Day At The Track

Slate lives up to the big wrap

09:55 AM 24 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Slate,Harness racing
Slate
Photo Bruce Stewart

Slate justified the decision of his Winton breeder owner and trainer Des Baynes to be patient, when the four-year-old won in 1:56.7 at just his second start.

“He was big, all legs and a bit weak, I didn't do much with him at two or three,” Baynes explained.

In November last year, Slate went to his first workout. Later in the month he had his one and only trial, qualified impressively and continues to improve.

“He's shown high speed but is green and inclined to over- race so has led. He's had two front row draws, needs a few trips in behind, they go harder in the next grade so he should get them now.”

By Changeover, Slate is the third foal of Dress to Impress.

“She had a drop of speed but bad feet,” Baynes said. “Her first foal Granite was a nice horse but got injured. Her latest is an American Ideal filly and she shows a bit.”

Sheree Tomlinson didn't know she was driving Fire Bug on Saturday until she saw the fields but didn't waste the opportunity, winning in 1:55.3.

Drawn just one spot in from the outside of the second line, they went back at the start but then found a passage up the poles to soon be three back on the inner. Off the poles near the turn, the three-year-old on debut took time to work clear before finishing hard late.

“I didn't want to push her forward in her first start so went back, I was lucky to get up the inside,” Tomlinson said of the Mach Three filly, “everything was stopping on the turn so I got her out, she did it really easily.”

Fire Bug, from the stable of Mark Jones, was the first of three Canterbury visitors on the day.

Second of the Cantabrians was Classy Kid whose 2:00.3 was the fastest of the winning stand-start times. The striking grey six-year-old, driven by Amber Lethaby - who in partnership with husband Jason also trains the son of Klondike Kid – led out but soon trailed Kiwi Bloke who held the advantage until late in the race.

“He's never been far away and I would have led but the right horse to follow came round,”Amber Lethaby said. “I could have taken the lane but he hasn't sprinted so well in there in previous races so I chose to come off.”

Lethaby named the good stake and shortage of stand-start races in Canterbury as reasons for making the trip south.

Arden Lustre made it three wins for the visitors when winning the final event in 2:01.9. In the hands of Blair Orange, the winner of seven flew out when the stand-start tapes were released and was never headed from then.

 

Mac Henry

for Southland Harness Racing

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