Day At The Track

Aiken hot at chilly Cobram

03:00 PM 12 Jul 2019 NZST
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David Aiken, harness racing
David Aiken
Cobram Harness Racing Club Photo

One of Victoria's most experienced harness racing drivers David Aiken is the first to confess he's a "fair weather reinsman" these days!

"I just don't handle the cold weather all that well," Aiken, based at Avenel, said.

But on a chilly, windy day at Cobram this week, when the thermometer topped just 13 degrees, "Aikey's" rare appearance didn't go unnoticed by sharp-eyed followers of the sport.

He produced an exciting prospect in former Kiwi pacer Raptors Flight (Bettors Delight USA-Circus Flyer NZ (Falcon Seelster USA) to take out the $7000 Hygain Pace for 52 to 55 rated pacers.

To watch the video replay click on this link.

"We hadn't taken him to the trials and I just thought I'd take the reins to see if he was happy in his gear and pacing okay under race conditions," Aiken said.

Those who saw the run would have given Aiken a unanimous thumbs up as the gelding scorched through the first quarter in 27.7 and followed up with 30.5, 28.9 and 29.2 for an impressive 1.56-3, easily the fastest time posted on the day.

Raptors Flight across the line at Cobram

"We go up to Cobram a fair bit because it's a good track and it's an easy drive from our stables," he said.

The win took Aiken to the top of the Trainer of the Year premiership table at the track.

Raptors Flight, owned by New Zealand interests, was sent over to Victoria by champion Kiwi trainer Barry Purdon, the older brother of Mark, and quite possibly his country's most successful trots trainer ever.

Aiken said the horse had a low assessment under the new national rating system.

"He's assessed an M1 and three or four runs back raced in the Auckland Cup, but coming out here he was only a C2, so he had a huge drop at Cobram. I really like him and he's only going to improve," he said.

Exciting prospect Raptors Flight and trainer-driver David Aiken

"Over the concluding stages he felt a little lazy, but I'm still learning about him. He had a six-week break in between his last New Zealand run and making his debut for us.

"Barry (Purdon) has a high opinion of the horse so I'm very pleased I was lucky enough to get him."

Raptors Flight, who incidentally started his career in sensational fashion with four from four, now has six wins and five placings from 35 appearances. He's earnt $82,000 along the way.

"I haven't looked at the program to see where we head next, but he's now still only a 56 rating so there will be an ideal race somewhere," Aiken said.

The ever-consistent Aiken stable is ticking along nicely with 85 wins and 121 placings for the current season.

"We won some nice ones early, then had a bit of a slow patch, but things are picking up again," he said.

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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