Day At The Track

Airpark Flyer wins cup

08:32 PM 05 Nov 2018 NZDT
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Airpark Flyer,Harness racing
Airpark Flyer after winning the 2018 Riverton Cup
Photo Bruce Stewart

The Riverton Cup was always going to be tactical and when driver Matty Williamson took Airpark Flyer to the front with 1600 metres to go he knew his brother Nathan on Franco Santino, sitting at back of the field, was going to have to be good to beat him.

With a lap to run Nathan did move Franco Santino forward to sit parked but Airpark Flyer proved every inch a stayer when he out muscled Franco Santino winning by a length and a half.

The Dali five year old owned by Graeme Harris and Heather Jerard started his career with trainer Peter McClelland.

"I always love the horses. As a young fella I worked part time up in Auckland as a waiter round the race tracks. I always wanted to own by own horse. My neighbour Peter McClelland asked me if I was interested in buying him. I fell in love with him and stuck with him through wind operations. I thought it was good to name him Airpark Flyer like the old freight train that he is. It's good for putting my business name out there," said Harris who owns Airpark Canterbury - the only South Island privately owned 24/7 off-site airport car parking business.


Airpark Flyer winning the 2018 Riverton Cup - Photo Bruce Stewart.

Harris has really got the racing bug and is enjoying the success Airpark Flyer's bring to Jerard and himself. 

"His stable name is George. Trent brought him down yesterday. He checked him in the float and he was vitually asleep. He's got a kind demeanour about him but he's like Mike Tyson going into a boxing ring. When that gear goes on him he knows it's game on."


With all the spoils - Photo Bruce Stewart

Airpark Flyer won his first race for McClelland in November in 2017 at Rangiora when driven by Williamson. His form then deserted him and in September 2018 under the guidance of his new trainer Trent Yesberg he returned to the same track to record his second win. From that point on he's proved to be one of the finds of this season, winning four of his five starts.    

"He's been a funny horse to work out but he just seems to be getting better and better. I don't do a lot of traditional training with him. We do a lot of interval training. He's thrived and gone to another level. I went to University and studied science and that sort of stuff and I try to incorporate a lot of that in my training techniques so whatever I do it's backed up by science. I work very closely with my vets and I'm big on soundness," Yesberg said. 

Yesberg is perhaps best known as being one of Canterbury's best yearling preparers but he was always going to get into the training game. 

"I've worked with some great trainers but I've never seen a horse go from what he was doing to what he's doing now. I think he'll go a long way particularly with the way he can stay. It's impressive." 

Like most good horses Airpark Flyer has a tremendous will to win and has developed into a robust racehorse. 

"When I got him he wasn't really quick but he's just getting faster and faster. Now his whole body is sound and he's really athletic. He has a great will to win. I can't really work him in company because he just runs them into the ground. You literally can't pull him up if you work him with company so he does a lot of his work by himself."

And Yesberg is also big on individual feed regimes.

"I'm pretty particular with my diets. All my horses are on individual diets. I don't feed one thing across the board. Airpark Flyer is quite a big horse and he does really well so I've got to be really careful with his weight management."

And he points out that Williamson and Airpark Flyer are the perfect match. 

"Yeah it suits his driving style a lot. Matty's a nice aggressive driver and the horse loves that sort of thing."

Yesberg is in his fifth season of training after working for Brent Lilley, Greg and Nina Hope and having also spent time in America.

"Greg and Nina have been a big influence on my career. I've picked up a lot of their training techniques."

He's starting to get a few racehorses around him and he continues to prepare yearlings as well. 

"It's a really successful part of my business. I've got twenty yearlings coming in for the sales so it's going to be busy for the next couple of months."

Yesberg says Airpark Flyer is likely to have his next start in the Geraldine Cup on the 24th November.

"The Country Cups is probably his go. He's such a good stand start horse so that's where he's placed best." 

Yesberg also won earlier with trotter Missy Moo which won by twenty three and a quarter lengths. She was also driven by Matty Williamson.  

  

Bruce Stewart 

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