Hunter Toasts 100th Training Win

Hunter Toasts 100th Training Win

Bruce Stewart

7th November 2021

At Ascot Park today Justalittlesip provided Ryal Bush trainer Peter Hunter with his 100th winner and the horse’s sire Franco Ledger, with his first siring success.

Justalittlesip was posted three wide early and Hunter had no option but to take the gelding to the front. He achieved that, and left second favourite Peroni parked.

Justalittlesip warming up for Peter Hunter

In an “all ‘alcohol’ finish, Justalittlesip went on to beat Peroni by a neck with Speights On Tap finishing third, a length and a half away.

“It was nice to get a win with him because he’s been going nice races without too much luck. He was pretty casual about things today and it was a pretty nice horse that ran second to him,” Hunter said. “He got a bit of a fright at the finish but once that horse levelled up, my horse got going again which was pleasing.”

Justalittlesip beating Peroni

Peter Hunter, Justalittlesip, Jo Hunter, Jaque McIntyre and Jimmy ‘the punter’ Tomlins.

Sire Franco Ledger won twenty-five races and $682,514 for Hunter’s brother Hamish and the What Ever Syndicate. His wins included two Hannon Memorials. After finishing his racing career, he stood at stud at Macca Lodge. He unfortunately died in 2020 having left just thirty-five foals.

Peter, wife Jo along with Jo’s brother Brendon McIntyre and his wife Jaque borrowed Justalittlesip’s dam Bettor’s Delight mare Justasip from James Geddes to breed from.

“I don’t know where his size comes from, but it must be in the genes somewhere because he’s going to grow into a decent size (unlike his sire or dam). He’s got good manners, a good attitude and is good to train so he ticks a few boxes. But as you know it gets a bit harder now.”

Of the one hundred winners Peter Hunter has trained, a sizeable number (27) have been for his brother in-law. These include Boogie Night (5), My Georgie Boy (4), Bold Ruler (4), Treasure Hunter (2), Vinni Gambino (1), Livin It Lovin It (1), Port Au Prince (1), Glenledi Captain (1) and now Justalittlesip.

McIntyre is also part of the Gottashearasheep Syndicate who raced Unloaded (5) and Memphis Mafia (2) out of the Hunter stable.

Another twenty-four of Hunter’s winners have been owned by Brendon Fahy, Rakarebel (6) and Rakarover (4) being the best.

“The two Brendons have been the backbone of my stable. Jo’s also a big part of the success and I couldn’t have done it without her really.”

Hunters first winner was Only The One, owned by Fahy, at the Tuapeka HRC meeting in 2003.

His best winners have been Elation Franco (8), Onedin Hustler (7), Rakarebel (6), Ansett Flight (5), Unloaded (5) and Rakarover (4).

Meanwhile Winton horsewoman Lauren Pearson proved she hasn’t lost her  driving prowess when reining Foreigner to win his third race at Ascot Park.

Pearson tends to concentrate on training these days, but with partner Brent Barclay sitting out a suspension, she took the reins on two of the stable’s three runners today.

Pearson has had the seven-year-old gelding since last month. It was previously trained by Grant Hunt. Foreigner last won at Geraldine almost two years ago and was having only his second start for Pearson.

Foreigner winning for Lauren Pearson

As a driver Pearson has reined forty-three winners and in 2002 she won the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship.

Wattlebank Star looks to be in for a stella season, leading and winning at today’s Invercargill meeting.

The Bettor’s Delight three-year-old looked promising last season and has developed since being turned out.

Trainer- driver Kirstin Barclay had to use up some fuel in taking Wattlebank Star forward early to challenge second favourite Nutcracker for the front. The two went head-to-head for a brief period before Wattlebank Star hit the lead. She had enough at the end of the race to win easily by three and a quarter lengths.

Wattlebank Star winning for Kirstin Barclay