Day At The Track

10yo Chesterton wins Prelude - Cup beckons

09:35 AM 28 Oct 2011 NZDT
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10yo Chesterton strides to win number 16 Chesterton's trainers Derek Balle (left) Chesterton poses for Harnesslink with co Philip Butcher salutes judge
10yo Chesterton strides to win number 16 - in the Pak N Save Franklin Cup Prelude tonight (Fri Oct 28)
Duane Ranger photo
Chesterton's trainers Derek Balle (left) - and Owen Gillies with an owner shortly after the Prelude.
Duane Ranger photo
Chesterton poses for Harnesslink with co - trainer, Owen Gillies in the Alexandra Park winners circle.
Duane Ranger photo
Philip Butcher salutes judge - Graeme McLennan after winning the Franklin Cup Prelude
Duane Ranger photo
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Hometown hero and rising 11-year-old pacer - Chesterton won the right to contest the Franklin Trotting Club's biggest harness racing event at Alexandra Park next month when winning the Franklin Cup Prelude at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday October 28).

It was a popular win for the $12,500 claimer who has now won 16 of his 84 starts. Driver Philip Butcher said he felt good in the preliminary, while co-trainer. Owen Gillies thought Chesterton was a good chance. Training partner, Derek Balle thought the Christian Cullen gelding could run a place.

"He just felt good tonight and even though we got a nice trip he was always going well. He was tiring a bit at the end but it just felt like he wanted to be there," Cambridge-based Butcher told Harnesslink.

The 2700m standing start event panned out beautifully for Chesterton, who started from a 20m handicap. With two laps remaining he was fourth in single file along the markers.

Then when Butcher asked him to go sit in the death at the mile (1600m) Jay Abernethy and Our Southern Man popped out in front of them, giving Chesterton a one-one for the remainder of the race.

In the straight the old boy was simply too strong winning by 1-1/2 lengths and a nose from Cullen's Creek (Todd Mitchell) and Stormy Sirocco (Maurice McKendry).

He stopped the clock in 3:21.9 (mile rate: 2:00.3) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 57.1 and 28.5.

The punters didn't fancy Chesterton letting him drift out to $15.80 on the tote.

But Gillies has always had a lot of time for him.

"He's a lovely ole horse who has got a big heart. He's great to be around. He's just a really nice horse to have in your stable," Gillies said.

He thought he was a winning chance.

"He just keeps bouncing back every start and always gives his best. I had a feeling he was on his game this week. He was bright.

"He can stay and he's still got a bit of toe for an old fella."

Chesterton did all of his early racing under the guidance of Invercargill trainer driver, Gill Shirley, who seven races with him before sending him north to Steven Reid in September 2008.

Chesterton has now had 16 wins from 84 starts. He's also placed 20 times and won $133,432. It was his eighth win on the track and also eighth from the 2700m stand.

He was bred and is owned by his breeder E.C Hailes and Raelene Balle.

And Alexandra Park Racing Manager Kevin Smith also steeped praise on Chesterton.

He described him as a reliable old horse who often ran out of his grade to fill fields.

"He deserves every win he gets. Sometimes he has ensured some races have got off the ground. He's raced against claimers and against open class horses. He is the type of horse racing clubs like. Good on him," Smith said.

Chesterton has now gained an automatic entry into the Group Two $55,000 Pak N Save Cup at Alexandra Park on November 25. That race is a 7-win and faster pace.

Balle said Chesterton was the type of horse he liked to race fortnightly, meaning he will have one more Alexandra Park start before the Franklin Cup.

"He's got good legs and that's important. He's the best pacer we've got," said Balle who is a master trainer of trotters, and works a team of 20 with Gillies in Pukekohe.


Top Driver: Tony Herlihy 2 wins.

Top Sire: Christian Cullen 2 wins.

Top Junior Driver: Simon McMullan, Josh Dickie, Zac Butcher and Mitchell Kerr 1 win each.

Top Trainer: Ten races and 10 winning trainers.

Results from the Franklin Trotting Club's meeting held tonight (Friday October 29) at Alexandra Park Raceway in Auckland were:

Race 1: The Jeff Crouth trained LITTLE MONKEY (Elsu) Tony Herlihy.

Race 2: The Steven Reid trained WHITE EAGLE (Mach Three) Simon McMullen (j).

Race 3: The Ray Green trained YOU ROCK (Love You) Maurice McKendry.

Race 4: The Michelle Wallis trained The WILD CARD (Bettor's Delight) Josh Dickie (j).

Race 5: The Rob Lawson trained MOMENT OF TRUTH (Sundon) Zac Butcher (j).

Race 6: The Mark Burley trained MUST BE MAGIC (Grinfromeartoear) James Stormont.

Race 7: The Derek Balle and Owen Gillies trained CHESTERTON (Christian Cullen) Philip Butcher.

Race 8: The Tony Herlihy trained and driven LIVINGONTHEINTEREST (Dream Away).

Race 9: The Gareth Dixon trained OVERLAP (Christian Cullen) Mitchell Kerr (j).

Extensive results

By Duane RANGER (editor) at Alexandra Park

Chesterton racking up win number 16 from start number 84 at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday october 28, 2011):

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