Champion harness racing driver Ricky May notched up his third season century in succession when winning aboard the Dave Anderson trained Abbey Cullen at Addington last night.
The win was May’s third for the night after good mate Mark Jones put him on Zakspatrol and Sabellian in order to help him reach the milestone. Both 3YO pacers were winners of their two-horse Breeders Crown heats. However, Zakspatrol was actually a narrow second and was a promoted winner after Artismee was relegated for galloping over the line.
Driven positively by May, Abbey Cullen held up from her ace alley before undergoing a mid-race attack from Smart Alex. She then kicked strongly in the straight to hold off a late bid from Smart Alex who was able to drop into the trail when the mid-race speed went on. Hikoi finished a further a one and a quarter lengths away in third.
The win was the Christian Cullen mares first from fourteen starts. It was also the first time May has taken the reins behind the four-year-old.
May then went on to notch up his 101st win for the season, and fourth for the night, when winning aboard the smart Brendon Hill trained pacer Dalton Bromac, who looked back to the horse that we saw in his South Island debut two starts back.
After missing away from the standing start, May worked Dalton Bromac into the race three-wide before taking a one-one sit down the back straight. He then worked the gelding into the clear rounding the final bend, with the three-year-old letting down strongly for a comprehensive win despite not running straight.
Robbie Close, who has been the caretaker trainer of the gelding during the week, said that he believes Dalton Bromac is a better horse when coming from behind, which may be the reason he was slightly disappointing when a well beaten third after leading up in his second start in the south.
“He is still pretty green and I think he is a better horse when he is chasing,” revealed Close. “I also think the 2600 metre trips suit him as he is a very good stayer and can follow pace,” he added.
The season century tops off what has been another tremendous innings for May. Not only did he notch up his seventh New Zealand Cup victory but he was also victorious in the Auckland Cup.
His emphatic win aboard Monbet in the Harness Jewels 2YO Ruby, which gave long-time supporters Greg & Nina Hope their first Group One win in New Zealand, was another one of his highlights.
Meanwhile, Robert Dunn is now just two wins shy of training 100 winners in a season for the first time after winning a heat of the Golden Girls with Westburn Warrior. His tally could have been 99 had Artismee not been relegated.
By Mitchell Robertson