Day At The Track

Classie Brigade living up to his name

09:00 AM 03 Jan 2017 NZDT
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Classie Brigade
Classie Brigade is proving a worthy replacement for Elios for owners Mark McKinnon and Colin Eynon.
Classie Brigade posted his ninth win with success in track and race record time in the $30,000 Central Otago Cup free-for-all at Omakau on Monday.
Classie Brigade ran the 2600m (mobile) in 3.09.9 (1.57.5 mile rate) when he edged out stablemate Ears Burning and Captain Dolmio. He bettered the mark of 3.10 set by Quick As A Trick in the race last year.
Elios won 10 races including the 2014 NZ Messenger and Futurity Stakes at Cambridge when trained by Robert Dunn with McKinnon, of Auckkland and Eynon, of Tauranga in the ownership. Elios went amiss in a tendon.
Eynon’s son, Grant is also in the ownership of Classie Brigade, trained at Weedons by Nigel McGrath
“I will take the three of them down for the Invercargill Cup (January 28),” said McGrath. He was also referring to Ears Burning and Maverick, who was scratched today to give him every chance to recover from his second placing in the Ashburton Cup on Boxing Day. Classie Brigade had won that race with Ears Burning third.
McKinnon was at Omakau to accept the trophy. He is on holiday in Queenstown with his wife, Joanna.
Classie Brigade has been driven in his two Cup wins by Blair Orange, who drove Delishka to win today, maintaining his lead in the premiership.
Orange soon had Classie Brigade  off the markers after starting from one on the second row. He got cover from the 1000m when Captain Dolmio moved outside the pacemaker, Costa Del Magnifico.
Classie Brigade prevailed by a head from Ears Burning, who came from three back on the outer. Captain Dolmio was a game third, half a head back.
Todd Woodward has had winners in three roles as a horseman at Omakau after driving Whoosh Factor to win the race for amateur drivers today. Woodward had his first win as a trainer at Omakau in 1999 with Stronechrubie, driven by Jo Herbert.
Woodward was back there in 2001 to train and drive Lockerup to win. He trained and drove Howzat Look and Dame’s Fella to win on the track in 2002. Woodwood drove the winners of 228 races as a junior and open horseman, the last at a Marlborough meeting in June, 2011. He did not drive last season. He returned to the scene as an amateur driver this season and has driven three winners from 10 drives.
Ernie Knight, the 83-year-old West Melton owner-breeder, who has been in ill-health, was successful with Delishka. The 3-year-old filly was having her fifth start. Knight races Delishka with Christchurch trainer Brad Mowbray.
Delishka is the first foal to race out of Balishka, who won seven races for Knight and Mowbray. Knight bred Mister Zion (Red River Hanover – Cross Lady) who won at group one level as a pacer (2010 South Australia Cup) and trotter (2013 Australian Trotting Championship Final).
He had won two races as a pacer under the name Zion in New Zealand when trained by Jim Curtin. Mowbray  completed his first double at a meeting when Ultimate Desire won later in the day.
Brads Kenny provided the star turn when he won by  nine and three quarter lengths. He had not raced for three months but his three wins have been fresh up.
Monty Python, a stablemate of Brads Kenny with Phil Williamson, caused an upset  when edged out hot favourite Master Lavros in the last few strides of the $9000 free-for-all for trotters.
Brads Kenny and Monty Python were both driven by Matthew Williamson. Monty Python trailed Master Lavros who set a leisurely pace. It was the tenth win for Monty Python, raced by David Beckingsale and the Griffins syndicate involving some 40 persons.
“He (Master Lavros) had every chance. We just hope he pulls up sound and he will continue his racing at Addington,’’ said Mark Jones, his trainer-driver.
Tayler Strong
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