Day At The Track

A Classie Classic

08:21 AM 25 Apr 2017 NZST
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Classie Brigade

What happens next for yesterday’s Rangiora Classic winner, Classie Brigade, remains up in the air.

The brilliant Nigel McGrath trained pacer continued a grand season on the tracks with a big win in yesterday’s feature event at Rangiora, downing some highly credentialed pacers as he continues his rise up the pacing ranks of New Zealand.

And the question now for McGrath and the four-year-old’s connections is, where to next?

The absence of Lazarus from the Harness Jewels makes continuing on for a few more weeks quite enticing, but there’s also Waikiki Beach and Heaven Rocks waiting for that assignment too.

So heading to the paddock now and aiming towards a New Zealand Trotting Cup campaign in the spring is also on the table.

“I’m not sure what way we will go,” McGrath said.
“I’ll have that discussion with the owners this week and we will lock in a plan.”

What McGrath does know though is that whatever decision is made, he’s going to have a very nice open class pacer next season, whether he starts fresh or remains a Harness Jewels contender or not.

“He’s had a great season and has really developed into a good stayer.

“I thought his Invercargill Cup win, which was run in the second fastest time ever over two miles in New Zealand was a huge performance, but maybe that run yesterday was better considering what he was up against.

“When you look at the field they have all done some really good things in their careers and we had a bit of bad luck coming off the back but were still able to get home over the top of them in a really quick time, it was a great performance especially after the early burn.”

Classie Brigade reunited with Ricky May for yesterday’s feature after May was the man who piloted him through most of his three-year-old season. After igniting early to get down to the markers and engaging

in battle with Field Marshal, May must have been concerned when the leader stopped in his lap at the 400 metre mark and cost him valuable lengths while his rivals surged clear.

“It didn’t look good at that point,” McGrath said.

“You don’t expect a good horse like Field Marshal to stop on you, but Ricky never panicked and once he found clear air he really drove to the line.”

Classie Brigade has now had 11 starts this season for five wins and three placings with his stake earning now more than $200,00.

Chase The Dream returned to form with a bold run for second while there was plenty of merit in the performances of both Franco Nelson and Piccadilly Princess who really put the speed on at rounding the final bend.

May was in action earlier in the day too winning the three-year-old feature with Mongolian Hero for Paul Court. 

Matt Markham

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