It’s been a tough week in Ashburton, but a victory by Franco Nadal at Alexandra Park on Thursday night might have provided a small flickering of light on an otherwise dark week for the Mid Canterbury town.
The close knit area was rocked on Monday morning when a man entered the WINZ building and opened fire on staff members, killing Peggy Noble and Leigh Cleveland and seriously injuring Lindy Curtis.
The tragedy has had a direct impact on almost everyone in the Ashburton area, but for the Ashvegas Five O No.1 Syndicate the emotion has run deep.
The syndicate, which is made up of a wide variety of people from Ashburton who have a passion for harness racing, includes Don Campbell - the partner of Peggy Noble who had her life taken on Monday morning.
Campbell is a passionate member of the syndicate and has always enjoyed watching the horses the syndicate have had at the races and friends confirmed last night that Noble too enjoyed the thrills and spills that horse racing can often offer owners.
Franco Nadal pulled out all the stops to hold off the challenge of the talented Leanne’s Boy to win – underlining trainer Ben Waldron’s decision to send him to the North Island to campaign over the past six weeks.
Handled astutely by Todd McFarlane, Franco Nadal had a nose to spare from Leanne’s Boy at the finishing post, registering the seventh win of his 48 start career.
An In The Pocket trotter, Franco Nadal was purchased by the syndicate on the recommendation of Waldron, from Spreydon Lodge.
The group have also race, and had success with Locharnza Franco who was purchased in a similar fashion to Franco Nadal.
Courtesy Matt Markham - Harness Racing New Zealand