News Briefs - March 20

More slots confirmed for Cambridge's big night 

Don't Stop Dreaming and Midnight Dash have been the latest horses to get slots for Cambridge's Night of Champions on April 12. Don't Stop Dreaming has been confirmed as the runner taking the Cullen Breeding slot in the $1m Race by Grins. He is the $2.80 favourite on the TAB's futures market and will front up in the Auckland Co-op taxis 300-3000 City of Auckland Free For All at Alexandra Park on Friday night. And the Greg and Nina Hope-trained Midnight Dash has been secured in the Hidden Honey slot for the TAB Trot, following his second to stablemate and race rival Muscle Mountain at Addington on Friday night.

Big honour for champion trainer

The country's most successful trotting trainer, Phil Williamson has officially joined an elite North Otago club with his induction into the Waitaki Sports Hall of Fame. With his first winner, Role Model at Forbury Park in 1993, Williamson has racked up 761 wins as a trainer and 333 as a driver, and been associated with the likes of star trotters Majestic Man, One Over Kenny and Allegro Agitato. Describing the induction as "right up there" in terms of career achievements Williamson dedicated it to his wife Bev and his family that includes sons Matthew, Nathan and Brad who are all carving out successful careers in the sport. The night's other inductee was the 1962 North Otago rugby team that defeated the Wallabies 14-13.

Season closer for Manawatu

The Manawatu Harness Racing Club's excited about its two-day meeting next week. Tuesday March 26 will feature the $20,000 Palmerstonian for both the trotters and the pacers and minimum stakes of $15,000 per race. Thursday's meeting will be highlighted by the $20,000 Festival Handicap Trot and the $25,000 Festival Handicap Cup. It will be the last chance for the trotters to qualify for the Country Cups. The two meetings will be Manawatu's final ones for the 2023/24 season.

Half ton for White

Northern trainer-driver Matty White brought up his 50th New Zealand win as a trainer when The Mighty Sully won at Alexandra Park last Friday. White has 39 victories as a trainer in his own right and 11 in partnership with Mike Berger - his first being with About Turn in November 2019. White also spent eight years in Perth, winning a Group 1 in the Western Australian Derby with Three Blind Mice. He has 234 victories as a driver.

Frocked up and fabulous

Congratulations to Deborah Lambie for being the first ever winner of the Frocks at the Trots competition. The final was held at Addington last Friday with Lambie taking overall honours from Alexandra Valle and Marie Wright. The finalists, complete with their teal-themed outfit, were found after a series of heats around the country. The competition was part of the Teal Pants campaign which is all about raising awareness about ovarian cancer. The campaign ran from February 1 to March 15 this year, with a total expected later this month. It is expected to be well in excess of $20,000, with all proceeds going towards funding research.

PB for former Kiwi pacer

A prolific winner in this country for trainer Mark Jones, Artatac has set a new personal best in North America. The seven-year-old took out his third win of the season in an open handicap pace in Ohio. His winning time of 1:48.8 was the first time he clocked under 1:49. His 16 wins in this country came from 199 starts.

March 31 deadline for grants

The deadline's approaching for Harness Racing New Zealand's three monthly Life After Racing grant applications. The scheme is all about assisting those are rehoming retired standardbreds. Money can be used for essentials like food, hay and baleage and transport costs, and can include dentistry work, vet and farrier bills. The Grants committee will decide who gets what, with applications closing at the end of the month. For more information click here




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