"It was good to finally get the monkey off my back and get a bit of stress off the shoulders;" the first words harness racing trainer Kirstin Barclay said after Just Say Go and Don't Pass I'm Fast won consecutive races at Winton today. Just Say Go in the hands of junior reinsmans Jamie Campbell won the John Keenan Memorial Mobile Pace comfortably by one and three quarter lengths. "I was pretty confident. He raced well first up at Invercargill in the slush with a hopeless draw and ran on strongly. We took him to Balfour last weekend and again he ran home strongly. It was a poor field today so we were confident." The win was Campbell's second in his career. "It was great to get the win for Jamie. He's been a big help to us over the years. If we've ever been stuck we could always ring him and he'd come and give us a hand." In the next race Don't Pass I'm Fast beat the claimers, running the mile in 1-59.9. After a nice trip driver Andrew Suddaby eased the Art Official mare out of the one one and took the lead at the top of the straight. She held on to beat favourite Longevity by three quarters of a length. Don't Pass I'm Fast winning Photo Bruce Stewart "Shes improving all the time. I really liked her early on after she showed a lot in track work but didn't show up on the racetrack. We've changed the way we train her. We've backed right off her. She used to cop a fair bit of work because she's a big strong looking horse. Andrew, who helps us out, suggested that maybe we try going the other way. She often has a day off before the races. She does very little." Don't Pass I'm Fast is out of the Wingspread mare Fast Winger. She also left the ill-fated Almost A Christian which won four of his eight starts and Still Laughin the winner of seven for Ken and Clark Barron. Don't Pass I'm Fast returning to the birdcage Photo Bruce Stewart Both Just Say Go and Don't Pass I'm Fast are owned by Tom Kilkelly. Don't Pass I'm Fast won the Regent Car Court Claimers Mobile Pace. Regent Car Court is owned by Kilkelly so it was a great result. Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing
Trainer Greg Hunter was beginning to wonder if his first harness racing winner from his new training base at Kennington was ever going to come but yesterday at the Northern Southland meeting Bettor's Delight mare Simple Pleasure provided the answer. It was the five year old's first start in her second season of racing but a good performance at the Invercargill Workouts last Saturday indicated she would be tough to roll. "Yeah I did think she'd be hard. She ran a half in 54.4 that day and I thought she would improve with the run. I didn't think she'd go 2-41 today all the same but Greg's horses are always pretty fit and she's tough so it was a good effort," said driver Andrew Suddaby. The early pace was set by Red Electric before Manuka Valley and Clark Barron took up the role. Then Suddaby and Simple Pleasure took over which wasn't the pre-race intent. "It wasn't really but it was just where we ended up. Clark had to do a bit to get there so I thought he may have been looking for a trail. We just put our eggs in one basket, had a go and got it. Once she got to the front I thought she'd be pretty hard to beat. I looked around at the half to ease up a bit and give her a bit of a breather but they were all dropping off so I thought I might as well press on. At the 800 metres I thought she had them in big trouble." Simple Pleasure held on to beat a late charge from first starter Debnita Rose running the 2200 metres is a swift 2-41.6. Simple Pleasure returning to the birdcage Photo by Bruce Stewart Simple Pleasure is out of the five win Miles McCool mare Cool Ripple which Hunter also trained. Suddaby reined her to win four of those starts. "She may not have the speed of her mother but she's definitely tougher so she's got a lot more wins in her yet. She's got a good attitude to try and a will to win." Bruce Stewart Southland Harness Racing
Early last year former Canterbury horseman Brent Lilley pulled off a harness racing masterstroke. In just 18 months the 35-year-old has gone from an average Kiwi conditioner who had never trained more than 23 winners in 12 seasons - to one of Australia's best.