Day At The Track

NZ Cup is now Australia's Cup

07:16 PM 10 Nov 2015 NZDT
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Arden Rooney wins the $765,000 New Zealand Cup from Smolda
Arden Rooney wins the $765,000 New Zealand Cup from Smolda
Race Image Photo
Arden Rooney

Meg and Merv Butterworth have spent a fortune buying and racing horses in New Zealand and today they got a wee bit back when their outstanding stayer Arden Rooney won the holy grail of harness racing in New Zealand, the $765,000 New Zealand Cup.

Away well from barrier eight to an early lead that he never relinquished, Arden Rooney with Kerryn Manning in the bike set a very moderate tempo for the first 2000 metres before the attacks started to come.

First Sky Major appeared and he was quickly followed by Smolda who sat on Arden Rooney's wheel from the 900 metres.
Kerryn Manning upped the ante down the back with a 26.9 quarter with had most gasping by the corner.
Arden Rooney turned for home in front with the only danger being Smolda and these two settled down to fight it out.
Smolda got close but couldn't reel Arden Rooney in and Cup was off to Australia.
The other highlight of the Cup this year was Kerryn Manning becoming the first female driver to salute the judge in New Zealand's premier harness race.
Following closely in the footsteps of Michele Payne's stunning win in the Melbourne Cup last week, Kerryn's win was another milestone for women in racing.
Kerryn was quite emotional post-race.
"This is the greatest thrill in my career."
"I have won Group 1 races before but nothing like this."
"Being wider on the track helped him get away today and once in front nothing came around to challenge us for a long way."
"He did pull a bit but he can do that at times."
"I wasn't sure I was going to hold on until the last wee bit," Kerryn said.
Merv and Meg Butterworth were full of praise for Kerryn and her partner Grant for getting Arden Rooney to the track in such great condition.
"They have done a super job and Meg and I are so pleased for them."
"We sat down twelve months ago and mapped out a program for him and it is so rewarding to see that plan come to fruition."
"The New Zealand Cup might not be as big as the Melbourne Cup to everyone else but it is to us - it is."
"I can't tell how you thrilled Meg and I are to be part of the harness racing scene in New Zealand, Merv said.
One of the nicest things to happen to the media at Addington today was Merv, Meg and Kerryn took time out straight after the Cup to come to the Media room and answer the countless questions we threw at them.
It was much appreciated and something they should be applauded for.
Harnesslink Media
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