Day At The Track

Tony gets two

08:48 AM 25 Sep 2017 NZDT
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Benio Ben,Harness racing
Benio Ben winning at Ascot Park
Photo Emma McSoriley

Gore trainer Tony Stratford is on a bit of a roll.

Early into the new season he has four winners on the board from just sixteen starters.

The latest two winners came at Invercargill yesterday when Macandrew Majic and Benio Ben won their respective races.

Macandrew Majic easily won the More FM Mobile Pace by eight and a half lengths. 

"I've had him since we were up at Macca Lodge. His first start was a duck egg but he galloped away from a stand and took no part. He ran third at his next start and fifth at Forbury when they ran 2-41.0. At his next start be was pulled up because he fractured a hind pastern. It was quite bad. Brendon Bell did the op and we just wanted to save him and look after him. He's got four or five screws in his leg and he was out for six months" said Stratford.

This was the five year old's first start for eleven months and it was a very good training feat by Stratford who readied the gelding for yesterdays race with just two workouts. 

"When we kicked off again we didn't have any problems with him. He had a good workout at Gore which he won in good time and we had a quiet run around at Winton. I was expecting a bold run."

Macandrew Majic is part owned by Megan Tutty (nee Reidie) who used to work for Murray Brown. She shares in the ownership with her parents and two brothers.

Meanwhile one of the early season finds in Southland, Benio Ben also trained by Stratford continued on his winning way when he won the Net Ten EOM at Macca Lodge Mobile Pace.

It was the four year old's second win this season. Driven by Matty Williamson the gelding began well to lead before handing up to Rockaball. Williamson then came out of the trail to take up the running. The winning margin at the end of the 2200 metre journey was a length over Rockaball.

"He went awesome. I wasn't expecting too much to be fair because it was such a step up. I said to the owners if he ran in the top four I'd be happy," said Stratford.

The time was a slick 2-41.8 with the last half run in 57 seconds and the final quarter in 28.5.  

"He burnt twice in the first six hundred metres and held them out easily really." 


In the birdcage - Photo Emma McSoriley 

The first Southland Nuggets Final at the Northern Southland Meeting at Ascot Park is Benio Ben's next target and then Stratford will look at the South of the Waitaki race on Show Day during Cup week.

"I always thought he was a pretty nice horse but he was disappointing when he qualified so we biffed him out. This year he hasn't worked super at home but he's doing it when it matters (on raceday)."

The Gotta Go Cullect gelding was bred by Alan Steel, Stratford's uncle and his good friend Trevor McCall. 

"He's got a real high cruising speed. Most horses when they're running halves in a minute you know they are. He's doing it as though you're running a half in ten. A bit like Pulp Fiction."


Bruce Stewart
Southland Harness racing


Benio Ben winning at Ascot Park

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