Day At The Track

Tracking to glory

09:19 PM 23 Aug 2018 NZST
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Obi One,Harness racing
Obi One onto bigger things after recent Bathurst victory.

OWNER Steve Hunt spends his working life doing the driving duties on interstate trains, heading north to Sydney or south to Melbourne from Junee Station, near his Cootamundra hometown.

After the stunning Australian debut of his part-owned two-year-old Obi One NZ, at Gold Crown Paceway Bathurst on Wednesday night, he might soon be making those trips as a passenger, to tackle the Victoria and New South Wales Derby races.

What a capital idea!

In the Betterthancheddar 2YO Pace, the McArdle gelding came out of the gate like the Southern Aurora, before handing up to Roger That which maintained the speed to run a lead time of 46.2 seconds.

That’s an exceptionally quick lead time at Bathurst for any horse over the 2260 metres race distance, but especially so for two-year-olds having their first try at the distance.

A first half in 60.1s was followed by a slick 28.6s third quarter as Brad Hewitt kept the leader running, but then Amanda Turnbull switched Obi One to the outside, rather than waiting for the sprint lane, and he roared away down the straight to win by an ever-increasing margin of 23 metres.

His final sectional of 28.2s produced a mile rate of 1:56.1, seldom bettered by open-class horses at the circuit, and it completely obliterated the 2YO record of 2:01.7 set by Heavenly Shades three years ago.

“There’s your Derby favourite !” was the admiring comment from Mat Rue as he headed out to the parade ring for the following race.

The youngster had placed at his only NZ start back in June, and his breeder has retained a half-share in the horse, joining a number of Turnbull stable regulars in the new ownership.

It was only last Friday that the horse arrived at Amanda Turnbull’s Lagoon stables. On Monday he had an easy outing in an experience trial to check out the track and mobile, and on Wednesday - remarkably just five days after saying goodbye to his Kiwi stablemates- he was winning in Oz.

Mat Rue’s appraisal of the budding star was based on performance, but he would be equally enthusiastic about the youngster’s breeding : his grand-dam Fleet Vance is a half to Alldatglittersisgold, the dam of millionaire Bling It On and a wonderful mare in Baby Bling which Rue drove to success in a Miracle Mile.

Steve Jones- whose 25-strong horse portfolio includes rising star Ellmers Image and this week’s ABC aspirant Our Positano - and his fellow owners look to have something special in their latest acquisition.

In other news from the meeting, Mackayler Barnes took her season’s tally to 22 after a driving double - her first at her home track - with Stitched Up and Jedda Shannon, earning racecaller Fred Hastings’ Drive of the Night award for the latter. Her smile was bigger than ever.


TERRY NEIL

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