J Scott The Inside Word

NZ METRO TC, Thursday, September 20

Race 3: IMMORTAL CHANCE (8, Samantha Ottley), mob. 1980m: “Racing good but up in grade and needs luck.”

OAMARU HRC, Sunday, September 23

Race 3: ITZ MAJOR LOOK (1, Samantha Ottley), 2600m std: “Is better than his first-up run and expect an improved performance.”

Race 7: MANINTHEMIRROR (8, Laura McKay), mob. 2600m: “Gets in suitable race and an outside upset chance.”

NZ METRO TC, Friday, September 14

J Scott The Inside Word

NZ METRO TC, Friday, September 14

Outside drive

Race 4: WAR MACHINE (3, Mark), mob. 2600m: “Tony Barron told me I hope I haven’t ruined your Friday night but I’ve put you down to drive War Machine! I drove the horse to run fifth in the 4 & 5YO Trotting Championship at Addington in March. He’s in a hard race but hopefully he’ll go good.”

Race 6: ROBYN’S GEM (6, Sheree Tomlinson), mob. 2600m: “A good race for her providing she does things right but take on trust.”

Race 8: IMMORTAL CHANGE (10, Samantha Ottley), mob. 1980m: “It was good to get a win with her last week, so she’ll keep going for a Met Multiplier bonus (five starts to go). She’s up slightly in grade this week so looking for luck from the draw.”

Immortal Change proving bargain buy

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Immortal Change, rewarded with a sit-sprint finish to win at Addington on Friday, September 7, has the aim of winning a $7000 Met Multiplier bonus for the Mark Jones stable.

She’s had 10 starts at Addington since February, but this was her first win at Canterbury headquarters, after winning her maiden at Westport in March.

Immortal Change and Sam Ottley, wearing the Cancer Society Daffodil colours, run clear to win the Dyers Road ITM Mobile Pace at Addington on September 7. (Race Images photo).

The Multiplier is paid to any horse who has a minimum of 15 starts at Addington during a rolling 12-month period and has a win, or dead-heat, during the year.

“I think Grant Smith (owner) paid only $1000 for her so he’s having a bit of fun,” said trainer Mark Jones.

Immortal Change, a four-year-old daughter of 2008 New Zealand Cup winner Changeover (1:53.4, 29 wins & $2.4 million), has now won $23,365.

She’s picked up two wins and seven minor placings from 25 starts for Mr Smith, who earlier co-raced six-win mare Seven Point One.

Mr Smith, and wife Marilyn, operate Smithfield Raspberries at Ashburton.

Immortal Change has a bit going for her on pedigree on her maternal side, being a a great grand-daughter of champion mare Armalight (1:55.4 mile rate, 2000m, 18 wins & $277,520), the 1981 New Zealand Cup winner & 1982 NZ Harness Horse of the Year.

She’s the fourth foal, the second to race and first winner for her qualified but unraced Falcon Seelster dam Arma Phoenix.

Grand-dam Ultimate Arma (Holmes Hanover-Armalight) won one for the late Weedons trainer Jack Smolenski but has made her mark at stud, leaving 10 qualifiers and seven individual race-winners, including Dead Calm (1:58.3, nine NZ wins, two Aust. for $106,023), Arma May Zing (1:59, seven wins from 14 starts) and Cindi Arma (1:56.5, four wins from 19 starts), the latter two being a brother and sister to Arma Phoenix.

Arma The One (Badlands Hanover-Ultimate Arma), who won twice, is the dam of five Australian winners including Arma The Gun (1:51.9, eight wins from only 14 starts for $73,358), who ran third to Salty Robyn in the 2017 Gr. 2 Hondo Grattan 4YO pace at Menangle.

She’s also the dam of Arma Hotshot (1:55.6, five wins & $46,305), Arma Naughty (1:55.5, two wins) and Armalife (1:58.6, seven wins & $42,965).

Immortal Change stands for driver Sam Ottley, with owner Grant Smith, and wife Marilyn, looking on at Addington. (Race Images photo).

