Day At The Track

Wairio Cup to Franco Tristan

11:45 AM 18 Dec 2016 NZDT
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Craig Thornley driving a Steven McRae trained runner

Overcoming adversity was a common theme among a number of winners at Winton on Sunday including the Otautau Four Square Supermarket Wairio Cup victor Franco Tristan.

The four year old's driver Craig Thornley pointed out after the win that despite winning a trial as a two year old, Franco Tristan had a wind problem which required an operation. It kept him away from competition for more than a year but the wait was worth it and he made a winning debut on 29 July.

The Cup was his third win in eight starts since and helped his West Melton co-owner Ken McRae celebrate his 70th birthday. Former Southlander McRae, whose son Steven trains Franco Tristan, had reached the milestone on Wednesday.

The Roxburgh Cup is the next target for Franco Tristan.

Lamborne Road bounced back from a lung infection to race for the first time since February and win the SBS Mobile. The Wayne Adams-trained five year old, raced by Joe and Raeleen Thompson, Niki and Stephen Keast, won two in his first five-race campaign but flopped in his second.

“He always had ability but was training well and racing poorly,” Adams said.

So Lamborne Road went for a spell on the Keast property at Myross Bush, where he began frothing at the nose and got very sick.

“It was hard to get a diagnosis,” Niki Keast, a qualified nurse said. “It was caused by e-coli and pseudomonas. He had six weeks of antibiotics and nursing then we turned him out to grow.”

From 11 off the gate, Lamborne Road clocked 2:54.6 in his comeback win.

Somejoy, the first foal of group two Southland Oaks winner Jumpforjoy, made a winning debut in the Highway Services Invercargill Fillies and Mares C0 Mobile. Jumpforjoy had raced and won at two but Somejoy didn't even get to the workouts until August this year, by which time she was three.

“She had an immature throat at two,” Barron said, “she was turned out and it got better.”

The Somebeachsomewhere filly is raced by the Miracle Lodge Syndicate of which Barron and Ashburton accountant Eric Parr are the principal members. Barron said he has four by the sire and they can all run, as can members of her dam's family.

“It's a good breed but they don't usually show it till raceday,” Barron explained.

A fortnight before winning her debut on Saturday in 1:55.4, Somejoy had won on the grass at the Balfour picnic meeting in the hands of Barron's daughter Ellie. 

Invercargill trainer Brent Shirley produced his first winner of the season when Fiddlethefool won the Ryal Bush Transport Ltd Pace. Earlier this season, Shirley's team was affected by a virus. Fiddlethefool was among them and the first to show he was over it.

A four year old entire, he is the fourth winner from the Holmes Hanover mare Glowing Hanover whose grand-dam Bonnie Countess is the dam of 1982 New Zealand Cup winner Bonnie's Chance.

After closing the door of his class-room for the year on Thursday, Central Southland College school teacher and junior driver Jamie Campbell's attention immediately turned to his passion for harness racing. 

By two 'o clock on Saturday, he'd driven his second winner in six days, and third for the season from just nine drives. Later in the day, Campbell claimed a second placing in his only other drive.

Campbell's specialist subjects are physical education and agriculture, and while a student at Canterbury University, he also spent time with Colin and Julie de Filippi. The 25 year old is showing now the benefits of the grounding he received there and his recent success has created an appetite for more.

“I hope it helps me get more drives, I love it,” Campbell said, “that winning feeling, it's great.”

During the early school holiday period, Campbell says he'll have more time to help out trainers and fellow drivers Craig Ferguson and Kirstin Barclay. After Christmas he has an option to work for Amber Hoffman at Waikouaiti for a few weeks.

Campbell's winner on Saturday was Rocking Robyn in the Southland Vehicle Sales Junior Drivers Mobile Pace. The son of Christian Cullen and New Zealand Oaks winner Robyn's Treasure had been successful on the track six days earlier after leading for the final 1700 metres. Following the same recipe on Saturday, Rocking Robyn held the opposition out again and clocked a track record-equalling 2:54.1.

In an extraordinary coincidence, the time was identical to the track record for males set six days earlier by Rocking Robyn's stablemate and close relative Robyn's Bad Boy.

Campbell's other drive for the day was aboard trotter Spotlight The Valley in the Transport Services Ltd Junior Drivers Handicap. Always in contention, the pair challenged the leader Astral Ruler strongly in the run to the line but came up half a neck short in second place.

Canterbury trainers David Mitchell, Nigel McGrath, Brent White and Steven McRae each had a win and Blair Orange drove two of them. With winning drives on Pick My Pocket and Franco Hamilton, Orange was the only driver to pick up two for the day.

Mac Henry

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