Dylan Ferguson achieved the biggest win of his career when he won the $25,000 North Island Country Cups Final at Hawera on Easter Monday.
The 17-year-old won the C3-Oc pace behind the Pat and Mike O’Brien trained outsider, Beckinsale. It was the 4-year-old mare’s eighth win from 50 career starts, and fourth this season.
For Ferguson it was his 11th win since starting his driving career at the start of the season. He’s also placed 34 times in 191 drives.
“This is my biggest win by far. I’m really happy for Pat and Mike because they have supported me a lot. I’m also pleased that Dad drove Lifesofine (seventh) which freed me up for the drive behind Beckinsale,” Ferguson said.
Beckinsale stepped well from her 10m handicap and Ferguson settled the daughter of Falcon Seelster three and then four deep on the inner. When the moves were made Ferguson managed to get off the markers and flew down the outside to get up and win the 3000m standing start event by three quarters of a length and a neck.
Kippenberger (Simon Lawson) and favourite River Polka (Tony Herlihy MNZM) were second and third. Beckinsale, who was the $46.50 eleventh favourite, sprinted her last 800m in 60.8. Her winning mile rate was 2:17.6.
“She hasn’t had things go his way recently but this time everything worked out well. We got an economical run early on which allowed her to sprint when it mattered.
“It was a brave run. She is much better than what her price suggested. She was always travelling well and brought out her A-game this time,” Ferguson said.
“I thought she’d go well because he seemed really happy in her warm-up,” he added.
The Waikato horseman, who is employed by Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard at Tauherenikau, said he was enjoying his first season of driving.
“I’m getting a lot of opportunities to drive thanks to Graeme, Peter, Mike, Pat, and of course Dad. There have also been so many other owners and trainers I’m grateful to for giving me the chance to drive their horses,” he said.
It’s been five months since Ferguson drove his first winner. That was on his favourite horse – Carlos at Cambridge Raceway on November 17.
Ferguson left Cambridge High School at the end of Year 11 (sixth form), but if he had it his way he would have left the day he started.
He said school got in the way of the horses because he had his mind set on following in the footsteps of his father Peter - and becoming one of New Zealand’s finest reinsmen.
He said 2013-3014 was all about learning and taking advice from the horsemen and women around him.
“I’ll just keep trying to win races and see what happens from there. I’d like to give the New Zealand Junior Champs a crack,” he said.
Meanwhile, Beckinsale is owned by Pat O’Brien and was bred by the Astaire Standardbred Breeding Company.
She is the second foal of five out of the seven-win Presidential Ball mare, Ballroom Babe.
By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)