Day At The Track

A triple court session

07:15 PM 25 Jun 2016 NZST
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Paul Court and Terry McDonald
Paul Court and Terry McDonald
Mitchell Robertson Photo

Breaking out on your own after a successful harness racing partnership that has lasted many years is supposed to be hard yakka, but Paul Court can be forgiven though for thinking it’s all a little too easy.

The West Melton horseman, who was alongside his father Graham in training partnership for close to a decade, is making a pretty good fist of the solo training caper and yesterday, on the first day of the Marlborough Harness Racing Club’s Winter meeting, he picked up his first training hatrick.

“It’s been a pretty dream start really, better than I could have ever expected anyway,” Court said.

Yesterday’s three wins came less than 24 hours after Stunin Dude won at Forbury Park on Thursday night in the hands of Blair Orange and it was the Postman who was in the sulky for two thirds of his Friday success.

Orange drove both Hypervelocity and Expressive Victor to victory while Ricky May was on board Courage To Live who won the last race of the day.

“I thought that they were all good chances, but for all three to win was great.

“You got to the race expecting to have a good day and often it’s the opposite.”

Expressive Victor’s win in the Winter Cup Prelude was impressive.

The 4-year-old mare, who was second behind Rocker Band in the 4YO Ruby at the Harness Jewels three weeks ago, overcame an early bobble to sit off the speed before unwinding brilliantly down centre track to secure victory.

“The gallop was a bit of a worry, she’s usually such a good beginner.

“Blair said she got a bit of a fright when the tapes went, I don’t think one on the 10 metre line was a good draw for her.”

The imposing mare will start a warm order favourite on Sunday to go back-to-back on what is fast becoming her favourite track. From five starts on the Waterlea Raceway surface she’s won twice and placed on as many occasions with her only failure coming when she choked down and crashed to the deck at the Summer meeting earlier this year.

Both Hypervelocity and Courage To Live will both also be in action on Sunday.  

The former will have to deal with the impressive Franco Cristiano who made light work of his race track return earlier in yesterday’s programme for Robert and John Dunn.

Courage To Live also has a tough ask from a wider draw, but his free going racing style means he will be on the speed at some stage in the race and that’s here he seems to race best.

“He probably lacks that really high speed, but he will just keep going.

“I was pretty impressed with the way he won, he looked like he could have kept going at that speed too.

“He’s just got better and better each time I’ve taken him to the races.”

Closely related to Terror To Love, the Jereme’s Jet colt was one of two winners for Terry McDonald who also shares owns Hypervelocity.

McDonald went had the perfect day on Friday with Letspendanitetogetha, who he owns with good friend Reg Storer, finishing second to Courage To Live.

While Court’s three wins was impressive, Orange’s driving talents were on full display.

He won three races to go with the three he picked up on Thursday night, taking him to 117 winners for the season and 16 wins clear in second position on the national premiership which is being led by Dexter Dunn.

Dunn endured a winless day at the office and will have to wait until next week to get New Zealand win No. 200 as he’s on a plane to drive Christen Me in Queensland on Saturday night and isn’t returning to Blenheim for Sunday’s meeting.

Matt Markham

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