Masterful Nairn drives sees Confessional home

By Jonny Turner The least talked about of Paul Nairn’s incredible talents as a horseman shone through when Confessional ran to a commanding win in the Group One Ace Of Clubs at Addington on Grand Prix Day. All of Nairn’s skill with a young trotter was on display when the youngster powered away from his rivals in a national-record breaking victory. Nairn’s drive was as good as his horse’s brilliant performance. Over the years, the trainer has handed the reins of his star horses to a line up of top…

Grand Prix day – Race by race

The first ever Grand Prix at Addington is  over, and there have been New Zealand records, five wins for the All Stars barn and doubles for drivers Ben Hope and Tim Williams. Here is the day race by race.  Race 1 : Harness Racing Unhinged Pace : It was all hot favourite Celtic Spirit to kick off Grand Prix Day. Trained by Greg and Nina Hope, and driven by son Ben, Celtic Spirit speared to the lead from the mobile, controlled the tempo and then waltzed away to win easily,…

Aussie News : December 4

By Adam Hamilton Top young driver Cam Hart thinks former Kiwi pacer Fire Fox could be a Miracle Mile contender. It was only a support race on Inter Dominion heats night at Geelong, but Fire Fox blazed home in 54.6sec to win the second-last race and showed he was back on song. It was a boost for trainer Jason Grimson, who earlier had his stable star Majestic Cruiser miss qualifying for the Inter Dominion final. Grimson, who won last year’s pacing final with Boncel Benjamin, will still have a runner…

Injury concerns for Bolt For Brilliance

By Adam Hamilton  The one-time Inter Dominion pacing favourite didn’t make the final and the long-time trotting favourite is under an injury cloud. That’s the fallout from a dramatic last round of qualifying heats at Geelong last night. NZ Cup runner-up Majestic Cruiser didn’t make a pacing final field dominated by female trainers, most notably Emma Stewart. And superstar Kiwi trotter Bolt For Brilliance pulled-up lame after running second to Just Believe last night. The uncertainty over Bolt For Brilliance has seen all betting markets on the trotting final suspended.…

The Grand Prix – It’s on!

by Michael Guerin With today being one of the biggest race days of the year Michael Guerin provides his best five bets, and why. 1: Muscle Mountain (R8, No.1): Only one of trotting’s big three turns up for this Group 1 and he should lead and win. The last time Muscle Mountain was in a sprint field of similar quality (no Sundees Son or Bolt For Brilliance) he cruised away with the Flying Trot at Ashburton in October.Go back further in the year and he led and won a Mile…

Only one dead heat in NZ Derby in more than a century

In most people’s eyes nothing much separates Akuta and Republican Party in the biggest race of them all on Grand Prix day at Addington on Sunday. But in the 108 years the New Zealand Pacing Derby has been contested there has only ever been one dead heat. That happened in 1954 when the pace-setting Single Medoro, trained and driven by Raymond Kennerley, was reeled in by “The Maestro” Maurice Holmes and Royal Minstrel. Over the last 100 metres Holmes extricated his horse from what at the time was described as…

Trotting maestro Paul Nairn on Grand Prix day – “winning is not going to be easy”

by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk With big money and Group One glory at stake, Paul Nairn is understandably excited about harness racing’s new Grand Prix at Addington on Sunday. The 10-race programme has a big emphasis on the trotting gait and Nairn, who’s known as a master conditioner of the square-gaiters, will line up six horses in four Group 1s, each worth $100,000. “I’m pretty happy generally” he says of his team, “you target a meeting like this for five or six months, ever since the dates came…

Win sets up Thornley’s big week

By Jonny Turner Sam Thornley hopes his win with I Dream Of Jeannie at Wingatui on Friday is the start of big things to come. Thornley gave the Sam Smolenski trained trotter a sweet trip in midfield before she unleashed a brilliant finish, making light work of the rising Wingatui home straight. And when the mare held out runner-up Tweedledee, she proved all of Thornley’s pre-race calculations were spot on. “I thought the race would come down to the two of them and I thought she might just have too…

Tables turn towards Corravally Star

By Jonny Turner Corravally Star will be out to turn the tables on Homebush Lad when they go head-to-head again in the Akaroa Cup at Motukarara on Saturday. The pair finished one-two in the Geraldine Cup with Homebush Lad outsprinting his rival to score. The two pacers start on level marks behind the 20m tapes on Saturday, after Homebush Lad got a head-start on Corravally Star at Orari. Corravally Star somewhat negated that advantage by making an electric beginning in his second placing, which trainer Regan Todd would love to…

Hey Bartender serves up another win

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk Hey Bartender is proving to be an exciting prospect in the northern pacing ranks and further cemented his claim with victory in the Superior Cabins Franklin Country Cup Handicap Pace (2700m) at Alexandra Park on Friday night. It was the Sweet Lou gelding’s fifth win from nine starts and trainer-driver James Stormont believes the best is still ahead for the exciting pacer. “He has been so immature, so I have taken my time with him,” Stormont said. “The owners have been great. If we…