Day At The Track

Countdown to the Crown is in a Divine State

08:13 PM 09 Feb 2017 NZDT
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Divine State
Driver Chris Geary with youngster Divine State.

The countdown continues – we are now into February so it is 50 days or less to one of Australia’s best Carnival of juvenile harness racing.

February is the starting date for school children to return to their favourite teachers and it is now the time for the equine debutantes to commence their schooling.

One of them did so in a blaze of glory at Menangle on the last day of January.

So impressive was he that he wrote the favourites name all over the early betting tickets for the Group One Bathurst Gold Crown on March 25.

The colt with speed to burn and the name of Divine State gave young reinsman Chris Geary a “Luke Nolan” type ride or in this case a drive. All Chris had to do was touch the accelerator or the brake and steer to the winning post.

Divine State, trained by the Menangle Park Training Centre based Shane and Lauren Tritton, ran the gate and blazed an unheard of first quarter for a two-year-old of 26.6.

A final quarter in 27.2 stopped the clock from ticking in 1.52.8 – mind blowing for a youngster on debut in this part of the world.

“It certainly left me in a divine state,” said part owner Dave Harper recently.

Dave and his wife Helen purchased Divine State, a son of Tintin In America, from the Kiwi stables of Mark Jones about 10 or 11 weeks ago as ready to go but unqualified youngster.

He certainly is a much travelled young lad as he was bred and reared at Glenferrie Farm, near Goulburn in NSW.

Then he was sold to New Zealand connections and named over there as Thrown In.

However his next planned float trip is a little shorter – up the mountain to Bathurst for the Gold Crown Carnival, commencing with his heat on March 18.

In the meantime Dave and Helen Harper are riding the crest of a wave with a couple of Divine State’s stable mates – Salty Robyn and Blue Moon Rising.

Salty Robyn has strung together 10 successive wins including sub 1.50 victory and will take on the Kiwi Superstar Lazarus in the Chariots of Fire later this week.

Blue Moon Rising has won 12 of his 16 starts and qualified for the $200,000 Vic Derby.

“We’re having a hell of a ride at the moment,” said Dave.

“We do realise that runs like this don’t go on forever in the horse racing business.

“I have followed Harness Racing for 40 Years but only bought our first horse, Curtis Maguire, about three years ago.”

The Harpers had considered five or six trainers in NSW to train their horses but after firstly talking to Marlene Sweeney, they were quickly convinced that Marlene’s son Shane Tritton and his wife Lauren were the ones.

At this stage the Harpers are thinking they will be in Bathurst with a filly as well. But that’s another story for another day….. All we’ll say for the moment is that she has a “hot” name.

The Sire of Divine State heading for the “Blue” State?

Hot on the heals of the amazing debut of Divine State is the rumoured news that his sire Tintin In America has been sold to breeders based in NSW.

Tintin In America, by McArdle from an In The Pocket mare, displayed extraordinary speed in his 35 start career. He won 16 races from two through four including five Group one victories in either Australia or New Zealand.

From his first crop (three-year-olds in 2015/16) he sired the Group One placegetters Zee Dana (2nd in NSW Derby) and Dame Puissant (3rd in WA Oaks).

If the rumours turn into reality, then Tintin In America will be a welcome addition to the NSW Stallion ranks.

John Coffee

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