Day At The Track

Angus Hall colt gets first OSS win at Kawartha Downs

04:59 PM 19 Jul 2015 NZST
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Peterborough resident Dagfin Henriksen pilots three-year-old trotting gelding Tswalu to a 1:56.3 Grassroots win at Kawartha Downs on July 18 Mary Speck celebrated her 90th birthday at Kawartha Downs on July 18 and presented the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots trophy to Delcrest Massy’s winning driver Alfie Carrol
Peterborough resident Dagfin Henriksen pilots three-year-old trotting gelding Tswalu to a 1:56.3 Grassroots win at Kawartha Downs on July 18
Mary Speck celebrated her 90th birthday at Kawartha Downs on July 18 and presented the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots trophy to Delcrest Massy’s winning driver Alfie Carrol

Local colt Tswalu delivered the perfect opener for the 43rd Anniversary celebrations at the harness racing meeting at Kawartha Downs on Saturday, capturing his very first Ontario Sires Stakes victory at his hometown oval.

"It's always nice to win on the home turf," said Peterborough resident Dagfin Henriksen, who piloted the gelding to the win for his partners Kevin Isaac of Bridgenorth and Samuel Mulholland of Picton. "They were a bunch of happy owners."

Starting from Post 5, Henriksen sent Tswalu directly to the front and controlled the tempo through fractions of :28.1, :58.4 and 1:26.4 before sailing down the stretch to a one and one-quarter length win in 1:56.3.

Fan favourite Parkhill Lancelot, trained by Peterborough native John Bax, finished second and P L Intimidator was third.

The win came on the heels of a disappointing performance for Tswalu in the July 3 Grassroots event Mohawk Racetrack where he made a break and finished ninth, so trainer-driver Henriksen was pleased the gelding was finally able to demonstrate his ability.

"He didn't get to show what he was last time because he just wanted to go forward when he got a horse on the outside, and I had a horse in front of me," explained Henriksen.

"You know it's kind of hard for handicappers to see that because they don't know what happened."

"So I knew he was a nice horse, but I haven't had much luck with him yet."

The win was not just Tswalu's first in Grassroots action, it was his first ever victory in 19 starts. In two other Grassroots starts this season the Angus Hall son finished sixth (June 4) and second (June 24). Henriksen is hoping Saturday's victory is a sign of better things to come for the trotter.

"He's just starting to put it together and I think he'll be a really nice aged horse too," noted the horseman.

The second $18,000 Grassroots division was captured by driver Delcrest Massy, who went gate-to-wire in 1:56.4 for driver Alfie Carroll.

Jayport On Th Edge and J N Ryder finished five and one half lengths back in second and third.

Victor Puddy of Mountain, ON conditions Delcrest Massy for owner Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, ON. Through four Grassroots starts the Muscle Mass son has tallied two wins, one third and one fifth for 117 points and second spot in the division standings.

"He's a real nice horse."

He's good mannered, he don't pull, he does everything you want him to do," said driver Carroll of Delcrest Massy.

"You can race him either way, but he looked like he'd been racing good near the front, so that's where I aimed for and we were lucky enough to get it."

The win with Delcrest Massy was the first of three Grassroots wins and two overnight victories on the program for Carroll, who scored his first Ontario Sires Stakes hat trick on July 7 at Georgian Downs with a trio of two-year-old trotting fillies.

"I haven't driven in a lot of Ontario Sires Stakes," noted the 30-year-old reinsman.

"This is my first year to really be driving a lot of them, and most of them have so far been trotters."

The Iona Station, ON resident scored his next two victories with Bob McIntosh trainees A Little More Love and Kadabrasnewrecruit, and controlled the fractions with both colts.

A Little More Love roared out to a three length margin from Post 2 in the fourth division and carried on to a one and three-quarter length victory in 1:56.3. Favourite Buzz and Century Behemoth rounded out the top three.

Windsor, ON resident McIntosh shares ownership of A Little More Love with Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, ON.

The number two ranked colt in the Gold Series last season, the Kadabra colt had not visited the winner's circle in five sophomore starts prior to Saturday evening's effort.

Favourite Kadabrasnewrecruit rang up fractions of :27.4 and :57.3, then was briefly headed by Stormont Wizard heading by the 1:26 three-quarters, but came back on to record a one-half length victory in 1:56.3.

Stormont Wizard settled for second, with Lets Be Honest a length back in third.

The win was the third in Grassroots competition for Kadabrasnewrecruit, who sits atop the division standings with 162 points.

Hall of Fame horseman McIntosh owns the son of Kadabra, who has been no worse than third in six starts this season.

"They said he was the best of the two, so after the first one I thought we had a pretty good chance with him," said Carroll.

"He dug deep and showed he's got a lot of heart to come back on like that."

The other Grassroots trophy went home with A Rod Hall, who bested Rebel Rebel and Pridecrest in 1:58.

It was the first ever win for the Deweycheatumnhowe gelding, who was making just his fifth lifetime start. Thornton, ON resident Steve Byron crafted the win for trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON and owner Willow Pond LLC of Hewlett, NY.

The three-year-old trotting colts make their fifth Grassroots start at Hiawatha Horse Park on August 22.

In addition to the three-year-old trotting colt Grassroots event, the large Kawartha Downs crowd celebrated the anniversary with cupcakes, prize draws and giveaways, and a variety of special on-track moments, including the presentation of the second Grassroots trophy by Mary Speck, who was celebrating her 90th birthday with her family.

Racing continues at Kawartha Downs next Saturday at 7 pm.

Ontario Horse Racing

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