Day At The Track

Orange low-flying

08:47 AM 07 May 2017 NZST
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Blair Orange

When caught in the shadows of greatness, it can be quite easy to slip under the radar.

So while we once again marvel in the driving supremo that is Dexter Dunn, there’s another who is sitting just back behind him, doing incredible things without much of the same recognition.

And it probably won’t be until August 1, when we take a bit more time to sit back and look at the current season that we release just what Blair Orange has achieved this season as being exceptional.

With 155 winners on the board, Orange is low-flying. He’s just 20 wins behind Dunn on the national premiership and is showing no signs of slowing down from what has been a remarkable season in the sulky.

To put his efforts into context, his current tally would see him win every driver’s premiership bar one if Dexter wasn’t around and come the end of this month that statistic will have improved again to being every premiership in the history of harness racing.

Only Maurice McKendry’s once record breaking effort of 161 winners back in 1989 is better that Orange’s current figure - just six wins shy of McKendry’s mark.

For the past 10 years, where Dunn has dominated, he’s never really been pushed.

His first premiership was won by a mere eight wins over Peter Ferguson, but the rest have been pretty much plain sailing. But this year Orange has pushed Dunn to new levels and despite the 20 win gap heading into racing today, he looks set to continue to nip at the heels of the current world driving champion until deep into the season.

After a good day at Gore yesterday and a tidy night at Addington on Friday, Orange will be looking to add to the tally when he steps out at Rangiora today for a small book of drives which feature some really strong winning chances.

A brace of drives for good mate Paul Court appear to be his leading chances, including the consistent RR Sand Dollar who drops into a very winnable race for her.

Last raced in the Southern Belle Final where she finished fifth behind Break Dance, RR Sand Dollar returns to the stand start today for just the second time in 33 start career but has the ability to overcome that slight hurdle and be a serious player.

Orange also drives Christian Cullen debutant, Artistic Jewel for Court.

The three-year-old filly, who is a half-sister to Classical Art has shown enough at trials to suggest she could be a major player on debut, especially from the one barrier draw.

Maiden trotter, Paradise Spur also gives Orange a good chance of making it three maiden trotting wins for the weekend after Celtic Thunder’s victory on Friday night and then Clover Lady’s yesterday at Gore.

On each of those two occasions Orange showed extreme skill to nurse both horses around and get the best possible result and he’ll need to the same with Paradise Spur who has shown a liking for doing the odd thing wrong in her career.


Rangiora Selections - By Matt Markham

Race 1: 12 -Eja Patron, 14 - Leading The Way, 13- Sweet As, 9- Waihemo Art

Race 2: 12- Woodstone, 11- Jerry Garcia, 1- Sea Rover, 10- Gambling On

Race 3: 15- Hashtag, 2- Green Fingers, 4- Don’t Tell Ange, 10- Spooky

Race 4: 7- I Am Yours, 6- Rocknroll Magic, 1- Handsome Hero, 9- Take After Me

Race 5: 7- Sundees Son, 11- Majestic Man, 4- BJ Lindenny, 9- BD Son

Race 6: 12- Star Commander, 15- Blue Blazer, 16- Spondulicks, 1- Artistic Jewels

Race 7: 5- Just Ben, 7- Magical Mitch, 11- Bella Jones, 9- Midfrew Tarpediem

Race 8: 6- Pirate Bay, 7- Bailey’s Knight, 3- Sky City King, 12- Classie Margaret

Race 9: 4- Redwood Invasion, 1- Sarah Palin, 9 Xmas Joyella, 11- Cuddly Jess

Race 10: 10- Smithy, 5- RR Sand Dollar, 8- Franco Tai, 4- Ceemerock

Race 11: 7- Novak, 12- Bontz, 5- Bird Of Paradise, 4- That’s Bettor

Best Bet: I Am Yours (Race 4)

Value: Hashtag (Race 3)

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