Day At The Track

Roxburgh Cup success for Waldron

10:36 PM 04 Jan 2019 NZDT
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It felt like a homecoming for Ashburton trainer Ben Waldron when his mare Queen Bee Bardon won the Peters Generics Roxburgh Cup today.

He was born and bred in Omarama which is just over the hill from Roxburgh, but he moved to the Canterbury region when he was ten.

“It’s a massive thrill for me to win a race like this because it’s a wee bit like coming home. Of all the big races this means as much as any of them. It’s a great bunch of guys that run the Roxburgh Club,” he said.

Many were surprised to see Queen Bee Bardon back up so soon after a gut busting run in the record breaking Central Otago Cup just two days ago at Omakau.  

“All things considered it was a pretty good run. It looked bad but it was a 25 (second) opening quarter. Then she worked again shortly after settling and it was always going to take it’s toll. We had to be realistic and there was improvement there if we could just use her once (in today’s race).”

Waldron said the Gotta Go Cullen mare recovered well from the Omakau run.

“She’s as hard as nails. As she’s got older and older she’s got tougher and tougher. She’s one of those horses that bounces back remarkably quickly. She’s a good bit of livestock, you might say. She ate up and got on with it. She was tired after the run but recharged her batteries and got back into it.”

In today’s 2700 metre Cup, driver Craig Thornley settled Queen Bee Bardon last with Mr Kiwi making the pace. When Pats Dragon and Especial moved forward three wide Thornley latched onto the three wide train. On turning in Queen Bee Bardon was the widest runner and she powered home down the outside to nail Nearis Green by half a length with a head back to Mr Kiwi.  

Queen Bee Bardon winning the 2019 Roxburgh Cup - Photo Wayne Huddleston Wild Range Photography. 

“I like to leave my drivers to do their thing otherwise I’d do it myself. We obviously wanted to give her an easier trip. Craig did a fantastic job. He’s a bloody good horseman,” said Waldron after the race.

Today’s win was Queen Bee Bardon’s seventh in forty four starts and according to Waldron in many of her races she’s been unlucky.

“She’s very rarely copped a decent run. She ran second in a Jewels Final behind Piccadilly Princess as a four year old. Generally speaking she hasn’t had a whole lot of luck. She’s been crook at the wrong time. It sounds pretty silly but her record is disappointing compared to what she feels like. She’s pretty sharp.”

Waldron says her rating of 79 puts her into a challenging grade.

“It is difficult. There is always a nice horse coming through. It’s a tricky grade because you’ve got a lot of potential cup horses on the way through. Or do you try off big marks in a race that’s a bit easier?”

Queen Bee Bardon’s next target is likely to be the $100,000 Group One New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes at Addington on the 15thFebruary.

“I’ve never been frightened to line her up. You’ve got to have a go.”

Although she’s six, Waldron feels Queen Bee Bardon is just starting to peak.

“Unfortunately she’s been a slow developing mare. She’s quite a big mare. She’s had a lot of wee niggles and quite a bad virus at one point. Sometimes these types of horses that are from left field breeding can turn up later in life.”

Queen Bee Bardon is out of the Bionic Power mare Margaret Bardon and is owned by Renee Williams (Ben’s Fiancée), Gordon Guthrie and Mike Chequer.

Guthrie and Chequer had shares in Mr Molly which Waldron trained to win fourteen races including the 2009 Northern Southland Cup Invercargill Cup double.

Although she seems to have been round the racetracks for a long time Waldron says there are no plans to retire her.

“There’s been no real reason to retire her because it’s felt like she’s got more wins in her.”         

Bruce Stewart

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