Day At The Track

May's hands produce the goods

01:26 PM 20 May 2017 NZST
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Greg and Nina Hope wouldn’t have had too many concerns in signing off on Ricky May’s driving fee for his effort behind Enghien in the PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Series Final last night.

Because while horses winning is as much about the motor they possess, success should also be attributed to, and if often not, the person sitting behind and guiding them and in May’s case last night, it was great horsemanship.

It was as clear as day for all in sundry to see that Enghien wasn’t handling the Addington bends as well as he should, and it was just as clear that it was May’s patient and kind hands that helped nurse him through those rough patches which ultimately won him the race.

“I think the track was a bit hard for him” May said after the race.

“He just wasn’t that comfortable on them as what he should be, he never trots them that well but he was a little worse than usual tonight.”

While many will see it as a major flaw heading into the Harness Jewels in two weeks time, there was very little concern if any from the Hope camp.

A few gear changes and the more roomy Ashburton bend should help sort the issues.

“I’m not worried,” Greg Hope said.

“It’s just minor things that we can sort I think. The main thing is that the motor is there.”

While May’s drive drew plenty of plaudits there was also just as many for Mark Purdon for his effort on President Roydon who set the terms from the top and went down fighting.

Purdon identified that Enghien wasn’t comfortable around the bends and did everything he could to try and ensure that his rival was hitting the bends at speed by holding the running line.

In the end Enghien’s class, once balanced up in the straight, showed through and he won reasonably comfortably with May rather quiet in the sulky up the straight.

The two bits of horsemanship drew plenty of praise on social media with former World Champion driver, Mark Jones weighing in on twitter to say that it was “true horsemanship from two of the best.”

An hour later it was Brad Williamson who was earning the praise for his handling of the exciting Majestic Man who was simply stunning winning the Sires’ Stakes Final for the baby trotters.

Trained by his father, Phil the excitement machine did some work after being balanced along early by Williamson and showed his staying potential with a bold effort to run past BJ Lidenny and the brave More Shades Of Gold who set the speed from the front.

“I nearly lost him a few times around the first bend,” Brad said.

“But after that he was great, he’s going to be a really good three-year-old but is doing a good job now.”

Owned by the well-populated, Griffins Syndicate, most of whom were on hand last night to enjoy the win, Majestic Man gives Brad a great chance to follow in the footsteps of his brothers, Nathan and Matty and become a Jewels winning driver in two weeks time.

Matt Markham

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