Armalight, who also won the 1983 Auckland Cup, was from another top filly in Ar Miss, who won eight including a NZ Oaks and NZ Sapling Stakes, and later became a NZ Broodmare of the Year.

This is also the family in recent decades of Excel Stride Stride (1:50.3, 28 wins and $769,494); former top WA filly Arma Xpress (1:56.5, 12 wins from 18 starts and $279,890), (Our) London Pride (1:51.6, US, 28 wins and $600,000), London Express (1:50.6, US, 32 wins and $350,00), Ohoka Punter (1:52.4, 25 wins incl. 2013 Northern Derby, $1 million earner), top Queensland pacer Majestic Mach (1:53.9, 35 wins & $976,397), former NZ 4YO Superstars Championship winner Bruzem (18 wins, 1:52.6, US & $178,925), and Spankem (p2, 1:54, five 2 and 3YO wins from 14 starts, $241,194).

Immortal Change, who came from last of the eight runners to win the Dyers Road ITM Mobile Pace for her latest win, picked the leaders up easily in the run home for Sam Ottley, who was sporting the Cancer Society Daffodil race colours.

She ran the mobile 2600m in 3:16.4, a solid 2:01.5 mile rate, providing Mark with his fifth training win of the new season, and Sam with her seventh driving win of the season.

NZ Cup/Dominion rankings

J Scott Latest News


First rankings for the two big features in New Zealand Cup were released by Harness Racing New Zealand this week.

The $800,000 Christchurch Casino NZ Cup is to be run at Addington on November 13.

A maximum of 15 horses can start in the Group One feature over 3200m.


Thefixer 1, Chicago Bull 2, Ultimate Machete 3, Tiger Tara 4, Dream About Me 5, Jack’s Legend 6, A G’s White Socks 7, Eamon Maguire 8, Cruz Bromac 9, Star Galleria 10, Captain Dolmio 11, Alta Orlando 12, Classie Brigade 13, No Doctor Needed 14, Sheriff 15, Locharburn 16, Billy Badger 17, Raukapuka Ruler 18, Tiger Thompson 19, Let’s Elope 20, Northview Hustler 21, Forgotten Highway 22, James Dean 23, Bettormatch 24, Don Domingo 25, Letspenddanitetogetha 26, Zadaka 27, Baileys Knight 28, Queen Bee Bardon 29.

The initial rankings horses shall be ranked in the following descending order if nominated:

With last year’s NZ Cup and Inter-Dominion winner Lazarus in North America, and Auckland Cup winner Vincent retired,
the next in line are:

Overall lifetime performance along with competitiveness and performances in last season’s Group Races.

Following the initial ranking process the following horses will be granted automatic entry if nominated:

– First 2018 Maurice Holmes Vase – Thefixer.

– First 2018 New Brighton Cup.

– First, Second and Third 2018 Canterbury Classic.

Then competitiveness and performances in the season’s Group Races leading up to the 2018 Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup.

Then competitiveness and performances in non-black type races this season.

Amaretto Sun, shown upsetting in last year’s Dominion for now Overport Lodge-based driver, Sheree Tomlinson. He gets top ranking this year for being the defending champion. (Photo: Race Images, Christchurch).

Initial rankings for the Group One $300,000 Haras des Trotteurs Dominion Handicap, for the top squaregaiters, at Addington on November 16, are:


