As Maurice McKendry counts down to the biggest milestone in New Zealand racing, trainer Sean McCaffrey has become his new best friend.
McKendry goes into the weekend on 2994 career driving wins in New Zealand, looking to become only the second man after Tony Herlihy to rein 3000 winners in either code here.
In typical McKendry fashion he isn’t getting carried away, knowing he will double membership of the 3000 club sooner rather than later.
“I suppose I’ll start thinking about it when I get to 2999,” he laughs.
“But it is not that big a deal any more, somebody else has already done it.”
Cambridge trainer McCaffrey provided McKendry with two winners at Otaki last Sunday and gives him two serious chances of trotting winners tonight.
The best is Sovereignty, who comes in well even off a 40m handicap in race eight.
He won well at Cambridge two starts ago and had to give key rival Flying Isa a 10m start and valuable field position last time, but meets him off level marks tonight.
“He is still trotting well, even with a few little niggles, and he will be hard to beat.”
So too will the McCaffrey-trained Mollyz Luck in race two, especially if she can get away safely.
McKendry trains and drives Jetcraft in race 10 and while he won’t be a maiden for long he does meet some handy rivals tonight, especially the Steven Reid-trained pair of Destination Moon and Raffaello.
“He is a handy maiden and was a good second last start so has a definite chance.”
McCaffrey also provides three winning hopes for McKendry at the Gate Pa grass track meeting on Sunday.
“I think Sodeska will be hard even off his big handicap,” he offers.
“And I don’t mind Sean’s filly in the maiden trot Golden Future (race two) if she gets things right.
“Strawberry Heart (race five) has been going good races in probably better fields so Sean’s team is going really well.”
By Michael Guerin (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)