Day At The Track

Sons of Christian Cullen into the Sires Final

10:33 AM 26 Oct 2012 NZDT
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Mark Jones Nigel McGrath
Mark Jones
File Photo
Nigel McGrath
File Photo

They say that patience is rewarded in time, and that just may be the case with the Nigel McGrath trained Classiesistar, who was ultra impressive taking out tonight's (Friday October 26) sixth and final harness racing heat of the NRM Sires Stakes. The victory made it four wins from as many starts.

"He curbed a hock as a young horse, so we gave him plenty of time to recover from that, we then bought him up for the Sales Series Consolation, before giving him another stint in the spelling paddock, and that is now starting to pay dividends." said his West Melton trainer Nigel McGrath

With a lot of pre race talk about Alta Christiano (by Christian Cullen) heading to the top and dictating, Mark Jones decided to take the bull by the horns and launch Classiesistar to the front from his wide alley, opening up with a sizzling lead time of 22.5 seconds.

This subsequently left Alta Christiano parked, where he hung badly and galloped when entering the back straight with post race speculations saying the expensive West Australian purchase may have a possible pastern injury.

Classiesistar looked like he was going to be playing second fiddle when Franco Nelson ranged up stylishly on the outside, but fought gamely for a nose victory, with last season's Harness Jewels runner up Mighty Flying Mac finishing in third place.

The race was run in a very tidy 2-21.5, with sectionals of 57.9 and 28.3 respectively.

"There is no point being unlucky in a Sires Stakes Heat, especially when it's the last one, nothing really came out that good inside us, and there were a few queries over Alta Christiano, so I thought I may as well go forward and have a look for the front," said driver Mark Jones.

"Nigel actually told me before I drove him here last week, that the one place I don't want to be is in front, as he is too lazy when he is leading, and I led and won on him then and again tonight, so imagine how good he is from in behind" laughed Jones

"Tonight's actually only the second time he has been in front in his life, I work him in behind at home as he is such a laid-back horse and usually won't run in front," said McGrath.

"I really don't know how good this horse is, as he is still very much untapped because of his laid-back attitude." He added

Classiesistar is owned by John Wolfe, who also owned the 2000 Interdominion champion Shakamaker.

Classiesistar was Nigel's third winner of the night having won the main open pace with Beaudiene Christian, who downed Sleepy Tripp in a stunning 3.10 for the 2600m trip, and then again, with Chechnya.

"It was great to get the colours on, because if you can't beat them, you may as well join them," Quipped Jones.

The run of the second-place getter Franco Nelson (by Christian Cullen) was also very meritorious.

"He has gone super; he probably was one run short, and we had to go earlier than I would have liked as we got shoved out four wide down the back, but take nothing away from the winner, he had to burn the candle at both ends," said driver Craig Thornley.

by Mitchell ROBERTSON


Top Trainer: Cran Dalgety 4 wins.

Top Driver: Dexter Dunn 4 wins.

Top Sire: Sundon and Christian Cullen 2 wins each.

Top Junior Driver: Samantha Ottley and Matthew Williamson 1 win each.

Results from the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club's meeting raced at Addington Raceway in Christchurch this evening (Friday October 26, 2012) were:

Race 1: The Rodger Austin trained LIVE JAZZ (Live Or Die) Ken Barron.

Race 2: The Cran Dalgety trained HUBIE HUDSON (Sundon) Dexter Dunn.

Race 3: The Terry & Glenys Chmiel trained LITTLE TESS (Julius Caesar) David Butt.

Race 4: The Nigel McGrath trained and driven BEAUDIENE CHRISTIAN (Christian Cullen).

Race 5: The Cran Dalgety trained DONEGAL STARELLA (Presidential Ball) Dexter Dunn.

Race 6: The Nigel McGrath trained CHECHNYA (Western Terror) Samantha Ottley (j).

Race 7: The Nigel McGrath trained CLASSIESISTER (Christian Cullen) Mark Jones.

Race 8: The Cran Dalgety trained OUTLAW (Bettor's Delight) Dexter Dunn.

Race 9: The Murray Tapper trained PHIL'S GIFT (Sundon) Matthew Williamson (j).

Race 10: The Robert Dunn trained RADAR (Falcon Seelster) Dexter Dunn.

Extensive results.

Classiesistar winning tonight's Sires Stakes sixth heat:

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