Day At The Track

Blair Orange and Ken Barron close in on records

06:18 AM 29 Jun 2015 NZST
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Blair Orange is only two more wins off his second century of wins in as many seasons.
Blair Orange is only two more wins off his second century of wins in as many seasons
John Hawkins Photo

One of harness racing's most promising partnerships is on the verge of reaching two significant milestones.

Ken Barron and Blair Orange's first season together has been full of highlights and Change Time's victory in Sunday's Winter Cup was another exclamation mark on a season that has shattered all expectations. 

With the Barron-trained Livura a winner earlier in the day at the Rangiora Harness Racing Club's meeting, the Barron-Orange combination scored a winning double.

Orange now heads into Forbury Park's meeting on Thursday with 98 wins for the season. He went past the 100 mark for the first time last season with 106 winners.

With Addington on Friday night and Timaru on Sunday, Orange is a strong chance to reach the century by the end of the weekend if not sooner.

Barron's two winners on Sunday have taken him to 49 training wins for the season. Despite going close on a couple of occasions, on his own and in partnership with John Lischner, Barron has never reached 50 wins in a season but the West Melton trainer is certain to break the milestone before the current one is out.

Orange credits getting an economical trip as the difference for Change Time who upset the field to win the Winter Cup at a $17 quote.

"Finding the trail was definitely the key," Orange said.

Change Time's form line was nothing to get excited about going into the Winter Cup but she has come out of the four-year-old Diamond at the Harness Jewels and some quality fields when racing in Auckland.

"Last start she had to sit parked and was found wanting a bit, but she's always been better with a sit," Orange said.

The Christian Cullen mare picked up her seventh career at Rangiora but her racing days are numbered.

A four-year-old mare out of Chaangerr, Change Time will head to Australia at the end of the season to be retired to the broodmare paddock.

Orange will always have fond memories of the mare that brought him his 1000th driving win with her victory at Addington back in January.

Talented three-year-old Bracken Ridge is another leaving the Barron stable after being sold to Perth but Orange said there was still plenty of talent in Barron's stable.

Gerard O'Reilly, Ricky May and Robbie Close also drove winning doubles at the Rangiora meeting.

Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope continued their standout season with three winners in the last three races of the day.

The husband and wife partnership now have 66 winners for the season, just one shy of their best of 67 in 2013.

Meanwhile, Dexter Dunn brought up his 200th win of the season at Forbury Park on Friday night.

Dunn started the night on 196 winners and brought up the double century with his fourth win of the night with Give Me Strength.

It is the fourth time he has gone past 200 winners in a season but in 2012 and 2013 he was finished on 199.

By Mat Kermeen

Reprinted with permission

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