Day At The Track

Firsts for Ramsay and 'Red' at Rangiora

01:08 AM 01 Jul 2013 NZST
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James Ramsay & Gunsight Pass Flashing Red
James Ramsay & Gunsight Pass
Flashing Red
Courtesy Of Race Images, Christchurch, New Zealand

Achieving your first training success is no mean feat but to do it with a trotter that has shocking conformation is a big achievement. “He’s a crock, but like all of my animals he’s my friend first and racehorse second. It’s a shame he’s not formed right because he has got a bit of ability but he’s not the type you can race week in and week out,” said trainer James Ramsay.

The Avonhead conditioner was referring to his Earl gelding, Gunsight Pass. The 5-year-old notched up his first win in nine attempts in Sunday's first race at Rangiora, a $6,000 maiden trot. Sixty-year-old Ramsay, who is a mechanic by trade, was delighted with his first training win. "This is my fourth season now and it's a great feeling to get the first one out of the way. I've always loved working with horses. Back in the day I used to work with Doug Donaldson. "I'd do cars during the week and horses in the weekends. I've always been around horses. I've been drawn to them," said Ramsay, who works a couple of horses in Christchurch.

Gunsight Pass was situated at the back of the main bunch by driver Katie Cox. Then at the bell they were three back on the outside before Cox hooked the gelding three-wide at the 400m.They got up by a neck from Henley Park and Paul Borcoskie, trotting the 2600m stand in 3:28.9.

Ramsay has had 86 starters to the races since he got his licence in 2010. He's also had two placings in that tally. He said his other racehorse, Baron Von Dracula, is a talented 5-year-old son of Peruvian Hanover. "He's a really nice pacer. He's won three of his six workouts and placed in two others, but he's had his problems too. "When he's right he should win a few races. I think the way Gunsight Pass won today there's also a few wins left in him as well," Ramsay said.

North New Brighton horseman Michael Cations enjoyed his own special moment when Barneys Girl won the $7,000 Golden Girls Trot Heat. A panel beater by trade, the 56-year-old has been around horses for almost 30 years but has only held a trainer's licence off and on for 12 seasons since 1986.

He's trained 10 winners now and the Kent Neilson trained Jaycees Belle provided Cations with his first driving success at Addington last December. Barneys Girl was Cations second driving success but it was the first time he had trained and driven a winner. "It's a good feeling alright. I'm especially pleased for my enthusiastic owner Andrew Lister. He will be delighted. This is very satisfying," Cations told HRNZ.

Cations believed he could have trained and driven a few more winners but believed in putting the best drivers behind his horses."It's a bit different with trotters. When they've got a few tricks I like to drive them simply because I know them, but when a horse is sound and paces okay, to me it makes sense to put people like Dexter (Dunn) on," Cations said."It reinforces your winning chances with the good ones drive them," he added.

It was a gutsy effort by Barneys Girl yesterday. The 6-year-old Sundon mare was well back and only latched onto the rear of the field with just over a lap remaining. Then down the back the last time Cations got a drag into the race three-wide from Sixty Plus and Clint Ford. In the home straight Barneys Girl just kept on trucking getting up to out-stay Anonymiss and Leo O'Reilly right on the line. Winner's time for the 2000m mobile trot: 2:33.6.

"She's had a couple of trainers before me and she's got a few tricks to her. She can be a handful for some people but she bowls along pretty good when she's got her mind on the job," Cations said.

Barneys Girl was originally trained by Phil Williamson at Oamaru. Later he 2011 she transferred to Gavin Forbes Invercargill barn before Carl Middleton took over at Highbank in March last year. In three starts Cations has had a 10th, a sixth and now a win with the chestnut.

In race four at Rangiora two-year-old filly Red Hot Toddy won her first race. She not only gave her sire Flashing Red his first siring credit but she broke a longstanding New Zealand Record that was formerly held by Pascale Bromac who set the record back in 2003.

By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

Denotes* Red Hot Toddy is out of former top mare Lady Toddy ($176,059). She is trained by Ken Barron and was driven by Steven Golding. Remarkably when Lady Toddy was served, Flashing Red's service fee was free. In fact it may still be free.

Why would a dual-New Zealand Cup winning champion stand at stud for free you may ask? So the unfashionably bred son of Echelon can get some progeny on the ground and get his chance of making it as a sire.

And if yesterday's winner is anything to go by, he may just take that chance. Flashing Red has two other New Zealand qualifiers in Delightful Red and Flashing Ruby

Gunsight Pass

Barneys Girl

Red Hot Toddy

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