Day At The Track

Perfect result for McGrath

05:45 PM 26 Dec 2016 NZDT
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Nigel McGrath couldn’t have scripted a better result in yesterday’s Ashburton Cup.

The Weedons horseman started three horses in the race and they picked up first, second and third placings with his rising stable star, Classie Brigade claiming the major prize in the hands of leading horseman Blair Orange.

McGrath had never picked up a stable trifecta in his impressive career before, but was all smiles as he came off the track yesterday at winning the Boxing Day feature.

Maverick was second in the race with Colin DeFilippi in the sulky while McGrath drove the third placed, Ears Burning himself.

It was a victory of justification for Orange who made the decision to turn down a drive in the Westport Cup on exciting pacer, Buster Brady, to drive at the Ashburton meeting.

Buster Brady finished a narrowly beaten second on the other side of the Southern Alps.

Classie Brigade, who spent most of last season as a three-year-old chasing New Zealand Trotting Cup winner Lazarus, has now won his last two starts and looks set for a big summer on the country circuit with plenty of options available for McGrath to choose from.

McGrath confirmed after the race that the trio were likely to target a lot of races in the Southland region.

“We might make them a bit of a travelling roadshow and see what happens,” he said.

“They are all going really at the moment, so it makes sense to keep them ticking over.”

His 27 career starts have now yielded eight wins and nine placings with more than $150,000 in the bank.

Meanwhile, Bob Butt picked up a major win in his early training career when Bronze Over caused a minor upset in the Westport Cup.

The Woodend Beach trainer inherited the pacer from North Island trainers John and Josh Dickie after he traveled South earlier in the season and the decision was made to leave him in the care of Butt to target the country racing.

He managed to get home over the top of Buster Brady who looked set to be the winner but appeared to gawk and run about up the straight before lunging right before the line, only to come up short.

Matt Markham

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