A GREAT DAY AT THE HARNESS JEWELS
Race 1 : The hot favourite on Harness Jewels Day, BETTOR COVER LOVER was been beaten in the Group One $150,000 Yarndley Diamond for 4 year old pacing mares. PEMBROOK'S DELIGHT driven by Mathew Williamson who was having his first pacing Jewels and trained by Geof and Jude Knight took out the race at 35-1. They claimed the lead briefly before handing up to BETTOR COVER LOVER at the top of the straight with just over a lap to go. When the fireworks started in the home straight the final time, Williamson shot PEMBROOK'S DELIGHT along the passing lane to down the favourite and Brent Mangos by half a head. DONEGAL DELIGHT with Dexter Dunn was a length back in third completing a BETTOR'S DELIGHT trifecta. Winner's time for the mobile mile: 1:55.45. Last 800: 55.6. Last 400m:27.2.
Mathew Williamson, "This is a big thrill, because I honestly did not think we could win the race. She showed great speed after working hard mid race. I'm rapt, this is my second Jewels win after having won with Dad's trotter LEIGHTON HEST."
Race 2 : ROYAL ASPIRATIONS broke the New Zealand record in the Group One $100,000 Mitre 10 Cambridge Ruby for 2yo trotters.
The colt by MONARCHY ran it in 1:56.5 beating FLYING ISA'S national record of 1:59.3 set last year.
" This is a huge thrill. He won easy today. He was relaxed all the way and all I had to do was just let him roll along. He's a real nice trotter once he's up and going. I thought if he trotted smoothly all the way he would be very difficult to beat," said driver Sam Smolenski. They dictated the pace from the 1200 meter mark winning by 4 1/2 lengths from SHEERMON with Dexter Dunn and a further 2 1/2 lengths back to PARAMONT QUEEN and Blair Orange. It was Smolenski's second Jewels win after he won with JINJA GAL in 2009. It was also the second victory for trainer Fred Fletcher. ROYAL ASPIRATION is owned by Fletcher, G. R. Bree and G. R. Adamson. He was bred by Fletcher at Roydon Lodge Stud. It was his 5th win in 9 starts and he has now banked $104,322.
Race 3 : DELIGHTFUL CHRISTIAN was too smart in the 2yo pace. Former World Driving champion Maurice McKendry notched up his third Harness Jewels title when they won the $150,000 Group One Diamond for pacing fillies. The CHRISTIAN CULLEN filly has now won 3 of her 7 starts for her trainer John Green and Brian Hughes. McKendry was always confident of winning from the moment they hit the lead at the 1200m. " I didn't think we were in any trouble at any stage of the race. She was always travelling like the winner. I was ready for the photo a long way from home." She ran the mile in 1:57.32 with final 800m and 400m sprints of 57.2 and 28.1 seconds. ONLYFORYOU, Dexter Dunn was 1 1/2 away in second and ROZELSKI, Colin de Filippi a further 1 length back in third.
McKendry's previous Jewels titles came with SOVEREIGHTY and SIR LINCOLN.
DELIGHTFUL CHRISTIAN is owned by the Rattray Family Trust, W E McLaughlin, Mrs W McLaughlin. She was bred by Hughes, his wife P.G. Hughes and Green.
Race 4 : Driver and trainer Todd MacFarlane claimed his first Harness Jewels title with CYCLON U BOLT in the Group One $100,000 Mitre10 Mega Cambridge Ruby for 3YO trotters. Paying tribute to his co trainer Craig Sharpe, MacFarlane said, " Craig has done all the hard yards with this fella and much of the credit goes to him.The horse travelled really well today." The victory capped of a good week for new owner Merv Butterworth, who purchased the son of DREAM VACATION from bloodstock agent Justin Le Lievre.
MacFarlane, " He was always travelling well. When we crossed them early I let him bowl along before asking him for his effort in the straight. It was a nice win. " He trotted the mobile mile in 1:59.19 with final 800 in 58.1 and 400 in 28.8 STENT, Colin De Filippi was 3/4 length back in second with TRIUMPHANT MONARCH a further 1 length away in third. CYCLONE U BOLT has now raced 10 times for 4 wins He has banked $74,959. He was bred by A. S. Lowe, and Mrs A. E. Macfarlane
Race 5 : O BABY took out the Group One $150,000 3YO Diamond. Co owner Caroline Whitlock, " It's right up there with having a son named in the All Black team". She should know, three of her four sons, Sam, George, and Luke are present or past All Blacks and her husband Braeden, who was a junior All Black. " This is fantastic. She's a wonderful little filly. I'm so pleased for Mark, Grant and Natalie."
