Oaks To Pressed For Time

Oaks To Pressed For Time

Mac Henry

Tom Bagrie was in another hemisphere, both figuratively and physically, when he gained his 29th and biggest win as a harness trainer, courtesy of Pressed For Time in the group two Macca Lodge and Nevele R Stud Southland Oaks at Ascot Park on Saturday.

“I’m in Istanbul, I managed to listen to the race on Trackside radio, it wasn’t easy to pick up at times,” Bagrie said soon after the filly’s all the way win in the hands of his cousin John Dunn, “that’s my first win in a group race.”

Bagrie, who said he had always held the filly in high regard, also paid tribute to Dunn for his drive.

“It was good to have John on, it is pretty hard to get him.”

Blair Orange had been on Pressed For Time in three of her first five races but according to Dunn, was committed to the Paul Court barn for the race. Dunn’s only previous drive on the filly had been 10 days earlier when the pair won a trial at Rangiora. He commented after the two-and-three-quarter length Oaks win that Pressed For Time was on the bit all the way and never felt as if she was about to give in.

“A good filly,” Dunn remarked.

Back to the birdcage – Photo Bruce Stewart

Winning photo – Bruce Stewart 

Pressed For Time was bred by Brian Cowley and when she was a yearling, he decided to put together a syndicate of six to race her. Bagrie said he didn’t know Cowley then but had heard he was looking for someone to train his horse.

“Out of the blue one day he rang me,” explained Bagrie.

Like Bagrie, Cowley also missed the win but syndicate member Garry Sharpe of Rangiora was on course. He said that he was working for Woodend Beach trainers Greg and Nina Hope at the time the syndicate to race Pressed for Time was put together and the plan had been for the Hopes to train her. However, there was no room for additional horses at the time and the decision was made to look for a young and up and coming trainer in the area. Bagrie was selected.

Sharpe recalled Robert Anderson had broken the filly in and was impressed with her. However, because of immaturity, he said Bagrie had never considered the filly for racing as a juvenile.

Regards the syndicate, Sharpe noted the only connection the members have is that they all like horses.

“They’ve never all been together for a race but that should change for the Jewels. Pressed For Time is currently third on list of qualifiers for the Three-Year-Old Diamond.

Pressed For time lined up fourth favourite for the Oaks, behind the Hope pair Kendra and Mossdale Art, and the Orange drive Major Sass. Kendra and Mossdale Art got closest to the winner while Major Sass faded to 10th. Both the winner and runner-up are by the sire Sportswriter.