A young driver’s first win is always a very memorable one.
But North Island junior reinsman Jack Mackinnon says his third career win aboard Dr Hook at Alexandra Park last night provided him with an even greater thrill.
“He is a horse I have had a lot to do with in the past, so to drive him on raceday and win like that, was very special," said Mackinnon, who started helping Nairn to during his trips to Auckland about four years ago.
Given a 20 metre let-up in the handicaps through Mackinnon being a concession junior driver, Dr Hook made a quick beginning and positioned up well, before being shuffled back to last after Mackinnon opted to stay in when the backmarkers moved around the field.
Mackinnon then cut the eight-year-old son of Dr Ronerail loose at 500 metres, and after ranging up to them stylishly on the home bend, he quickly raced on by to win emphatically by 6 & ½ lengths.
Mackinnon celebrated the win with a fist pump as him and his old favourite Dr Hook crossed the line.
“I wasn’t too worried when we were last at the 500 as I knew they had gone very hard up front,” explained Mackinnon. “When he was younger he was always a tough horse that could just run hard the whole race but now that he's developed some speed he can come of their backs and sprint past them which he proved last night,” he added.
Dr Hook competed last night with no front shoes on, a trick which Mackinnon says helped his trotting gait.
“He raced in the National Trot (third) and Lyell Creek Stakes (third) with no front shoes,” said Mackinnon. “Paul (Nairn-trainer) had the idea (to race him with no shoes on) about a year ago but you have to wait until they have a bit of toe on otherwise it stuffs up their feet.”
Mackinnon was very thankful to Paul Nairn and Dr Hook’s connections for giving him the opportunity on such a good horse.
Mackinnon will now head to Tauranga on Sunday, where he has two good chances in Ruby Castleton and Trotupastorm, both of whom he trains himself.
“Trotupastorm, like Dr Hook, has been training on the beach so I am expecting a good run from him.”
“And Ruby Castleton definitely has the ability to win but there are a few question marks over her manners,” concluded Mackinnon.
By Mitchell Robertson