Day At The Track

Special Cup win for Conroy, Barby

04:17 AM 15 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Porthaul Hamilton Trotters Cup winner Regal Pepperell with driver Anne-Maree Conroy
Porthaul Hamilton Trotters Cup winner Regal Pepperell with driver Anne-Maree Conroy in the sulky.

When Regal Pepperell began badly in today’s Porthaul Hamilton Trotters Cup the mare’s supporters wouldn’t have known how much a blessing it would end up. “It’s very lucky she bungled the start, which put me three-back,” harness racing winning driver Anne-Maree Conroy said.

“I was thinking I’d be behind the leader, and if I’d been behind the leader I think the leader would have stopped and I wouldn’t have got out in time. I just got out in time because of the luck of being three-back, so it worked out well.”

Regal Pepperell rated 2:03.7 in winning today’s squaregaiting feature event at Hamilton on Cup Day, defeating Crown Dream (Neil McCallum) by 3.7 metres after the pair engaged in a stirring duel.  Last year’s Trotters Cup winner El Paco finished third beaten 28.4m for Taleah McMullen.

Trained by Conroy’s husband, Michael Barby, today’s win meant plenty for the tightknit team. Conroy’s father, trots legend Bob Conroy, passed away tragically last month.

“This was special,” Anne-Maree said post-race today. “I’m very thrilled. Sometimes I think Dad’s giving me a bit of a push.”

Bred by Geoff Hood, Regal Pepperell is one of six winners out of mare Special Code from seven at the races. “She’s the last one out of Special Code for Geoff,” Anne-Maree said.

“She’s always had a rocky gait, which has seen her lose races and lose races on protest because she trots rough, but Mick’s been trying lots of different things.

“The last start (a win at Geelong) was the best she’s ever trotted. She’s gone one better today and won a big race. Hopefully fingers crossed he might have sorted her out.”

Race favourite My Skypocket finished in fourth place after losing about 50m at the start. The first four over the line spaced the remainder, with Super Zeck fifth (107.9m behind the winner) winning what basically became a race within the race, beating home Mister Oz, Mister Gunsen and the resuming local Irish Whisper. 

Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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