Amaretto Sun 1, Speeding Spur 2, Monbet 3, Temporale 4, Great Things Happen 5, Lemond 6, Kyvalley Blur 7, Tornado Valley 8, Monty Python 9, Bordeaux 10, Marcoola 11, Habibi Inta 12, Destiny Jones 13, Everybody Knows 14, Wilma’s Mate 15, Sunny Ruby 16, Harriet Of Mot 17, Alderbeck 18, Benchmark 19, My Tribeca 20, Doctor Bones 21, Hey Yo 22, The Almighty Johnson 23, Winterfell 24, Ronald J 25, Woodstone 26, Harrysul 27, Une Belle Allure 28, Monkey’s Way 29, Jen Jaccka 30, Le Lievre’s Gift 31, War Machine 32, Massive Metro 33, Quevert 34, Gentleman Sir 35, Belles Son 36, Leanne’s Boy 37, BD Khaosan 38, Lovely Bundy 39, Sundons Flyer 40, Sundons Wish 41, McLovin 42, Missandei 43, BD Love 44, Playboy’s Brother 45, Lavros Jack 46, Muscles Galore 47, Heavyweight Hero 48, Mr Good And Evil 49, Pres The Belle 50, Galleons Victory 51, Ruthless Kayla 52.

For the initial rankings horses shall be ranked in the following descending order if nominated:

– First 2017 Dominion Trot – Amaretto Sun.

– First 2017 Rowe Cup – Speeding Spur.

– Overall lifetime performance along with competitiveness and performances in last season’s Group Races.

Following the initial ranking process the following horses will be granted automatic entry if nominated:

– First 2018 Ordeal Cup.

– First 2018 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup.

– First, Second and Third 2018 NZ Trotting Free-For-All.

– Then competitiveness and performances in the season’s Group Races leading up to the 2018 Haras des Trotteurs Dominion Trot.

Then competitiveness and performances in non-black type races this season.


J Scott The Inside Word

NZ METRO TC, Friday, September 7

Race 3: IMMORTAL CHANGE (8, Samantha Ottley), mob. 2600m: “Racing good but is drawn bad and an each-way chance.”

Race 8: MANINTHEMIRROR (5, Laura McKay) & ROBYN’S GEM (7, Sheree Tomlinson), UR, mob. 2600m: “Maninthemirror is racing ok but is up in grade so finding it hard.”

“Robyn’s Gem has got to do things right but can upset.”

RANGIORA HRC, Sunday, September 9

Race 7: ITZ MAJOR LOOK (3, Samantha Ottley), 2000m std: “First-starter with a lot to learn but has ability.”


J Scott The Inside Word

NZ METRO TC, Friday, August 31

Race 1: IMMORTAL CHANGE (4, Samantha Ottley), mob. 1980m: “No Luck last week but gets in suitable race to be an each-way chance.”

Race 2: MOLLY DOOKER (13, Samantha Ottley), 2600m std: “Had no luck first-up and is drawn bad, so looking for luck.”

Race 3: MANINTHEMIRROR (8, Laura McKay) & ROBYN’S GEM (9, Sheree Tomlinson), UR, mob. 1980m: “Maninthemirror is drawn bad so looking for luck.”

“Robyn’s Gem will find it tough from the unruly and is up in grade but won’t disgrace herself if they run along and she does things right.”

FORBURY PARK TC, Sunday, September 2

Race 4: ITZ MAJOR LOOK (13, Samantha Ottley), mob. 2200m: “Will be scratched.”

Regan Todd wins Crown

J Scott Latest News


August 26, 2018


Acclaimed young North Canterbury trainer Regan Todd recorded his first Group 1 success when Show Gait was victorious at the Australasian Breeders Crown in Melbourne on Saturday night.

Todd combined with master horseman Mark Purdon for the win, the latter doing the driving.

“Words can’t really explain it,” said Todd soon after the win.

“I’m pretty bloody rapt.

Show Gait, widest, puts in the winning run in the Australasian Breeders Crown 3YO Fillies Trot Final for driver Mark Purdon. (Photo: Ashlea Brennan).

“I’m never a ‘confidence’ person heading in to races but she seemed spot-on after the way she had trialed at Shepparton last week and worked since.

“It’s been awesome over here the past month. I had some good experiences with Mark Jones’ horses but to do it with one of your own is bloody cool.”

Purdon went forward off the mobile had her parked for most of the first lap before getting one-one cover behind The Great Redeemer for the last circuit.

It was a thrilling four-horse race to the finish line but Show Gait finished best to outdo Moonshine Linda and The Great Redeemer.

