A low-key Ashburton Trotting Club meeting at Addington tonight should become one of the biggest nights in Blair Orange’s career.
The leading horseman will head into tonight’s racing just one win shy of reaching his 100th driving win for the season – the first time the popular horseman has achieved the feat.
It’s been a standout season in the sulky for Orange who well and truly surpassed his previous season best of 81 winners two months ago.
With seven drives at tonight’s meeting, Orange has plenty of chances to reach the ton during the night, but many expect it to come early in proceedings when he teams up with Someardensomewhere for his soon-to-be former bosses Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.
Orange will finish up at New Zealand’s leading stable at the end of the month before connecting himself to the West Melton stable of Ken Barron in the new season.
A milestone in the infamous blue and silver colours of Purdon would seem the most fitting result considering the impact the stable has had on Orange’s career – but from barrier nine over the 1950 metres the task isn’t going to be a simple one.
The three-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere is good enough to overcome the small hurdle – but fresh up after not having raced since the end of December only adds to the mix.
And it’s for that reason that a horse who was beaten by 46 lengths at her last start who may give Orange his best chance of the night.
Up and coming trotter Jayceekay will be looking to atone for a last start flop, when she gave up the challenge a long way from home against a rampant Idle Bones – by helping Orange reach the 100 mark.
The John Boylan trained mare has freakish ability when in the right frame of mind and if on song tonight will prove very tough to hold out in a graded trot for the C1 to C2 Trotters.
She returned to the workouts at Motukarara last weekend and was a comprehensive winner suggesting the failure when last time produced might be able to be put down to a simple off night.
Orange’s remaining drives for the night all have strong each way chances in their respective races including Jaccka Len for his good mate Mark Jones who has provided him with a large number of his winners this season.
The Book of Blair for tonight at Addington
Race 1: Jimmy Hoffa
Race 2: Donsmedad
Race 4: Someardensomewhere
Race 5: Jayceekay
Race 6: Washington Express
Races 7: Strike On Command
Race 8: Jaccka Len
By Matt Markham (Harness Racing New Zealand)