Day At The Track

South of the Waitaki Winter Warmer Series

09:12 AM 05 Jul 2017 NZST
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Addington,harness racing
Winter racing at Addington

The South of the Waitaki Winter Warmer Series wouldn't be the same without Brendon McLellan and although he is down on numbers this year, he will be represented when the first of three heats is run at Addington on Friday night.

McLellan all but made last year's final his own, winning it with Mr Handleman and running third and fourth with Luciano and Vera's Delight. On the way, he also won two of the heats and one of the heat winners, Vera's Delight will be carrying the stable colours again this July.

A seven-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight, she finished third, first and fifth in the three heats and McLellan is looking for more of the same.

“She should be competitive again,” he said.

Brett Gray produced Northview Betta to run fifth in the final last year and hopes El Capitan can improve on that this year. The Elsu four-year-old has a rating of 58 and his thirds last month at Invercargill and Oamaru point to a good showing on Friday.

Stablemate and rating 54 mare Machjagger will also race at Addington on Friday. Gray plans to bypass the series this week but might line her up in the later heats.

His current tally of 20 pacing and six trotting winners this season places him third behind Phil Williamson (42 trotters and one pacer) and Graeme Anderson (33 pacers) on the winner's table for trainers in the region.

The series is for pacers assessed at up to rating 60 as of Monday 3, July who since May 1, have been with a trainer based south of the Waitaki River. To run in the final on July 28, a horse must compete in or be eliminated from at least two of the heats on 7, 14 and 21 July. The first and third heats will be over 1950 metres, the second heat and final over 2600 metres, and all will be mobile starts.

Anderson said he is down to five in work at the moment and has nothing of that rating ready.

Fourth on the table is Williamson's son Nathan (17 trotters and three pacers). Gangnam Style won the first heat for Williamson last year before finishing eighth in the second and being scratched from the final. Williamson hoped to have the rating 58 four-year-old on hand this year but is not sure now.

“He finished second at Forbury Park last week but it was just an average second,” he said, “I'm getting tests done and he'll only go if his health is ok. Toby O'Gara is a possible but he'll probably go to the paddock after Forbury Park this week.”

Tony Stratford has rating 56 filly Jody Direen primed for the heat on Friday and unbeaten Especial in another race, before joining the series a week later.

“It's just so they are not against each other the first week,” Stratford said. “I'm very happy with them, they're both quality horses and have trained up to the mark. It is their first trip away but they are both good eaters and doers.”

Craig Ferguson said the second line draw didn't help No More Change at Timaru on Sunday but he was pleased with the way she hit the line and looking forward to her over 1950 metres at Addington on Friday night. He'll also have Mordecai in the race, considers the six-year-old a “run or to away” but likely to improve through the series. Ferguson will handle No More Change himself with Sheree Tomlinson in charge of Mordecai.

Melina Lowe, a winner at the final Invercargill meeting of the season before missing at Forbury Park, will represent Kirk Larsen on Friday.

“Her last start was in the sprint series (1200 metres) at Forbury Park and she never got into it,” Larsen said. “The 1950 will suit better, she's a rating 55 so these are ideal races for her.”


Mac Henry

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