“The way it panned out, I thought that was going to make it tough enough for her, but she dug deepest,” said Todd.

For Todd, the win was extra satisfying because he had been entrusted with the horse by Purdon and his training partner Natalie Rasmussen, whose mother Cheryl owns the filly.

“They said she was a bloody nice filly that needed time and because Cheryl owned her they would give her every opportunity out on the beach with me.

“I was very lucky she came up the driveway, to be honest.”

The relationship has blossomed from there, the All Stars heads sending Todd a number of horses since then, as well.

“It’s just sort-of snowballed from there, really.

“Hicori is quite a nice horse, and Alta Ronaldo is there too.

Breeders Crown-winning trainer Regan Todd, with driver Mark Purdon. (Photo: Ashlea Brennan).

“And that’s probably the best thing about all this is getting the win for them, with Mark driving it.

“It was nice to pay them back for the faith they’ve shown in me.”

Ironically, it was only when Purdon and Rasmussen’s other trotting filly, Luby Lou, was injured before the Harness Jewels that Todd started to make Breeders Crown plans.

“If Luby Lou came over we wouldn’t have even bothered.

“That being said, and I’m not making excuses, my filly wasn’t quite right going in to the New Zealand (Trotting) Oaks and (Trotting) Derby and I was trying to nurse her through after her Southland (Trotting) Oaks.

“So, once I knew Luby Lou definitely wasn’t coming I started making plans.”

The plan gained momentum when she won her Addington Breeders Crown heat, giving her a direct route in to Saturday night’s A$70,000 Final.

And the final piece of the puzzle came thanks to Purdon last week.

“I said to him what’s the best thing to do after she had won at Menangle.

“I was going to nominate to race at Melton last week but he sort of said its going to be tougher leading in to a Group 1 by giving her a race a week out.

“So, we trialed her against the pacers and she went unreal.

“She just got better and better over here; she’s really thrived.”

It will be back to New Zealand for both horse and trainer now and Todd expects the daughter of Majestic Son will have a quiet four-year-old season.

“She’ll have a couple of months off and then I might bring her up to Auckland.

“I’ll have to see how highly ranked she is in the ratings, but I don’t want to be racing her off big handicaps.

Show Gait, then named Lydia Lindenny, was a $16,000 Christchurch yearlings sales purchase by Purdon in 2016.

  • NZ Harness News

Robyn’s Gem earmarked for broodmare role

J Scott Latest News


Robyn’s Gem, who showed her true ability to deliver at her sixth start at Oamaru on Sunday, August 19, will try and find more wins before becoming a full time mum.

Now six, the daughter of 2008 New Zealand Cup winner Changeover has proven a bit of a handful scoring up with the field at times, but was on her best behaviour at Oamaru.

Driver Sheree Tomlinson bided her time back on the inner as the leaders kept the pace strong in the Twizel Combined Services Fillies And Mares Mobile Pace.

Angled out wide in open space at the 400m, Robyn’s Gem unwound strongly, winning by a length and a quarter over Mockingjay.

“She will go in foal and we’ll just see how she handles the rise in grade as to how long she races for,” said trainer Mark Jones, after racking up his fourth training win of the new term.

The mare was bred and is raced by Don Feast, of Charing Cross, who formerly bred the 2012 Hunter Cup winner, Choise Achiever, who he trained for a debut win before earning over $600,000 for the Tim Butt stable.

Robyn’s Gem has a bit going for her as a future broodmare, being a half-sister to minor winner Robyn’s Christian (2:00.9) and Robyn’s C C (1:56.5, Aust., 13 wins & $122,578).

She now has a 1:58.5 winning mile rate over 2000m and is from Robyn’s Finale, a Holmes Hanover half-sister to the 1994 New Zealand Oaks and Nevele R Fillies Final winner, Robyn’s Treasure (1:57.7, seven wins & $152,245), dam of five individual winners including Robyn’s Cullen (nine wins).

