Day At The Track

Looking for a meaningful victory

07:38 AM 24 Feb 2017 NZDT
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The top North Island Junior Driver
Josh Dickie

Three-year-olds will take centre stage at Alexandra Park on Friday night with two $30,000 races for the colts/geldings and fillies respectively.

Both are New Zealand Sires Stakes/Rosslands-sponsored 2200m mobile events with the colts and geldings Graduate kicking off at 7.03pm (race 3) and the fillies Graduette starting at 8.21pm (race 6).

One driver who would desperately love to win one or both heats is South Auckland reinsman Josh Dickie, who together with his father John, leases property off Rosslands Stud at Clevedon, and also works half a dozen of their horses.

The owner of Rossland Stud, Kerry Hoggard passed away in Auckland in October 2015 when he was the Auckland Trotting Club president.

But his wife Marilyn is still a strong supporter of harness racing and the Dickies, and thanks to her loyalty to the sport, Dickie (Josh) was able to pay $100,000 for Lot 72 – a Bettor’s Delight – Yankee Dream for a colt named Bettorstartdreaming at last Monday’s Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka.

“It would mean a lot if Master George could win for Marilyn at Alexandra Park on Friday, because she is such a wonderful lady and has put so much faith in us. She deserves every success that comes her way,” Dickie said.

“And the colt can get some of it despite his lack of form in his last two starts,” he added.

Dickie currently sits on 299 career driving wins and said he would especially love to nail win number 300 on behind Master George.

The son of Bettor's Delight and Lizzie Maguire has drawn well in the Graduate but meets a nice field of quality 3-year-old pacers.

“I like him. He’s had terrible draws since I won behind him at Cambridge on January 6. He gave me a real good feel that night and beat quite a nice field. I reckon he can get a slice of the cake from three,” Dickie said.

The 25-year-old was also upbeat about the Steven Reid trained Could Be Good in the Graduette, but said the filly would have been a better winning chance had she not drawn the outside of the front line.

“She strung two good wins together at Cambridge a few weeks ago and then was an unlucky fourth. She’’s gone real well since then and has quite a bit of speed to call on.

“It’s just a shame she has drawn eight, so I’ll have to play the start by ear. If she gets a nice sit the others will knows she’s in the race.,” Dickie said.

Dickie paid a tribute to the New Zealand Sires Stakes Board for putting its left-over money into 3-year-olds just below the top echelon.

“If gives the 3-year-olds just below the guns a chance to race for good money and I take my hat off to the sponsors for that. It’s exactly what this game needs,” he said.

Dickie said C K Spur (race 5) and Kate Black (race 9) were also good winning chances on Friday.

“C K Spur has been racing out of his grade recently and the drop-back will suit him nicely, while Kate Black won well here a fortnight ago and has the draw (3) to go on with it,” he said.

Duane Ranger

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