Day At The Track

'A special colt' wins $500,000 Wellwood Final

03:13 AM 19 Sep 2010 NZST
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Pastor Stephen - Lifted his career earnings to $496,218
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Pastor Stephen and Yannick Gingras found racing room late in the mile to win the $500,000 harness racing 'William Wellwood Memorial' in a tight finish. Leader Of The Gang (Ron Pierce) was quickest off the gate and took command from post 2 with Broad Bahn (Jack Moiseyev) still on the outside at the quarter in :27.4.

Broad Bahn finally cleared and took over command as the field marched towards the half-mile and posted middle-half fractions of :57.3 and 1:27.1. Leader Of The Gang was enjoying a two-hole trip with Pastor Stephen comfortably in third.

Broad Bahn took his rivals past the final quarter in 1:27.1. As the field turned for home, Broad Bahn faced a quick challenge from Leader Of The Gang but could not advance on the two-year-old son of Cantab Hall. Pastor Stephen finally found late racing room and drifted out to the middle of the track at the seven-eights pole.

In the late stages of the mile, Broad Bahn was still in the lead but Pastor Stephen was closing with every stride. Pastor Stephen used a final push to be victorious in 1:56.3 over Broad Bahn with Leader Of The Gang third.

After the victory, trainer Jim Takter commented that Pastor Stephen is becoming a 'special' horse.

"He's a big growthy colt and he's growing on me," Takter commented. "He keeps on winning, he's never lost a race and he's becoming a special colt."

Driver Yannick Gingras was also very pleased from the effort of his charge in tonight's event.

"He's a big strong colt but it does take a bit to get him into gear. If I could of got loose right at the top of the stretch I think I could of won by a length or two but it was almost half-way down the stretch were I finally got racing room," Gingras commented in the winners circle.

"He always puts his nose on front, that's what I said last week and he proved it again tonight. I actually thought I won by more (than a neck), I thought I won by a head but I knew I got there."

Pastor Stephen lifted his career earnings to $496,218 for his wife Christina, John Fielding and Brittany Farms.

His only career loss in seven tries came in the $500,000 Peter Haughton Memorial at The Meadowlands, earlier this year. Pastor Stephen won the rich event but was placed sixth, that result has been appealed by the connections.

Greg GANGLE

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