Forbury moves to Saturday afternoon

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HRNZ and the NZRB have moved swiftly to co-ordinate re-jigged plans for South Island race meetings this week surrounding the forecast ‘weather bomb’ that will work its way up the island from Wednesday evening.

The abandonment of the Canterbury Racing meeting at Riccarton Park on Saturday, due to weather conditions, has opened up an opportunity for the Forbury Park Trotting Club’s meeting to shift on to that date and will no longer be held on Thursday night, as scheduled.

Despite the date shift for the Forbury Park meeting there is still a chance the meeting may not go ahead but the move has given it every chance to be run, especially as the southerly storm is forecast to ease through Friday.  There still may be travel issues that prevent the meeting from taking place.

The make up of the Forbury Park meeting is a relatively even split between Otago, Southland the Canterbury-based horses so the ability to move horses safely is of paramount importance.

The first race of the Forbury Park Trotting Club’s meeting this Saturday is scheduled for 11.40am – the last of 10 races at 4.26pm.

In fairness to all participants a final decision on whether the Forbury Park Trotting Club’s meeting will be held will be made by 2.00pm on Friday.

With no snow forecast for the Marlborough region the club’s two-day meeting will continue as scheduled. Trainers are however encouraged to travel as soon as is practicable, given the impending snow forecast for the Canterbury region.

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Butcher largely luckless in World Drivers Champs:  David Butcher had fantastic time in France for the World Drivers Championship. He had a win on the second day but had a lot of bad luck around that. Harness Racing NSW caught up with David near the conclusion of the championship and these were his comments. “It’s been outstanding for me. I’ve just really enjoyed it. The racing has been a little bit different. They do things differently than we do at home but at the end of the day the horses either can or can not run.  I managed to get a win (in the championship) on day two and that was a high point for me. I really enjoyed that and the people who’ve been on tour with me. The guys are great, we’ve been having a fantastic time and the French have looked after us superbly.”

Butcher and wife Wanda will now enjoy a well-earned holiday break in Continental Europe, away from the snow and cold of New Zealand. Butcher, who sits on 98 wins for the season is likely to have a chance to crack the 100 wins when he returns just before the season’s end.

Records fall at Addington and Alexandra Park: A return to 2000m mobile racing at Addington last Friday night prompted two NZ Records. There was also one broken at Alexandra Park. The two records broken at Addington were by One Over Da Moon and Quite A Moment who won Breeders’ Crown non-tote heats. One Over Da Moon (2.30.9) took 3.5 seconds off the record previously held by Beau Brummell. He ran a 2.01.3 mile rate for his 2000 metres. Quite A Moment downed Sheemon narrowly and beat the 19-year-old record set by Inda Bank. Quite A Moment ran 2.30.4, lowering the previous record by 2.5 seconds.

At Auckland River Polka beat a tidy field of fillies and mares and she had to be good too. She ran 2.40.5 for the 2200m mobile, which meant she was the new owner of the three-year-old fillies record. She relieved Cheer The Lady of that record, sliding in under her 2.40.7 time by 0.2 of a second.

Horse of the Year Contenders soon to be released: With the upcoming Harness Racing Awards on July 27 the time is near for releasing the names of those chasing titles. This year 23 awards will be up for grabs. The decease in awards this year is attributed to the combining of the four-year-old and Aged categories. This will ensure some fascinating battles for age group and higher honours. Voting papers will be released shortly after the naming of the respective contenders/nominations. The Horse of the Year Awards will be held in Christchurch’s CBS Arena on Saturday July 27.

Smoken Up back in work: Ageless warrior Smoken Up is back in work for his Melton trainer Lance Justice. The winner of 67 races and more than $3 million in stakes will turn 11 years-old on September 1 in Australia. His main target for this preparation is the Miracle Mile.

Dexter Dunn, a chance at another 200: Our top driver has already amassed 174 wins for the season. And there’s a good chance he could once again surpass the 200 mark in wins. Dunn will be driving right the way through until the end of the season so there’s every chance he’ll do it again. In the last full month of driving (May) he won 25 races. Admittedly, May is a busier month but with half of June yet to unfold and opportunities up and down the South Island Dunn looks capable creating another little piece of history. Dunn’s record of 220 in a season, set in 2011, looks safe for another year however.

Good week for Harness Hotshots: The regular HRTV selections video had a good week last week, finding seven winners from its nine selections. No big dividends but multis and all-ups may yielded good returns. The only ones to miss were a fresh-up Besotted and Given who broke at the start in his race before finishing a meritorious fourth.

$100,000 terminating Pick at Thames on Friday: Last week the two respective Pick 6 dividends paid $40k and $32k respectively. To keep the ball rolling on the Pick 6s $100,000 terminating carrot will be offered this Friday night. The Thames club have assembled some even fields for the Pick 6 legs so it will be a stern challenge for punters who are chasing a slice of the $100,000.  

Courtesy of Andrew Morris,
Marketing and Communications Manager,
Harness Racing New Zealand