Play It Again John

Play It Again John

Bruce Stewart

Gore trainer John Ryan showed what a master he is with the square gaiters today at Winton  when he produced Picketts Ridge to win the Majestic Son At Alabar Handicap Trot.

The six year old Skyvalley gelding driven by regular pilot Nathan Williamson, hadn’t raced since the Riverton meeting at Ascot Park in November last year and had only two workouts to prepare him for today’s run.

“I was thrilled with him. What a tremendous training effort by John to get him that sharp and go 3-02 on a cold day. Today was the best he’s felt as far as his gait goes. He felt really solid. He’s always had the ability to be a really good horse.”

Picketts Ridge’s winning margin was two and a half lengths over Wee Man Trouble. The winning time on a cold eight degree day of 3-02.6 was 1.6 seconds outside of the track record of 3-01.0  held by Majestic Man.

It was Picketts Ridge’s fifth win in eleven starts and he looks destined for a better grade.

The day also proved rewarding for two Canterbury drivers.

Leading reinsman Blair Orange drove three winners; Plutonium Lady for trainer Mark Jones, Rah De Rah for Tapanui trainer Matt Saunders and impressive looking Tom Martin which won his second race in as many starts.

The Paul Court trained Tom Martin lead early before handing up to Kingmaker. But when Hazer started to come round the field with 1700 metres to run Orange took the Mach Three gelding to the front again and there he stayed. His winning margin over Amore Lancôme was a length and a quarter.

“He’s a big strong guy who’s still learning but the motor’s there. He just hasn’t got the best pacing actions and he can chuck a few steps in here and there. He’s also not a great steering horse just yet but he’ll only get better. Today he was always travelling well so I was happy enough,” Orange said after the run.

Tom Martin holds out Amore Lancome

Tom Martin’s win capped off a good day for West Otago breeder and trainer John Stiven. He bought Raindowne, the dam of Tom Martin, a few years ago of Tuapeka Lodge.

Rah De Rah (3) gets the better of Glacier Coaster and doesn’t Blair Orange love it.

Plutonium Lady winning easily for Blair Orange

Later in the day Stiven produced Countess Of Arden to win her second race and his first win as a trainer.

Canterbury driver John Dunn was also in good form, driving two winners back to back.

The first was the Bettor’s Delight filly Need You Now – she beat second favourite Kickupyaheels by half a neck. The two locked wheels close to the finish and Robin Swain trainer of Kickupyaheels lodged a protest which was later dismissed.

Need You Now is raced by All Black captain Kieran Reed, former All Black Andy Ellis and the Woodlands Partnership Syndicate Number Two.

She’s out of the Badlands’ Hanover mare Lady Antebellum and is a half-sister to Billy Badger which won eight races for Robert Dunn who also trains Need You Now.

Need to Know just holding out Kickupyaheels – their wheels locked together

Need To Know heading back the winner

In the following race the father and son combination lined up three year old Sportswriter gelding Tyron’s Bit Of Lemon. He took the race out, beating Invaluable by a length and a quarter.

Tyron’s Bit Of Lemon winning on debut

Another success on the day was converted pacer Justan’s Sister which won her first race in the trotting gait for trainer Shane Matheson.

Justan’s Sister winning her first race as a trotter