HRNZ Media notes, July 17, 2013

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Bit Of A Legend to add new spin to trainers’ race

It looks highly likely that Bit Of A Legend will race twice this Friday night at Addington. The star three-year-old will first go around in a three-horse Breeders Crown heat then saddle up again in the feature handicap of the night some two hours later. Should he win both that would mean he’s won 10 races for the season. What could turn out to be three wins for Dalgety would edge him that much closer to Mark Purdon in the trainers’ premiership. Currently Purdon sits on 113 wins, Dalgety 105. Dalgety has the numbers to make things very interesting across the last two weeks of the season.
Purdon cashes in again in Melbourne
Star 2YO trotting filly Daenerys Targaryen took out the rich Redwood Classic at Maryborough last Sunday with a very gritty performance. The win kept up Mark Purdon’s tremendous strike rate with horses competing in Australia and strengthening her claims for end-of-season honours. In other Purdon news, Ross Payne (brother of Grant and Greg) will move home to Christchurch to take over the foremanship of the All Stars Stable operation. It is yet undecided whether star trotter Blitzthemcalder will come with Payne or not. Of course the new season would also see Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen formalise their training partnership. In other partnership news, high-profile trainer Steven Reid will pair up with long-time foreman Simon McMullan in the new season.
More horses winning more money in 2012/2013
Despite some of the negative press regarding the direction harness racing is heading at present, some telling stats will paint a much rosier picture in the 2012/13 season. With two weekends of racing yet to be run we can announce that 45% of all horses that have raced this season have won at least one race.  19% of horses have won two races or more. 21% of the horse population have won $10,000 or more – the highest since records began. This season will also see resurgence in stakes paid. This year’s stakes paid will be an estimated $1.5 million up on last year to around $28.6 million. This is down on the record year of 2008 and 2009 but the upward trend is a definite positive for harness racing going forward.
Finding Nemo this season’s 1500th individual winner
Finding Nemo found his own little bit of history with his maiden win at Oamaru on Sunday. To date this season 3336 harness horses have raced and we’ve now had 1500 individual winners. Just the 5th time in history this has happened.
Dunn on target for another 200 – bro could crack a ton
Dexter Dunn is closing in on another 200 winning drives in a season and this week will could be a deciding factor whether he makes it. As already stated Bit Of A Legend is earmarked to run twice this Friday. He looks poised to pick up two wins on paper. Then there’s fine filly Safedra who’s found a walkover in a Breeders Crown heat at Addington (backing up on Sunday at Ashburton). Dunn also has a wealth of other handy drives across three meetings in the South Island this week. Should he make it, it will be Dunn’s third time winning 200 races in a season.

Dexter’s older brother John is only four away from his own milestone – 100 driving wins for the season. The now Woodend-based Dunn has thrived since taking over the Beach Training arm of the Dunn stable and the winners have flowed. In what has to be a great success for the Dunn family, father Robert has racked up his own record of 87 wins for the season under review. In a fine career spanning nearly four decades Dunn has trained 863 winners.

Horse of the Year Voting
Voting has closed for the Harness of the Year Awards with the winners announced at the Horse of the Year Dinner on Saturday 27 July in Christchurch. There are several fascinating categories, including Horse of the Year, which has come down to a three horse contest involving Adore Me, Christen Me and Terror To Love. The same three will fight it out for Pacer of the Year too. Another award that has voters split is the three-year-old pacing colt or gelding of the year. Border Control and Ohoka Punter or the two protagonists in that one.

Handicapping Changes
To review the recently approved changes to the harness racing handicapping system you can find them at this link
Courtesy of Andrew Morris,
Marketing and Communications Manager,
Harness Racing New Zealand