Day At The Track
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By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk    Junior driver Ellie Barron’s hoping a change of scene will equate to a chance of luck, with the Southlander moving north for a short stint at Mark Jones’ Burnham stables. “I was just keen to learn a bit more, especially for a stable that’s always supportive of junior drivers.” On Sunday at Addington she will team up with his trotter Kowhai Sundown as she tries to secure her first driving success since winning in Invercargill on March 1. That followed four winners in February. “I felt like I was on a bit of a roll before Covid ….” Barron has had the odd spell in Canterbury before, working for her uncle Ken Barron. This time she’s staying with him  - “we’re flatmates” -  and working at Jones’ Overport Lodge just down the road. Barron’s best known for her quick actions that saved fellow driver Ricky May’s life after he collapsed during the Central Otago Cup at Omakau in January.  A trained physiotherapist she performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived.   Just how long she’ll be in Canterbury is uncertain. She says it’s just “for the time being” with the likely scenario she’ll return south in the spring. “All of dad’s (Clark Barron) horses have been turned out but by the end of September/October they will be ready to rumble.” In the meantime she’s looking forward to driving some of Jones’ horses, the likes of Burnham Boy, Plutonium Lady, Lulu Le Mans and Willison. But firstly it’s Kowhai Sundown, a winner two starts back for Sam Ottley, before a seventh last Sunday.   “He was just too far off them last start, he’s back to mobile on Sunday” He has won from a mobile before, by four lengths, though it was two years ago  ( 2018 Haras des Trotteurs 2YO trot silver). And another junior driver Mikayla Lewis has also moved stables. She’s linked up with Mark Purdon, Natalie Rasmussen and the rest of the powerful All Stars team at Rolleston.  She’s driven 10 winners since her first in 2018, with the bulk of them for Ashburton trainer Brent White. “Brent got me started in the driving ranks and we did quite well but I needed to look closer to Christchurch. One night we were out socially with Mark and Natalie and Nat said that if a position became available they would be interested if I was and here I am” Lewis’ partner is Nathan Purdon (Mark’s son) who trains in partnership with Cran Dalgety at West Melton. While working at the stables and driving at the trials is her immediate priority, she could well don the stable’s famous colours for the first time on raceday in the new season.

By Jonny Turner Invercargill horsewoman Ellie Barron is being hailed a hero after coming to the aid of fellow harness racing driver Ricky May when the champion reinsman collapsed during a race. May was revived after suffering a medical event, slumping in his sulky and falling to the track when driving A G's White Socks at a Central Otago meeting. He was in a serious but stable condition yesterday in the intensive care unit at Dunedin Hospital. Barron was among the first to May's side after he fell. She began giving CPR on the reinsman with the help of another driver, Lawrence McCormick. Barron is being hailed a hero by many who witnessed the incident. She was quick to deflect any praise and said her concern was for May's recovery. "I am just hoping for the best for Ricky, it is sounding positive from all accounts. I just hope he improves, really." Barron is a trained physiotherapist who has worked with the Southland rugby team. She credited her training for providing her with the skills to help revive May. "He was breathing when I got there, so I was worried about his neck and head. Then we had to change plan a wee bit." Barron also credited the paramedics and off duty medical staff that rushed out of the Omakau crowd to assist May. "It all happened so fast – there were two doctors there in what felt like a minute, then the paramedics came." "Everyone that could help did – it was good – but terrifying at the same time." Ricky May is in intensive care after collapsing during a race. Photo / file An intensive care paramedic played a crucial role in stabilising May, Barron said. "She waltzed in and she was so calm and she sort of just took over. I feel like he was so lucky to have been where he was when it happened. He could have been at home on the tractor." May's horse, A G's White Socks, has drawn praise following Thursday's incident. The 6yr-old is known to be a slightly moody type on race days. That was evident when the horse bolted frantically back to the stables after winning a race at Oamaru in 2016. But the horse did not panic without the control of his driver and angled wide on the track before May fell from his sulky. The remaining horses and drivers were able to easily manoeuvre past May when the race was called off. Canterbury driver John Dunn was driving the horse following A G's White Socks when May collapsed. He showed quick reactions to slow his horse, Heisenberg, when it was apparent May was unwell. Courtesy of The New Zealand Herald

