The Dave Shorter trained Eyecatcher Courage won the feature $30,000 North Island Breeders Pace at Alexandra Park tonight, while the Derek Balle trained former Interdominion champion, Galleons Sunset won the feature four-plus-win trot.
Neither of the two Pukekohe horses were expected to win. They were both 10-one chances but it was fitting Balle won the trot dedicated to his late mother - the Dawn Balle Memorial Handicap.
Tonight's race-book told of a woman whose love of harness racing went back many years and filled many roles from stable morning teas to the Franklin Trotting Club president's wife.
"Dawn took a keen interest in the racing of her and husband Ken's horses along with that of her children's involvement, attending many race meetings throughout the country where she enjoyed the thrill of harness racing and the people she met.
"Our family is pleased to support the Franklin Trotting Club in the running of this race in honour of our beloved Dawn," the dedication said.
# Meanwhile Cambridge horseman Chris Gillies trained his first winner tonight when his Road Machine 4-year-old gelding, The Ledge won a $10,000 maiden pace.
Gillies took out his licence in 2006-2007 and up until tonight had 19 starters for one third. Nicely driven by David Butcher, The Ledge won comfortably from Baltic Warrior (Richard Brosnan) and Atomic Haze (Maurice McKendry).
# The other highlight of the night came in the seventh event when the Ray Green trained and McKendry driven He's My Hero won the $12,000 two-win pace. It was the 3-year-oldgelding's third consecutive win and sixth from 23 starts.
Results from the Franklin Trotting Club's meeting at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday) were:
Race 1: The Tim Butt and Phil Anderson trained Chief Inanga (Chris Butt).
Race 2: The Tony Grayling trained and driven Easys Dream.
Race 3: The Todd Macfarlane and Craig Sharpe trained Drappier (Todd Macfarlane).
Race 4: The Tony Herlihy trained and driven Metallica.
Race 5: The Dave and Clare McGowan trained Rowan Three (Nicole Molander).
Race 6: The Derek Balle trained Galleons Sunset (David Butcher).
Race 7: The Ray Green trained He's My Hero (Maurice McKendry).
Race 8: The Dave Shorter trained Eyecatcher Courage (James Stormont).
Race 9: The Gareth Dixon trained Davy Maguire (Anna Stormont).
Race 10: The Chris Gillies trained The Ledge (David Butcher).
Race 11: The Richard Brosnan trained and driven Special Sun.
Duane RANGER (editor)