Day At The Track

Chattanoogachoochoo is the stable star

07:37 PM 27 May 2015 NZST
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Chattanoogachoochoo
Chattanoogachoochoo brought up another century season for Darrel Graham
Dan Costello Photo

Former New Zealand gelding Chattanoogachoochoo is the stable star for harness racing trainer Darrel Graham.

The Fernvale based horseman registered another century season as trainer yesterday (Tuesday) when his Kiwi import raced away to claim victory in a heat of the weekly Seymour Rising Stars Championship at Albion Park.

It’s the third straight season the astute mentor has racked up big numbers.

But he’s quick to deflect the praise.

“It’s a team effort and I’m lucky to have a great support crew; my wife Linda plus Adam Sanderson and my two girls Brittany and Stephanie all provide in many ways and it’s greatly appreciated. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.” Graham said.

Chattanoogachoochoo now looms as a genuine threat in Saturday’s $20,000 final but has drawn poorly yet again while main dangers Alleluia (5) and Floyd Mayweather (1) both drew favourably.

Alleluia rated 1;55.3 in his heat success while Chattanoogachoochoo rated a slightly slower 1;56.6.

“I’ve been really happy with the gelding by Christian Cullen since he arrived from New Zealand but we’re not having much luck with draws and luck in running. His record could easily be a lot better but the wheel will turn and we will be ready to make the most of it when it comes our way.

“His best asset is his speed and he showed that with his victory yesterday, he stood the leader up a tidy start at the top of the stretch and he grabbed him pretty quickly and won comfortably. We’re going to need a genuine speed in the final and hopefully they go hard from the start which will then give us a chance of finishing off late.

“He’s beaten both Alleluia and Floyd Mayweather previously so I know he’s capable but the draw is unkind. Win, lose or draw this weekend, we’re looking at the Premiers Cup with him because he’s a good stand-start horse.”

The Graham family are still on a high following the success of Brittany last weekend when successful in the BOTRA Young Drivers Championship series after edging out Hayden Barnes by a solitary point.

In July, Brittany heads to North America along with Trent Moffat for a month long learning experience attending some of the country’s premier racetracks and training facilities.

They were announced winners of the Mercedes Benz Centenary Classic Young Achievers Award at last year’s Awards night in Brisbane.

Both Darrel and Linda are likely to make the trip to the land of Stars and Stripes in support of their daughter.

by Chris Barsby

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