This is also the family of the big-winning Power Of Tara (1:50.6, US, 31 Australasian & USA wins, $846,608), Matthew Lee (16 Australasian wins & $218,850), Tiger Tara (1:49.8, 28 Australasian wins & $1.387 million), A G’s White Socks (1:53.9, seven wins & $203,713), and 1982 Ashburton Flying Stakes winner, Vita Man (nine wins); and the capable Mikey Maguire (1:56) and Tara Tutaia (1:58.3).

NZ METRO TC, Thursday, August 23

J Scott The Inside Word

NZ METRO TC, Thursday, August 23

Race 1: IMMORTAL CHANGE (4, Neil Munro) & JOEY MAGUIRE (9, Paul Wallace), mob. 1980m: “Good race for both horses but on current form and better draw I would lean towards Immortal Change.”

Race 4: MANINTHEMIRROR (8, Laura McKay), mob. 1980m: “The draw makes it hard and step up in grade, so will need luck.”

Race 9: SI SI SENOR (2, Samantha Ottley), UR, 2600m std: “Si Si Senor was disappointing last week so looking for improvement.”

Izzy Dagg sold to Tim Butt stable

J Scott Latest News


Impressive last-to-first Addington, August 3, maiden winner Izzy Dagg has been sold out of the Mark Jones team to join the Tim Butt stable at Menangle.

“It’s sad to see him go as he was going to turn into a lovely horse,” Mark said.

Izzy Dagg, shown holding on for a super maiden win at Addington on Friday, August 3. (Photo: Race Images).

The three-year-old A Rocknroll Dance colt had shaped well in five NZ starts for a large group of owners, namely Auric Limited (Pete Summerfield manager), Paul Summerfield, Mark Calcott, Dave Hunt, Gary McCormick, the horse’s namesake Israel Dagg, and wife Daisy, Randell Townsend, Matthew Lowe and Tony Stewart.

The horse was the first racing winner for All Black and Crusaders rugby star, Israel Dagg, with the race victory coming on the eve of the Crusaders winning the Super Rugby Final at neighbouring AMI Stadium a night later.

Izzy Dagg is from the four-win Christian Cullen mare Cantina, who time-trialled in 1:54.1, before embarking on a broodmare career for owner, Rodney Dickson.

He’s the fourth winner from five to race from the mare, who earlier left Bon Accord Babe (one win from five starts), (Our) Black Diamonds (1:55.5, Aust, five West Australian wins from 11 starts) and Sheeza Sport, who won three times for the Mark Jones stable last season.

Auric Limited purchased Izzy Dagg’s year younger half-sister by Art Major, re-named She’s A Dagg, at this year’s NZ Premier Yearling Sale.

Cantina has a bit going for her as a broodmare, being a grand-daughter of the unraced Reasonable, by Noodlum from 1973 Auckland Cup placegetter and subsequent 1990 NZ Broodmare of the Year, Black Watch (14 wins).

Reasonable, exported to Australia in 1998, is a half-sister to the “black type” winners, Bardon Bridge, Black Mark, Remarkable, Corbie, Esprit Noir, Tay Bridge, and the unraced Aberfeldy, later the 2001 NZ Broodmare of the Year after leaving top filly Megeara, while Aberfeldy subsequently became the grand-dam of 2015 New Zealand Cup winner Arden Rooney.

Another half-sister to Reasonable in Significant became the unraced dam of top pacer The Unicorn (1:57.8, 29 wins & $488,524) and the 1993 New Zealand Oaks winner, Pacific Flight (1:51.2, US), the latter herself becoming the grand-dam of Malak Uswaad (1:49.4, US).

Meanwhile, $300,000-plus winning racemare Rocker Band (1:52.1) will also now race out the twilight of her career at Menangle for the Tim Butt stable as a matter of convenience, before her pending appointment with champion sire Bettor’s Delight in the spring.

“Ashlee (Grives, Menangle stable forewoman for the Mark Jones Menangle team) has just gone back to Bathurst to have a baby and has taken some horses with her, so most of mine are spelling,” Mark said.