Mark Purdon and Grant Payne train the daughter of CHRISTIAN CULLEN. For driver Natalie Rasmussen the victory created a slice of Harness Jewels history. " This is my first Jewels and I love it. To drive a winner is an honour. The Jewels are a great concept. The filly was always travelling well and when we hit the passing lane she paced really powerfully. It's a win I will remember for a long time. I'm so pleased for Braeden and Caroline." Cruising in the trail, O BABY came away to win by 2 1/4 lengths from ELUSIVE CHICK, Anthony Butt, it was 1 length back to CHEER THE LADY, Zac Butcher in third.
Winning time:1:54.86. Last 800: 57.1. 400 in 28. It was O BABY'S 8th win from 20 starts. She has now won $326,313 for breeders the Whitelocks.
Race 6 : Trainer Colin Butler experienced his biggest moment in the sport when CHARLEMMAGNE won the Group One 4YO Ruby. The veteran horseman not only won the $100,000 event but he also created Jewels history when his son of EARL paid $90-1 the highest dividend in six years of Jewels racing. " Yes this is my most memorable moment. It's not a day I'll forget in a hurry. I was just happy to get her into the field let alone win the race." CHARLEMAGNE came from back in the field to win from SPRINGBANK SAM, Nathan Williamson who was 1/2 a neck away, it was a long head back to PHIL'S GIFT, Jamie Keast in third. Time: 1:58.01. Last 800: 58.8. the 400 in 29.5.
It was the first Jewels win for Driver Philip Butcher. " They went hard early and I was happy to sit back with him and then unleash him late. The win is a credit to Colin. He has put a lifetime into harness racing and deserves this win."
CHALEMAGNE is owned by Butler and his wife Raelene, has now won 5 of his 27 starts and banked $69,355.
Race 7 : Barry Purdon claimed his first Harness Jewels win when FIVE CARD DRAW set a track record in the Group One $150,000 2YO Emerald. He was always going to be hard to beat when driver Brent Mangos got him to the front with just over a lap to go. " I could have got to the lead a bit earlier but he was so relaxed he wasn't ready to go. He's a nice wee horse who at times can get too relaxed in his races. He paces fluently and has a nice future. It showed a bit of guts out there today." It was the third Jewels win for Mangos after GOTTA GO HARMONY and BETTOR COVER LOVER.
The colt by BETTOR'S DELIGHT paced the mobile mile in 1:55.15 with the final 800 in 57.3 and the 400 - 28.5 MIGHTY FLYING MAC, John Dunn was a length away in second with BORDER CONTROL, Blair Orange a neck back in third.
FIVE CARD DRAW has now 3 of his 7 starts and $298,890. He is owned by Katrina Purdon, T. A. Cooke, Mrs C. Nausbaum, and A. Dormer.
Race 8 : TERROR TO LOVE won the Group One $150,000 4YO Emerald.
It has been an great training feat by Graham and Paul Court who also won the Group One Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park in April. The son of WESTON TERROR will now challenge trotter I CAN DOOSIT for 2011-2012 Harness Jewels honours.
Driver Anthony Butt now has three Jewels crown after winning twice with VULCAN. " Graham and Paul always have this horse brilliantly presented and today was no exception. He felt awesome and that's a real credit to his trainers after being up for so long. He was always travelling well in front. I just held them out and didn't have to use him up too much. Once we got to the lead I thought it would be tough to beat because I knew I was on the best horse in the race."
JARCULLEMBRA, David Butcherwas 1 1/4 lengths away in second with EASY ON THE EYE,Mark Purdon 3/4 of a length back on third. TERROR TO LOVE paced the mobile mile in 1:54.35 with final 800 IN 56.7 and the 400 - 28. He has now won 14 of his 36 starts and $749,882. He is owned and bred by Terry McDonald.
Race 9 : A brilliant run by SMOLDA saw him equal the New Zealand mile record of 1:52.1 in the $150,000 3YO Emerald.
It was a great performance by the Mark Purdon and Grant Payne trained gelding. He and IDEAL SCOTT had a real battle for the lead before Purdon took over in the back straight the last time. At the top of the straight Purdon let him go and the son of COURAGE UNDER FIRE quickened to win by 5 lengths. LETS ELOPE, Frank Cooney was second with a long neck back to BETTORS CREEK, David Butt in third.
It was a dramatic improvement after finishing 6th at Alexander Park the previous week. " He's sbounced back well. He's always shown a lot of potential and today he has come of age. I always thought he was capable of running a quick mile. To go faster than what Auckland Reactor went is amazing," Purdon said. He paced his last 800 in 56.7 the last 400 in 29 seconds. Purdon said he would now head to the Breeder's Crown in Australia in August.
SMOLDA is owned by Mrs Glenys Kennard, P. I. Kennard, Noel Pilcher, and M. A. R. Kirkwood. He was bred by P. B. Blackshaw. He has now won 10 of his 15 starts $401,184.