23-year-old harness racing reinsman Simon Lawson nailed his first Group One driving success when steering Besotted to a New Zealand record victory in tonight’s $100,000 Group One Taylor Mile at Alexandra Park.
After making the most of his inside alley and holding the lead early, Lawson took a trail behind second favourite Elios. Besotted then powered up the sprint lane in the homestretch to win by ¾ of a length over Elios, while champion mare Adore Me endured a torrid trip and was close-up in third.
Besotted upset the apple cart winning at staggering odds of $42.
“He had actually been going very good races from bad barriers. I was absolutely thrilled with him last start,” advised an excited Lawson.
“I decided I may as well make the most of the draw and was only ever going to hand up to Elios or Adore Me. In the end it worked out perfectly,” he enthused.
Lawson was full of praise for Besotted’s trainer Ray Green as well as his owner, John Street of Lincoln Farms.
“Ray always has his horses perfectly prepared. I don’t think I have ever driven a horse for him that has gone no good,” said Lawson
“And it is overwhelming for a man of John Street’s stature to put his faith in a young fella like me in a big race like this one,” he added.
Besotted, who is a five-year-old son of American Ideal, paced the 1700 metres in a New Zealand record time of 2.00.0 (1-53.5), which ironically shaved 0.5 seconds off the previous record held by his former stablemate Sir Lincoln.
Besotted has now won 14 races and stakes close to $250,000.
By Mitchell Robertson