Day At The Track
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Tonights win by Best Western in the $125,000 Great Northern Oaks was not only a surprise to the punters but a surprise to the owner Dr A Grierson who was not on track for the win, but instead was out fishing at the time of his fillies victory. Trained by Jeremy Young at Pukekohe and superbly driven by Saliesh Abernethy, Best Western (Bettor's Delight - First Western) was unwanted in the betting market paying $38.00 to win, but the nuggety filly dug deepest in the run to the judge and got home to win by a neck, clipping more than half a second of the New Zealand 2700m record in the process. The winning time of 3-16.4 beat the old record of 3-17.1 set by Bonnie Joan in the 2017 Southland Oaks final and equated to a 1-57.0 mile rate. Bettor's Delight sired the first four runners home in the race with all four fillies going under the previous New Zealand record for the 2700m Mobile. Best Western winning the 2019 Pascoes The Jewelers Northern Oaks Earlier in the night the Barry Purdon trained Jack's Legend won the Gr3 The Founders in a 1-52.8 mile rate beating stablemate Mach Shard by half a neck. Smooth Deal won the sixth heat of the Breckon Farm Young Guns series for colts and geldings in 1-56.3 for driver Tim Williams and the All Stars Stables. All Stars also won the Derby Prelude with Jesse Duke who convincingly lowered the colours of the previously unbeaten stablemate and favourite Ultimate Sniper.   Harnesslink Media

Kelvin Entwisle never knew he was a winner yesterday (Sunday). The Christchurch owner was swimming with his children when he got the good news. Entwisle owns the Majestic Son trotter, Mighty Sunny, and when he went to watch his gelding race, the 6-year-old had already notched up his third consecutive victory. This time the Todd Mitchell trained and Sailesh Abernethy driven Mighty Sunny won on the Stratford grass from 30 metres behind – just three days after he did the same off the front-line on the New Plymouth grass. Those wins were both as the $2 and $1.90 favourites respectively. On February 12 Mighty Sunny won at Wanganui as an $11 fifth favourite. “I was rapt when I heard the news. I haven’t even seen the race yet but I will watch it on HRNZ later. I got the starting time wrong. That’s three straight wins on the grass now. “I think that’s where he’s at his best. It’s a shame there’s only the Hawera grass track meeting left this season. He obviously likes the grass,” he said. “He’s on the market. I’m sure he’d do a super job in Aussie,” added Entwisle, who bought Mighty Sunny off Jason Teaz two Decembers ago. Mighty Sunny notched up his seventh career win in 54 starts in the $7,000 Brian Darth Funeral Services Handicap for the R48 to R70 trotters. Abernethy took him around to dispute the lead on the far turn and when Grey Stoke (Peter Ferguson) broke underneath him he was left clear on the turn. Mighty Sunny held out second favourite War Machine (David Butcher) by half a length and trotted the 2600m stand in 3:33.9 (mile rate 2:12.4). His final sectionals were 63.3 and 32.5. Entwisle praised the work Mitchell had done leading into Mighty Sunny’s hatrick. “Todd has done a good job and so did his previous trainer, Andrew Grant, who put in all the early ground work. Both must be applauded for the great job they have done with the horse. “He’s got an R75 rating now so I’d say Todd will just keep him truckin’ around Cambridge because the horse doesn’t go very well the other way around,” said Entwisle. Meanwhile, the Nicky Chilcott trained and driven Everything claimed the feature event – the $10,000 Quintin Oakes Builders Stratford Cup for the R60 and faster pacers. The Sands A Flyin gelding was the $3.40 favourite. It was the brown 5-year-old’s sixth win in 12 starts. He’s also placed three times. It was also his second Country Cups win this season after nailing the Otaki Cup on January 29. Everything, who is out of the seven-win ($45, 478) Camtastic mare For The Girls, is owned by the Summer Fun Number 1 Syndicate. “We formed the Syndicate because a lot of people wanted me to get them involved in racing. We have had a wee bit of success to date but nothing major. This horse just tops it all off," Chilcott said. Everything paced the 2600m stand in 3:31.6 (mile rate 2:10.9) with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 60.3 and 29.6. Fleeting Grin (Ferguson) and second favourite Kenrick (David Butcher were second and third a neck and a head away. All three started from the 10m handicap. Everything was bred by Hambletonian Limited.  Duane Ranger

