Day At The Track

McGrath wins two group threes

08:38 AM 12 Mar 2017 NZDT
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Ears Burning after winning at Invercargill
Photo - Bruce Stewart

Regular Canterbury visitor Nigel McGrath won two of the harness racing three Group Three features at Ascot Park yesterday.

First starter Dizzy Miss Lizzy surprised him when she easily won the Alabar NZ/Caduceus Club Of Southland Fillies Mobile Pace. After leading all the way she easily beat the trailing horse I'mallaboutthebase by three and three quarter lengths. 

"She's only won one unqualified workout and one official trial so it was more hoping for the best. She's going to go to Auckland in the next couple of months so she was going to have to have a trip away. I thought she might need a run today so I was quite pleased and Blair said she found the line pretty good," he said.

Dizzy Miss Lizzy and Blair Orange out on their own                                 - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

Dizzy Miss Lizzy is a two year old filly by Changeover out of Back In The USSR -  a Presidential Ball mare which won two races.

McGrath won this race with Joanne's A Delight in 2014. 

Later in the programme he scored with Ears Burning in the Yaldhurst Hotel Northern Southland Cup. It was pleasing to see the four year old step out of the shadow of his better performed stable-mates Maverick and Classie Brigade. 

Ears Burning getting up to beat a game Titan Banner on the inside - Photo Bruce Stewart.

"He's been behind them all season so it's good that he got himself a big race."

As Captain Dolmio and Titan Banner went to war up front McGrath was able to sit Ears Burning nicely in the trial. 

"He felt real great - probably the best he's ever felt. I was in two minds on whether I should wait for the passing lane but he was going so good on the bend I didn't want to wait for it. That's why I came out. He was travelling so good." 

At the finish the winning margin was just a neck from a game Titan Banner which sat parked and was on the nickel for the later part of the journey. Captain Dolmio was a further length and a half back in third.

This was Ears Burning's seventh win in just nineteen starts and McGrath says the hard racing has improved the Grinfromeartoear four year old. 

"I think racing in those better fields has done him good.  It's toughened him up. I've chucked him into the deep end a couple of times latterly and I think mentally it's made him stronger."

He's raced by Dave and Kath Rankin, Ian Rule and Stu Rankin.

"They've (the Rankins) been massive supporters of me. The first horse they had with me was Dave Star who won six races and they also raced a horse with me called Chilli which went to open class." 

So between Ears Burning and Dizzy Miss Lizzy the McGrath stable won $36,250 in stakes yesterday. 

"The stake money you guys are putting on is great. Today's stake (in the cup) was better than the Invercargill Cup and the Ashburton Cup so it's full credit to a club like Northern Southland. That's what we need."

This was McGrath's second big win in the province this season. He won the Invercargill Cup in January with Classie Brigade.


Bruce Stewart
Southland Harness Racing



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