Forbury Park has a second to none chance of being named the favourite track of the three-year-old Steph's Caesar who has scored three of his four career wins on the Dunedin circuit and - in only four starts there - has the record of three wins and a second.
Driven tonight (2 July) by his part-trainer Terry Chmiel, Steph's Caesar went from barrier three while Dexter Dunn's charge Born Again Courage drew one. As the mobile barrier pulled away from the 2200m start, Born Again Courage shot out to lead and Chmiel was able to get Steph's Caesar into the trail.
That was the order until the 350m when Steph's Caesar left the pegs went up to challenge. He eventually got the upper hand and scored by a neck.A half-brother to the trotting winner Lively Step, Steph's Caesar is from the family of the good winners Seafield Raider and Seafield Inca. Steph's Caesar has continued a good first season for the training partnership of Chmiel and his wife Glenys, who previously trained with her father Bryce Buchanan.
The Chmiels have prepared the winners of 12 races from just a few more than a hundred starters.
A week ago, Hamish Hunter trained the winners of two races at Forbury Park and went from 19 to 21 winners for the season. In the process he leapfrogged Murray Brown who with 20 winners had been in second place on the table of the most successful Southland-based trainers this season.
But in the second last at Forbury Park tonight, Brown took the advantage back from Hunter when Alicat became his 21st winner of the term. In the hands of Matthew Williamson, Alicat was four and five back on the poles during the running and in the last three across the top. But on the turn, the seas parted, Alicat got a charmed run up the lane and it was game over.
Hunter though was not to be out-done. He had Sea King in the last, winner of last week's junior driver's race in the hands of Jordan Compain. With only three behind him on settling in the 2200m mobile contest, Hunter was soon on the move. He had Sea King in the parked position all of 1400m out yet the four-year-old didn't flinch in the run home and scored by a neck.
Forbury Park results: races nine to eleven
RACE 9 - TWO WINS MOBILE PACE
inner: Steph's Caesar; Sire:; Trainers: Terry and Glenys Chmiel; Driver: Terry Chmiel
RACE 10 - ONE AND TWO WINS FOUR-YEAR-OLD AND OLDER MOBILE PACE
inner: Alicat; Sire:; Trainer: Murray Brown; Driver: Nathan Williamson
RACE 11 -ONE AND TWO WINS PACE
inner: Sea King; Sire:; Trainer: Hamish Hunter; Driver: Hamish Hunter