Father-son milestones across the Tasman

By Adam Hamilton There are not many bigger names in Australian harness racing history than the Turnbulls. The late great Tony “AD” Turnbull, of Hondo Grattan (aka the Bathurst Bulldog) fame, started it all from his family base near Bathurst and a seemingly endless stream of Turnbulls have followed since. At last count, there were 13 of Tony’s kids or grandchildren competing in harness racing right now. “AD” passed away at the age of 91 in May last year, but he would have been looking down with pride as one…

Wilmott in his Happy Place after series win

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk Blair Wilmott was on cloud nine at Addington Raceway on Sunday after he guided Happy Place to victory in the fifth heat of the New Zealand Amateur Drivers Championship, clinching the series in the process. Earlier in the day Wilmott won Heat 4 of the series with The Hornett, which added to his opening win of the competition at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday with Ticking Over. Wilmott was rapt to bookend the competition and gave a salute as he secured the series behind Happy…

Amore Vita dominant in Redcliffe Oaks

by Adam Hamilton Yet another easy feature race win for former Kiwi filly Amore Vita headlined a stellar Redcliffe Cup meeting last night. The Nathan Purdon-trained filly had a new driver with NSW young gun Cam Hart “subbing-in” for Chris Alford and it was a cosy gig with Amore Vita using barrier one to lead, dictate terms and win as she liked in the Group 3 Redcliffe Oaks. It took Amore Vita’s record to 16 starts for 11 wins, four placings and over $240,000 in earnings. Her main target up…

Close out to continue hot form

By Jonny Turner Robbie Close’s brilliant form in the sulky looks set to continue at Addington on Sunday. The reinsman put on a driving masterclass at Canterbury’s headquarters on Friday night with four outstanding winning drives. Victories with Skittle Bomb, Evangalist, Victor Bravo and Hail Lucius completed the first bag of four winning drives of Close’s career and it came during a season in which he is scoring at a career-best strike rate. “It was a great night, everything doesn’t always fall into place as well as that but everything…

Phelan wins heat in first Addington drive

By Jonny Turner Frank Phelan has a two point lead after two races in the New Zealand Amateur Drivers Championship. Phelan took the lead in the five-race series when Tommysonaroll bolted in when Phelan was having his first drive at Addington on Friday night. The North Island reinsman had heat two of the championship parcelled up before the home turn as his charge skipped clear of the field. Though he clearly had the situation in control, Phelan admitted he did wonder if he had gone too soon. “I thought I…

Trotters head Williamson’s book

By Jonny Turner Appropriately, trotters head Matthew Williamson’s book of drives at Addington on Friday night. The Oamaru reinsman heads north to combine with two key chances in square-gaiting races in Springbank Mason and Cody Banner. Pacing-bred and known as the riskiest of types, Cody Banner got the job done at Addington last week when holding his gait to score from behind the mobile. Williamson thinks Cody Banner can handle his move back to standing start racing in race 7 on Friday night. “He went pretty good last week and…

Wilmott scores first blood in amateur series

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk Canterbury reinsman Blair Wilmott made the perfect start in the NZ Amateur Drivers Championship when taking out Heat 1 with Ticking Over at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night. Wilmott took his charge straight to the lead off the gate where he was able to dictate terms throughout and score a comfortable 1-1/4 length victory. “We have got a pretty big weekend ahead of us with the five heats and to get a leg up tonight was pretty nice,” Wilmott said. “He is a pretty…

Murray putting in the miles

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk With no harness racing in the Central Districts for the next few months, Levin trainer Murray Gibbs has been forced to make the long trek north to Cambridge to race his mare Manhattan Sunshine. Gibbs made the six-hour journey on Wednesday, giving his mare time to settle in before contesting the Gregory Equine Matamata Mobile Pace (1700m) at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday. “That (travel) is our biggest problem down here, it is very frustrating,” Gibbs said. “She is not the best of travellers, but…

News Briefs – June 22

Ask the CEO HRNZ CEO Gary Woodham will be live on Trots Talk SENZ between 12-1pm this Sunday with regular host Greg O’Connor. If you have a question you would like to ask, send it through to gregoracing1@gmail.com and we can include it amongst the conversation. If you can’t listen live, a link will be on the HRNZ website from Sunday afternoon with a full replay of the show. Arty rules for second year running Despite having only limited appearances in 2021 Lochinvar Art has been named Victorian Horse of…