Southland’s claiming King and Queen, Geoff and Jude Knight, were the deserving winners of tonight’s $10,000 Claimers’ Final at Forbury Park.
The Roxburgh couple, who have kept the Southern Claimers’ Series alive this season, were victorious in the race with 10yo come-back pacer Hi Gun, who returned to the winners circle for the first time in just under a year. Hi Gun was also sucessful in the 2013 Claimers' Series Final.
Given a beautiful run in the trail by driver Dexter Dunn, Hi Gun pounced on the pacemaking Tagataese in the home straight to dive up the passing lane and win by a neck to the roar of the Who’s Driving Syndicate and the Turners.
Hi Gun, who was retired after his run for 10th at Forbury Park on the 29th of August 2013, was originally brought back into training to work by his co-owner Jonny Turner before returning to fo full work with Geoff and Jude Knight.
The Knight's use alternative training methods to keep Hi Gun fit and on top of his game. Those methods include riding, and sometimes, jumping.
Hi Gun was placed in all six of the claimers’ heats leading up to tonight’s final. The son of Washington VC has now won 10 of his 68 starts and placed on a further 23 occasions.
Runner-up Tagataese was claimed out of the event for $8,000 by, yes, you guessed it, Geoff and Jude Knight.
However, while the Knight’s do specialise in turning around older and sometimes sore horses, they do have the odd smart young horse and one of them is Al Raza.
The talented three-year-old filly, which is owned by the Central Courage Syndicate, made it four wins on end when winning a race her owners sponsored – the Central Courage Syndicate C1-2 Mobile Pace.
Meanwhile, junior Trackside Presenter/Commentator Matthew Cross enjoyed his first win as an owner when combining with Mark Jones and his fiancée Kimberly Butt, to win the first race on the card with Lady Mackendon. Cross is set to make his commentating debut at Rangiora on Sunday.
By Mitchell Robertson