Addington Premier Wrap



Debuting filly wins Harness 5000

The North Canterbury horseman produced a masterful training performance to not only produce the quinella in the Listed $40,000 Harness 5000 at Addington, but for good measure he produced a three-year-old filly to win it on debut - a rare feat indeed.

And while he wasn’t surprised that Bardot was able to run up the lane and beat his in-form pacer, Acuto, Hill had to admit that he wasn’t sure if she would be able to do it.

“You have horses like her at home and they give you a good feel and then do nice things at the workouts and trials but going to race day for the first time is a whole new ball game,” Hill said.

“I’ve always liked her, there’s no doubt about that.

“But I think that performance just showed how good she actually is.

“Acuto is a good horse too, and he’s got ringcraft and experience on his side.”

A daughter of Stunin Cullen and former Nevele R Fillies Stakes winner Hemisphere, Bardot is raced by John Higgins, who also raced the dam, along with Bruce Martin, Andrew Patterson and Maria Murrell, who were all on hand to witness the win.

“I’ve got Ricky May to thank for getting me the horse, he was the one who told John to send her to me.

“The only condition was the Ricky was the driver, but he wanted to drive Acuto tonight.”

Tim Williams handled the driving duties on the three-year-old filly and managed to get her into the lane at the top of the straight where she burst through to win impressively from her stablemate.

But now Hill has that problem.

Bardot will cop a decent amount of rating points for the victory and that limits options for the immediate future.

The Southland Oaks is a serious option, but to get there they’d need to have at least two starts down South.

“In an ideal world I’d back right off her now, but we might have to see what’s available because the Oaks would be perfect for her.”

Acuto was a brave second after working hard to get to the lead at the 500 metre mark while the Terry and Glenys Chmiel pair of Dibaba and Liberal Arden filled the next two placings.


Howard sets the benchmark at Addington

It’s been a long time in between Addington drinks for Murray Howard, but he picked a good race to get back into the winners’ circle when Benchmark won the Summer Trotting Free-For-All on Friday night.

The popular horseman, who is probably best known as the right-hand man of Christen Me when he was away from home, hasn’t trained many in recent years and his last winner at Addington was in 2005 when Far From Grace was victorious.

But that all became a memory when Benchmark stomped home in the hands of Dexter Dunn to win the $30,000 trot.

“He’s been getting better each time he’s raced since we got back (from Sydney),” Howard said.

“He’s not a pretty horse to watch sometimes, but he feels completely different - there’s a lot of speed tucked away there.”

Howard, who races the five-year-old son of Bacardi Lindy with Sandra, Dawn, Dixie and Deacon Howard along with Alistair Boulton, said that although it would be tempting, a trip to Auckland wasn’t on the cards.

“We’ll stay away from there I think; we can target a couple of races back here at home and see how we go.”

That means most likely the Four and Five-Year-Old Trotting Championship around Easter and then the Fred Shaw Memorial New Zealand Trotting Championship a week later.

“He’s not great from a stand which limits us a wee bit; he stands and then trots away good but after about 100 metres he tends to get a bit lost and forgets what he’s doing.”

After working round to sit parked at the winning post with a lap left to run, Dunn elected to take a sit behind favourite Harriet Of Mot for the final 800 metres.

When she galloped at the quarter, he allowed his charge to balance up and stomped home to get over a brave Le Lievre’s Gift with Everybody Knows running home strongly into third.


Pat’s Delight primed for Derby

Pat's Delight, who beat the older horses in the Gr.3 $25,800 Metalcraft Roofing espan Summer Cup at Addington on Friday night, could be even better right-handed.

That's the opinion of West Melton trainer Cran Dalgety, who with Pat's Delight (and possibly stablemate Master Moonlite), will be chasing back-to-back Northern Derby wins at Auckland on March 9.

"He (Pat's Delight) steers a bit better the Auckland-way round," Dalgety said.

"Master Moonlite wasn't as good the Auckland-way round a couple of months ago but he's improving.

“They’re only three once, so we might take both of them to Auckland for the Northern Derby."

Pat's Delight, not too far behind the best three-year-olds when sixth in Chase Auckland's record-run NRM Sires Stakes Final at Addington on NZ Cup Day in November, has come back a touch stronger after a let-up, according to his trainer.

"He's a little bit more confident and has a bit more presence as his male hormones kick in," Dalgety said.

"It was a good effort tonight to run past A G's White Socks, as that horse was second to Vincent in the Franklin Cup and ran (seventh) in the Auckland Cup."

The Bettor's Delight colt could have also raced against stablemates, Master Moonlite and Fizzing, in the rating 61 to 85 pace on Friday, but he would have been on the outside of the front row under the preferential draw.

Dalgety, and driver Dexter Dunn, weren't fazed running him against the free-for-allers in the Summer Cup, knowing he'd draw well as one of the lower rated 84 horses in the Summer Cup.

"We had intended trailing Tiger Thompson but A G's White Socks and Royal Bengal, who drew inside us, held the trail positions," Dalgety said.

Pat's Delight, after settling fourth, moved out in the open at the 1300m, secured a one out trail behind Buster Brady at the 900m, and was too strong in the run home.

He held A G's White Socks by three-quarters of a length in a 1:55.7 rate (1950m), the leaders running their last 800m in 54.9s and final 400m in 26.7s.


Ronald J bleeds, stood down

Classy trotter Ronald J was stood down for 30 days at Addington on Friday night after being observed to bleed from one nostril.
The rangy square-gaiter finished seventh in the Summer Trotting Free For All (Group 3) in the hands of Bob Butt for driver Paul Nairn.

He must trial to the satisfaction of stewards before he can resume racing.


Rasmussen fined $500 for whip use

Driver Natalie Rasmussen was hit with a $500 fine by the Judicial Control Authority for excessive use of the whip at Addington on Friday night.

Driving the filly she co-trains, Elle Mac, Rasmussen was found to been in breach of the whip regulations and with the race being worth $160,000, a heftier penalty was issued.

Rasmussen is currently driving under a stay of proceedings after appealing a three-week suspension for drive behind Heaven Rocks in the Hunter Cup a fortnight ago.


Four for Dunn but 1500 for Orange

The battle of New Zealand’s leading driver was in full swing at Addington last night as the premiership battle continues.

After driving seven winners at Palmerston North during the week, Orange reined home two more – Arnold and Ocean Ridge – to tick over 1500 New Zealand driving wins.

Not to be outdone, Dunn took centre stage and drove four of the last six winners on the card, including two feature wins with Pat’s Delight and Bettor Joy.

  • NZ Harness News