Champion harness racing reinsman Dexter Dunn may be home and hosed in the National Drivers’ Premiership, but the battle among the juniors is still on in earnest. And although Samantha Ottley’s recent link up with the powerful Dunn stable has made her a warm favourite to take this year’s junior drivers’ title, a double from Sailesh Abernethy at Cambridge last night has brought him right back into contention. Abernethy, who is now on 41 wins, just one win behind Ottley, guided Hudey Haxwell to an all of the way victory in the first race on the card, before doubling the dose in the fourth event when adopting similar tactics aboard the Andrew Grant trained Heart Of Jessie. Abernethy has three drives at Alexandra Park tonight, while Ottley, who has already set a record for the most wins by a junior female reinswoman in a season, has numbers on her side, with five drives at Forbury Park tonight and six drives at Rangiora on Sunday. Meanwhile, Amatuer driver Michelle Northcott nearly pulled off a remarkable double when finishing second aboard Easy For Cullen in the last race on the card.  The dual-coded Northcott, who is employeed by Graeme Rogerson, had earlier in the day flown down to Otago’s Wingatui Thoroughbred meeting, where she was victorious in an amatuer riders’ event aboard a galloper she owns herself in Mr Nobody. By Mitchell Robertson  

Top junior horsewoman Samantha Ottley crept within one win of Sailesh Abernethy in the Junior Drivers’ premiership when guiding Secret Lotion to victory at Nelson yesterday. In doing so, she also notched up her first win for Robert and John Dunn, after recently joining forces with the powerful Woodened Beach stable. “Colin (DeFilippi) is pretty quiet at the moment so he had a chat to John Dunn and suggested that I go and work for them for a while to increase my chances of winning the Junior Drivers’ premiership,” said Ottley. ”I am very grateful to Colin and Julie and of course the Dunns for giving me this opportunity,” said Ottley. “It’s my last season as a junior so it’s now or never as far as winning the premiership goes,” she added. Ottley now sits on 38 wins for the season with North Island reinsman Saliesh Abernethy on 39. Brad Williamson currently sits in third with 29 wins to date. “I really wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of Colin (DeFillipi),”advised Ottley. “He has been my mentor and continues to help me achieve the best results possible,” she enthused. The Dunns have done a bit of a swap with the DeFilippi stable and have sent junior horsewoman Loren Lester to work for DeFilippi stable during Ottley’s absence. “I just hope it works out well for everyone in the finish,” concluded Ottley. Meanwhile, the Nelson Winter Cup Prelude, was taken out by Beckinsale, who clung on win over the fast-finish Fifth Edition at odds of $38.30 and $7.40. Other impressive winners on the day included debut maiden winners Wesley Silcox and Robbie Burns, both whom should have no problems measuring up in C1 company on Sunday. By Mitchell Robertson

Hunterville horsewoman Abbie Bligh enjoyed her first training success when Sunbrite upset at huge odds of $65.70 & $10.20 at Wanganui yesterday. Bligh, who has been involved in the racing industry for 20 odd years, got her trainers earlier in the season. She had started Sunbrite, the only horse she has in work, four times before yesterday’s win. “It was a huge thrill and a very exciting day,” said Bligh. Bligh said that the win did come as a bit of a surprise, although she did think Sunbrite’s prior run hinted a win was on the horizon. “He went really well when he finished fourth at Manawatu, so I was hopeful he could finish in the money yesterday.” “He is usually a good beginner so I told Saliesh (Abernethy) to head straight to the front. In the end he gave him a great trip,” she added Megan Teaz drove Sunbrite in his first three starts for Bligh, but when she couldn’t drive the gelding at Manawatu on Thursday, Bligh asked Abernethy to take the reins. Bligh gained experience with horses working for Trevor Harris in Bulls before working for Stephen Doody about nine years ago. She has since been back working for Harris, but is now employed by Scott Dickson. “Scott has been great and really encouraged me to get my licence,” said Bligh. “He previously trained Sunbrite and told me he would be a great one first horse for me to train. After yesterday, I’m guessing he was right.” Ferguson father & son Quinella Peter Ferguson and son Dylan combined with Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard for their first Quinella yesterday. Dylan Ferguson, who works for Rogerson and Blanchard, ranged up strongly with Change Gear and the 200 metres and looked the winner, but dad was only foxing, kicking back strongly with stable newcomer Spectacular to win by a neck at the line. Meanwhile, grass track specialist Millview Sarah was successful in the Wanganui Cup. By Mitchell Robertson    

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