZ CupWinning the last two with Monkey King had been really special, and he paid tribute to the gelding's Kaiapoi trainer, Brendon Hill, for his skillful preparation and attention to detail. ``He is such a great trainer,'' Ricky said.

Although luck is important in racing, Brendon believes Ricky's competitive nature is also a big factor in his success. ``He doesn't like to run second,'' he said. Ricky was also ``cool, carm and collected, good at making quick decisions on the track, looks after the horses and they just run for him,'' Hill said.

Last November when Ricky drove Monkey King out onto the Addington track on Cup day for their pre-race warmup he was amazed at the loudest, most enthusiastic, reception the crowd saved for them. Monkey King wasn't the race favourite that day but the little star was obviously the crowd's favourite. He took the big noise all in his stride, stopping for a few a moments to take it all in, as if acknowledging his fame, before moving on with his warmup. Then went on to receive even louder applause after winning his second Cup.

This year Monkey King is unlikely to be the race favourite either after starting his season with an impressive win in the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru on September 18 followed by indifferent form in three race starts since then.

However he has won 39 races and almost three and a half million dollars in prizemoney. He is a stunning looking individual, an amazing little gelding, a champion by anyone's standards, and there is no doubt he will get another huge reception from the Addington crowd this Tuesday when he steps out onto the track to try and make it three wins in a row.

Ricky says he is incredibly lucky to be driving Monkey King. He knows they are up against it this year but says`` if he is near right on the day he will run a big race.''

Ricky May
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