Day At The Track

Another Cup for All Stars

11:00 PM 26 Jan 2019 NZDT
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Funatthebeach,Harness racing
Funatthebeach winning the Invercargill Cup from Royal Bengal
Photo Bruce Stewart

Hot favourite Funatthebeach pulled his army of supporters through in the Group Three $32,000 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup today.

“He felt really good and was travelling well. He’s a lovely horse to drive. He wants to win and you strive to drive these sort of horses,” said driver Tim Williams after the race.

In today’s feature pace Williams was happy to stay at the rear of the eight horse field, as Queen Bee Bardon made all the pace.

It was Shezacullengirl that carted him into the race with 1300 metres to run, before he improved three wide, coming down the straight to take up the parked spot.

“He seems to race kindly that way so I thought we’d just take luck out of it.”

In turning in, Funatthebeach mastered Queen Bee Bardon and he ran down to the finish line to beat Royal Bengal by three quarters of a length. The winning time was 4-01.6.

“Coming down the straight he dropped the bit but he ran 4-01 off a handicap so maybe he was coming to the end of it.”

It was the gelding’s fourth Cup win in five starts. This season he’s won the Geraldine Cup in late November, the Ashburton Cup in December, the Central Otago Cup in early January and now the Invercargill Cup.

“He came through his race at Omakau really well because he’s such a great eater and drinker so the runs don’t take too much out of him.”

And more Cup starts are on the programme for the Somebeachsomewhere four year old, owned by Trevor Casey and Paul Hailes.

“We’re looking at the Amberley Cup (6th February) and on the  February 15th there’s a Free For All race at Addington for him.”

Williams says Funatthebeach has improved since his three year old season at which time he was slightly down the pecking order amongst a highly talented group of three year olds in the Purdon Rasmussen stable.

“He’s improved a lot. After the Jewels last season they chose to geld him and it’s been a good thing. It’s helped him mature I think.”


Sponsors and winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart

It was the second time Mark Purdon has won the Invercargill feature. He trained Highview Tommy to win in 2011 with his training partner at that time, Grant Payne.

Funatthebeach’s breeders Braeside Lodge, are offering a half -brother by Art Major at next month’s Auckland Yearling Sales.

Meanwhile War Admiral, driven inch perfectly by Samantha Ottley, easily won the Brendon Franks Farrier Handicap Trot; the main trot of the day.


The style of War Admiral winning for Sam Ottley   -   Photo Bruce Stewart

At his last start at Wyndham he blotted his formline, breaking on the final bend when challenging.

Ottley has now driven the four year old gelding three times for two wins and a second. Today’s win was his sixth from just seventeen starts and it places him third on the leader board for the end of season Harness Jewels Four Year Old Ruby.

 

Bruce Stewart

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