HRNZ Media Bites, May 8

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HRNZ MEDIA BITES, MAY 8, 2013Hrnz logo

A big day of racing at Addington has been assembled this Saturday and the scramble for Harness Jewels spots is well and truly on. The meeting on Saturday also heralds the start of a North Island invasion looking towards the Trust Ashburton harness Jewels over Queens Birthday Weekend.

Three way battle for Trotter of the Year? Stig’s win in the Rowe Cup has now created a potential dilemma for Harness Horse of the Year Voters. He, Vulcan and I Can Doosit are all multiple Group 1 winners this season. How the voters weigh up their respective merits will be interesting come Horse of the Year time. This season there has also been a change in the awards categories with there being no 4YO only category. What was the Aged (5YO+) category will now be for horses 4YO and older. This seems sensible given the happenings of the past season, the performances of four-year-old in both the pacing and trotting ranks this term. For the record: Vulcan has won 5 races and $491k; I Can Doosit, 6 races,  $244k; Stig, 5 races and $283k.

Christen Me staying put: Good news for NZ harness fans. Christen Me is taking a break after the Harness Jewels and being set for a long, deliberate build-up to November’s NZ Trotting Cup. The lure of a Group 1 Australasian Breeders Crown race wasn’t enough for connections who can smell a royal chance to win a NZ Cup with their top ranked four-year-old.

Habibti in Aussie: With great opportunities for her as a trotting filly in Australia Habibti looks poised to bypass the Harness Jewels in June. The NSW Trotting Oaks, Derby and Victorian Oaks are all on the top filly’s agenda. An agenda that is most likely going to result in her missing the Jewels. More info can be found here…

Good horses needing cash to secure Jewels spots: There are many examples of good horses that need to earn cash to force their way into the Harness Jewels in a few weeks time. Perhaps the best example is Flying Isa who races in the last at Alexandra Park on Friday night. Though he’s placed second in a Group 1 race this season he languishes 15th on the 4YO Trotters Leader Board. Let’s Elope is another who needs money. He’s currently 9th but there’s some southern four-year-olds capable of leapfrogging him this week. Let’s Elope was in the Kumeu Stakes (G3) but the race was abandoned. He’s now in a $10,000, which means the pressure’s on to perform. He is still in good shape though and likely to head south next week for one last shot to confirm his spot next week. Other renowned horses out of the top 12 right now are Libertybelle Midfrew, Jivin Cullen, Classiesistar and Cheer The Lady (45th).

This Saturday’s stars in the sun: The two big races are going to be cracking affairs this Saturday afternoon at Addington – for differing reasons. The Nevele R Fillies Final (R8, 3.26pm) star Adore Me. She is poised to continue the golden run for Woodlands Stud principal Charlie Roberts who also of course shares in the ownership of Christen Me. Later in the day Allblack Stride gets his first taste of really serious Kiwi competition. From an outside barrier he’ll have his work cut out this week against. While he’s been impressive to date this will be his biggesttest by far. This years edition of the PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales Open (R10, 4.36pm) is one of the deepest ever. Local fans will also get a chance to see wonder trotter Stig in action too. He’s pressing on with his campaign, perhaps in an effort to secure top honours in the trotting ranks this season.

Encore performance from Blitzthemcalder: This Thursday night Waikato race fans will get to see the gun Aussie three-year-old trotter Blitzthemcalder. He takes on a smart field in the Cambridge Trotting Stakes. Blitzthemcalder renews acquaintances with Royal Aspirations who undid himself last week in the Northern Trotting Derby and the latter has been advantaged by the Preferential Barrier Draw. That interesting clash happens at 7.35pm.

Board elections coming up at HRNZ: Thee positions are up for grabs on the HRNZ Board. Aucklander Steve Phillips has completed his two year term and is up for re-election along with South Island Board members Pat O’Brien and Erin Crawford. There has been some talk of fresh faces putting their ‘hats in the ring’ for board positions so the next few weeks, taking the nominations and the ensuing elections will be interesting.

Harness Jewels Fixed Odds: The futures odds for the 2013 Trust Ashburton Harness Jewels are scheduled to be released on Wednesday night.


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