News Briefs : August 4

Payne branches out into training

Sam Payne has taken out a trainers’ licence for the new season. Among the horses the Canterbury-based Payne will train will be the very promising Anna Love that he co-owns. The two-year-old Terror To Love filly has never been out of the money with one win, two seconds and three thirds from six starts. Sam follows in the footsteps of his dad Greg, who’s trained more than 100 winners since the late 1980s.

Morrison steps up to open ranks

After winning the last three junior driver premierships John Morrison has graduated into the open driving ranks. He had 59 wins last season to pip Sarah O’Reilly by two. Sheree Tomlinson, who’s also now an open driver, was third on 42. Morrison’s total number of wins currently stands at 195.

Hambletonian just days away

North America’s most prestigious race, the Hambletonian will be held this weekend at Meadowlands in New Jersey. The $1m race attracts the best three-year-old trotters with Ake Svanstedt training both winners of the elimination races last weekend, including the Dexter Dunn-driven Delayed Hanover. This will be the 96th running of the Hambletonian. Previous winners Muscle Hill (2009) and Trixton (2014) will both have their both progeny in the big race.

2 starts 2 wins in USA

The Bird Dance has now won two in a row in North America, after a second success at Plainridge Park, Massachusetts. Formerly trained by Murray Brown, the five year old gelding won two from five in this country before heading to Australia in 2019.

Book now for Blue September dinner

Tickets are now on sale for a special dinner to launch HRNZ’s Blue September campaign. The dinner will be held on Friday September 3 at Addington Raceway. Tickets are $45 each, with $10 going to the campaign. Throughout the month ten drivers will race in Blue September silks to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Club News : Invercargill

The new Southern Harness Racing season gets underway on Thursday (5 August) with an Invercargill Harness Racing Club meeting at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill. There will be seven races with the first timed to start at 12.45pm and the last at 3.46pm. The first weekend meeting of the season is at Invercargill on Saturday 18 September.

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