Day At The Track

All the way win a family affair

09:00 AM 02 Feb 2019 NZDT
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Dipendra,Harness racing
Dipendra winning at Wyndham
Photo Bruce Stewart

The win by Dipendra on Thursday at Wyndham was very much a family affair for veteran Winton trainer Tony Stevens.

As son Richard drove the squaregaiter to an all the way win, plenty of the Stevens family were on hand to enjoy the victory.

“He’s had leg problems and he also ties up. Dad’s really done a great job because he’s a family pet. He’s just been pottering round with him day in day out,” said Richard after the win.

The nine year old Monarchy gelding has only started twenty nine times. His career commenced as a five year old and he won at his second start.

Of the win on Thursday Richard said “He felt really good but I got away with quite a bit. Through those middle stages we were walking.”

Richard and his wife Fiona operated a home kill business for twelve years before buying the Winton Subway franchise two years ago. Last season he returned to raceday driving, taking out a Graduation Driver’s license after a thirteen year break. His first ever winner was Kilbank Craig for trainer Hamish Hunter at Gore in 1991 while his last prior to Thursday’s win was on Oreti Beach in December 2004.  

Winning salute - Photo Bruce Stewart

“Dad wanted me to drive the horse. It’s just good to win a race in the old man’s colour.”

One of Tony’s daughters Bridget was celebrating her birthday on Thursday and another daughter Rebecca is getting married next weekend so the win adds to the celebrations.

Dipendra certainly has a rich trotting pedigree. He’s the last foal of Speedy Crown mare Becalm Lobell which won six races. As a broodmare Becalm Lobell also left Sheezadoosie which won seven and was the dam of Sno’s Big Boy - the winner of fifteen races and I Can Doosit which won thirty six races. I Can Doosit won a Dominion Handicap, two Rowe Cups and back to back Interdominion Trotting Finals in 2011 and 2012.

“Dad’s always been a gun with trotters. Horses like Three Gees and Sailor Beware.”

Sailor Beware, a Scrappy Wave gelding won five races while Three Gees won three. Other good horses with whom Stevens was associated were Wintonian (4 wins) and Beaudiene Fella which won four from just thirteen starts.

As a driver Tony Stevens drove his first winner Night Chief for father Roy at Invercargill in 1973.

At the head of the horse, and family.                       - Photo Bruce Stewart

Meanwhile Mach’s Back returned to winning form in the Marshalls Excavating Limited Summer Classic.

Mach's Back beating Santanna's Rocket - Photo Bruce Stewart 

His winning time of 1-52.5 is a new track record for colts and geldings, bettering War Dan Delight's 1-53.3. The time is also a new Southland record. The previous record of 1-53.9 was recorded by Fly Like An Eagle at Winton in October 2014.

Mach's Back has been responsible for setting up a number of records without winning himself, so it was nice to see his name beside one this week.


Bruce Stewart

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