HRNZ Media Bites, April 10

J Scott Latest News


Christen Me not going to Miracle Mile: Despite a crushing win in the Superstars Championship last Friday at Addington Christen Me is going to stay home and tackle the features at Auckland before the Harness Jewels. That’s great news for Kiwi race fans, not so much for potential race rivals. There is the prospect of a clash with Gold Ace in the Messenger and Taylor Mile though. The two races opened up to four and five years will make for an interesting series of races but it will likely be a four-year-old that dominates the markets for those races.

Carabella is back: The trial was very good on Monday but reports since suggests all isn’t 100% with the star mare. Scans have revealed Carabella’s bad leg is okay but her good leg is sore. The extent of the damage is yet to be fully known. Here’s hoping she holds together. Would be great to have her back on the scene for some late-season battles with Bettor Cover Lover and Co. Read more here

Habibti’s record run: It’s been one of the major talking points since she ran a ridiculous 3.13.5 for the 2600m mobile in the NZ Trotting Derby last Friday. A time that so obliterated the previous record for a filly that it is now the second fastest time for a trotter over the distance in NZ. Habibti ran just 0.2 outside the all-comers record owned by Ima Gold Digger.

Franco Nelson down…but not out:  There was one glaring omission from last week’s Muscara Standardbreds NZ Derby, Franco Nelson. Reports from Spreydon Lodge trainer Steve McRae are that he’s okay but not 100%. “He’s had bone scans and they found some niggly problems that we’ll need to manage through to the end of the season. Longer term he may need a small operation or a decent break from the track. He’s had about 10 days off now but the Jewels are still very much a target. We’ll be looking to race him at the end of this month or the start of May in preparation for the (Harness) Jewels.”

Vulcan trip up in the air: Reports filtering through suggest that Vulcan’s trip to the Elitloppet may not be as ‘on’ as previously thought. Will be interesting to see what unfolds in coming days as this story develops.

Pre Nominations Auckland Autumn Carnival: This Friday see early nominations being taken for the three features on May 3rd at Auckland Trotting Club’s big night. 11am Friday is when that happens. The races involved are the Rowe Cup, Northern Trotting Derby and NZ Messenger – all at Group 1. Fixed Odds Futures books will follow the release of the nominations in due course.

99-year-old to have a drive at Forbury Park Thursday night: Central Otago harness fan and owner, 99-year-old Graham (Toby) Robertson, will have a spin around on a Dual Sulky at Forbury Park tomorrow night in between races.  The harness racing devotee is very spritely despite his ‘experience’ and will enjoy a huge thrill when piloting, possibly his own horse (Expressionist) in a dual sulky race involving Dunedin City Mayor Dave Cull.

Barron watch: Ken is on 999 still. Any day now he’ll get the job done. His team and those he’s driving are racing well – he just needs that one to get the run to get him over the line. Ken is down to drive small books at Forbury Park (Thurs), Addington (Fri) and Winton (Sun).

Dream Team off to promising start: With just under 800 entries in the inaugural online Dream Team we are underway. Great effort by the HRNZ IT Department to get this beast off the ground. As it plays out there will be more little tweaks and enhancements with the competition. The ultimate plan is really develop the competition for a bigger undertaking next season.

Harness Jewels: Attention is now rapidly starting to turn towards the Harness Jewels. We’ll see the famous Jewels yellow colours out and about next week and all the leader boards now take a lot more focus. Attached with the Media Bites are the current Leader Boards.  Fixed Odds for the Harness Jewels will be released following the Rowe Cup Carnival in Early May.  

Quick Bits: Bettor’s Delight sired the first four home in the Muscara Standardbreds NZ Derby last week. Pembrook Benny will do his immediate racing out of the Peter Walsh stable in Sydney. Terror To Love second favourite in pre-post Miracle Mile betting. Excel Stride is top pick following his big Newcastle Mile win. Kabet took four seconds off the track record for a three-year-old filly with her stunning win at Ascot Park last Sunday. Exciting Aussie/Kiwi-bred 2yo Allblack Stride will be in NZ on April 20 and will be based at Cran Dalgety’s in West Melton.

Courtesy of Andrew Morris, Communications & Marketng Manager, HRNZ