Hometown Hunter Handicap Win For Todd

Hometown Hunter Handicap Win For Todd.

Bruce Stewart

Wyndham born and bred trainer Regan Todd won the feature pacing race of the day at Wyndham today when seven year old Art Major gelding Swamp Major won the time honoured Hunter Family Handicap Pace.

Driver Kirstin Barclay settled Swamp Major third behind early pacemaker Benio Ben.

“He began super and we settled three back, and he was absolutely charging,” Barclay said.

With 1500 metres to run Robbie Close took stablemate Bringitonhome forward and reached the front with 1250 metres to run. At that point Barclay moved Swamp Major off the inside running line and got the gelding into gear with designs on the lead.

“When the other horse galloped (Yorkshire) I thought we might as well not be unlucky. When I saw the stablemate go to the front I was hoping he’d let me go.”

By the 600 Swamp Major, Robyns Playboy and Bringitonhome had shot clear of the rest of the field. Barclay began chasing up the big gelding and he responded gamely, holding out and late charging Triroyale Brigade by a length and a quarter.

“He was actually travelling okay at the end but he switched off because he had no horses around him. He felt like he had a bit left in the tank but I had to throw the reins at him to keep him interested.”

The winning time for the 2400 metres was 2-58.8 with the last 800 metres run in 60.1 seconds.

“Wasn’t the prettiest of drives but I got the job done.”

Swamp Major winning for Kirstin Barclay – Photo Bruce Stewart

Returning winner of the Hunter Family Handicap – Photo Bruce Stewart

Swamp Major was by bred Trevor Ryder who owns the Invercargill based roofing and plumbing business Ryder Roofing. He shares in the ownership with friends Alan Lindsay, Scott and Sue McCrea, Cleland Murdoch and John Duff.

“The horse is an absolute gentleman – a child could drive him in a race. He must be one of Sam Ottley’s favourites because she calls him The Big Dude. She’s right. He’s pretty cool.”

Swamp Major began his racing career with Ken Barron but injury saw him move to a beach training regime and to Regan Todd.

From only twenty five career starts over five seasons he’s now won five races, his last win being on Diamonds Day at Ascot Park in April 2018. As a three year old he was good enough to run third behind Lazarus and Classie Brigade in the Flying Stakes of 2016. Unfortunately injury prevented him from racing 18 months and he completely missed his four year old season.

Todd, who trains at Woodend Beach north of Christchurch, was introduced to the harness game at the Young Quinn Raceway.

His grandfather Ray Todd trained at the Wyndham course for years, and local trainer Brendon McLellan provided young Todd with his first winning drive when Elite Under Fire won at Gore in April 2009.

Todd moved to Canterbury early in his career and worked for Mark Jones for a while before branching out on his own in 2011. He has now trained over 100 winners from his Woodend base.

Todd also trained King Of Heroes to win earlier in the day today.

The Washington VC gelding, who has Southland connections in his ownership, came down the outside of the track to win the Kubala Seeds Mobile Pace by two and half lengths. He was driven by Robbie Close.

Washington VC winner Kings Of Heroes – Photo Bruce Stewart

Meanwhile Gore trained Renegade Rose recorded her first win after five placed runs behind some handy pacers.

Driver Matty Williamson took the three year old straight to the front and she proved too strong for Rakastella, winning by a length and three quarters.

Renegade Rose easily clearing maiden ranks – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning connections – Photo Bruce Stewart

The three year old Sweet Lou filly is trained by Tony Stratford and is owned by Braeview Limited whose principle is Paul Pearce. Pearce had success a few season ago with Mach Three filly Luminesce, which won four races for Ascot Park trainer Wayne Adams.