Ellie Barron reckons it's taken a while for Mach Three mare Queen Of The Nite to click onto the racing game. But she feels that by driving her back in the field the well bred mare is gaining more confidence and racing a lot better. "The biggest thing for her is just confidence. Dad tried driving her a couple of times in front and she was galloping and all sorts. It's about putting her to sleep in the race and running her home really," Barron said. From gate five Barron eased Queen Of The Nite back, settling third last. With 750 metres to run she got onto the back of an improving Poldark and progressed forward. She was pushed four wide at the 600 when Jamies Bad Boy pushed out. From there she ran home resolutely down the centre of the track to beat Flogging Molly by half a head.  "She was travelling sweet. She's a lovely horse to drive. I probably would have won a bit easier but she got pushed four wide so she's actually gone very well. I felt I was comfortable 100 (metres) out, then I could just see the ears of Nathan's horse (Flogging Molly) and it was quite close at the finish."  Queen Of The Nite was initially trained by Ken and Tony Barron in Canterbury and was sent south for better opportunities last season. Ellie's mother Jackie took over the ownership in July this year and Queen Of The Nite's form this season has been very solid. "I think she'll be competitive in the next grade as she doesn't mind a bit of distance. The harder they go the happier she is."   Her pedigree is stacked full of winners. Her dam Sirius Flight by Big Dog won all of her five starts in America while her mother, Vance Hanover mare Pacific Flight won a total of forty seven races. Thirty eight of those were in America winning a total of $562,345. Sirius Flight, which is owned by Cavalla Bloodstock has also left Timeless Perfection, the winner of seven and Malak Uswaad which won nine races.    Bruce Stewart

The final stage of the 2018 Airpark Canterbury Cadet of the Year competition is upon us with the four finalists excelling in all of their regional challenges.   Representing Canterbury is the regional winner Ben Hope. Ben, a finalist last year, was a convincing winner who scored highly in all three components of the regional competition.   Travelling up from the Deep South to contest the title this year will be Ellie Barron, the Southern regional winner and the Northern regional winner Luke Whittaker will also make the trip down.   This year along with the three regional winners, the next highest score from all of the competitors would advance through to the final. Olivia Thornley, also from Canterbury, took these honours and will be joining her four counterparts.   All four finalists have displayed a comprehensive range of skills in their horsemanship, driving and all-round general knowledge to set the stage for an exciting and competitive final.   They will now battle it out for the right to call themselves the Airpark Canterbury Cadet of the Year.   The final competition has been designed to call on not only the contestant’s equine knowledge but to also challenge the finalists in a diverse range of practical, theoretical and technical tasks.   Each phase of the competition will be evaluated and marked and the Cadets will earn points for each task based on performance, accuracy and speed. The final will be held throughout Christchurch on Wednesday the 25th of July.   The winner will be announced at the 2018 Annual Harness Racing Awards Function on Saturday the 29th of September this year to be held at Alexandra Park.   For any further information please contact Natalie Gameson on 03) 964 1193 or natalie@hrnz.co.nz   Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator | Harness Racing New Zealand Inc      

Longbush trainer Alan Paisley stole the show with three winners at Ascot Park yesterday (Saturday) when grass track harness racing racing returned to Invercargill after a forty eight year break.   His three winners were; Gotta Good Looker, Glacier Coaster and Overcast. Kirk Larsen drove Gotta Good Looker while Ellie Barron reined Glacier Coaster and Overcast; her first ever driving double. It's the second time Paisley has trained three winners in one day. In December 2006 at Invercargill he won with Mystical Lad, Atom Queen and Glacier Holmes all driven by Alistar Black. Black drove six winners that day. The other two for Wayne Adams were Weka Lass and Jaccka Turbo. Overcast and Ellie Barron too good for Moniburns           - Photo Bruce Stewart. Gotta Good Looker, owned by Paisley and his wife Gail, trailed leader Razcal Alley until the top of the straight and let down nicely to beat Vintage Rose by three quarters of a length. It was the Gotta Go Cullect mare's fifteenth start and first win. She'd been knocking on the door with two thirds in her previous two starts. Three races later the gold and black colours of Paisley were to the fore again when junior driver Ellie Barron got three year old Ohoka Arizona filly Glazier Coaster home in the Waikiwi Tavern Mobile Pace. At her previous start at Winton she'd locked wheels with another horse tipping Barron out of the cart. Glazier Coaster's win was very similar to her stablemate. She trailed the leader Star Reactor until the passing lane. Barron then reined the three year old filly up the passing lane holding on to beat Idol Matinee by a head. Glacier Coaster is out of the unraced Bettor's Delight mare Glacier Delight who is out of the seven win Holmes Hanover mare Bernanne Chip whom Paisley trained in the late 1990s, early 2000s. Her wins included the 2001 Gore Centennial Trotting Cup.  A race later the Paisley - Barron combination was in the winners circle again when Sundon mare Overcast won her eighth race. The eight year old is part-owned by Paisley and long time stable client Kevin Schuck.  Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart. "We've been trying to get her in foal. She been seen by vets and we've mucked around with her so we haven't been able to train her properly. She didn't hold so in the end she had two workouts before Dexter (Dunn) drove her when she won at Gore two starts ago on the grass. She's been working outstandingly at home. She's been racing in the right grade. The system (rating system) has definitely worked for her," said Paisley.  Bruce Stewart  Southland Harness Overcast winning at Ascot Park

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