News Briefs - July 3

HRNZ Season launch on Friday

Harness Racing New Zealand will launch the 2024/25 season with a special function at Addington Raceway this Friday, July 5. Billed as "The Future Starts Now", the launch will detail a number of new initiatives including the Friday Night Lights concept, changes to Show Day, and increases in stakes for Fillies and Mares, Trotting and the Sires' Stakes programme. The launch, held in conjunction with Entain, starts at 3.30 pm and will be broadcast on HRNZ's Facebook page, and at www.hrnz.co.nz. New Chief Executive Officer Brad Steele will be at the launch, just days after taking up his new role.

2000 for Dex

Ten-time New Zealand champion Dexter Dunn has had his 2000th win in North America. He clinched the milestone win with Twin B Joe Fresh's victory in the $112,500 Perfect Sting at the Meadowlands in New Jersey over the weekend. Fittingly Dunn and fellow ex-pat Kiwi Chris Ryder, who trains the horse, are also in the ownership group. The horse has won 23 races from 32 starts and over $1.6m in stakes. Dunn had three winners on the night. So far in 2024 he has had 98 wins from 564 drives with just over $2.5m in stakes. He is a four-time Driver of the Year in North America as voted by the US Harness Writers Association. Dunn's career total now stands at 2003 in North America, as well as 2226 in this country. He is sixth on the all time list in New Zealand.

Bet N Win hot favourite

Kiwi trotter Bet N Win has been installed a hot favourite to win his Australian debut at Albion Park on Saturday night. Trained by David and Stacey White, and to be driven by Bob Butt, the four-year-old gelding opened up at $1.80 in the 2024 The Stellar Square. The winner of his last three this campaign and six overall has drawn six in the 2138 metre race. Among his rivals will be the $2.25 second favourite, the David Miles-trained and driven Rockinwithattitude and G O A T, who won impressively fresh up in Australia after having eight starts, including a win in North America. He is trained by Ricky Alchin, of Tough Monarch fame. The race is set down for 8.43pm on Saturday night.

Premierships at halfway mark

It's the halfway mark of the 2024 season and in the trainers' premiership 2023 winners, the Diamond Racing team of Robert and Jenna Dunn, have 93 wins, well clear of closest challengers Steve and Amanda Telfer (69) while Blair Orange leads the drivers' premiership on 95 wins this year, with John Dunn second on 88. Dunn is chasing his first premiership while Orange has won the last six in a row. In the junior drivers' battle Carter Dalgety is on 37, five clear of Sam Thornley with Wilson House next on 27. Dalgety however leaves next week for a trip to North America after recently winning a Valachi Downs Young Achiever Scholarship.

Thornley off to winning start

Olivia Thornley had the perfect start for her new employer when she drove Trump Card to victory at Addington last Friday. Thornley has only recently moved from Purdon Racing to Hayden Cullen's stables, as she pursues more driving opportunities. And she hit the jackpot at her first attempt as Trump Card careered away to win by four lengths for his first win at start number three. It was her seventh win this year and Cullen's seventh training success in 2024.

Gavelhouse : 12 lots for sale

Three race winner Supa Duca Luca is one of 12 horses up for sale in Gavelhouse standardbred's latest auction, which closes from 7 pm tonight. The five-year-old is now with Matty White after earlier being with Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan. At last look the top bid for Supa Duca Luca was $3500. High profile Dunedin breeder Lex Williams also has a number of horses up for sale, including Classic Skye, who was withdrawn from February's yearling sales with a minor hoof problem, and five-race winner Light Of Da Moon. Another of Williams' breed, One Over All won the Wagon Apollo Trotters Free For All at Melton in Victoria on Saturday night. The gelding had five wins for trainer Gavin Smith in this country before heading over to Australia in 2021. His career earnings have gone past $300,000.

 

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