September 2021

BG Gets 800 on Midnitetraintogeorga

Bruce Stewart

2nd September 2021

Popular Southland driver Brent Barclay came out of lockdown, took the handbrake off and drove three winners at Ascot Park today, achieving a major milestone – driving his 800th New Zealand winner.

This means he’s the third most successful driver in Southland harness racing history, behind Clark Barron (1,038) and Nathan Williamson (909).

Win number 800 for Brent Barclay

The 800th winner came in the first race with Barclay driving the favourite Midnitetraintogeorga to win for Gore trainer Tony Stratford.

Saluting 800 New Zealand winners

His other wins today were Heez Good for Amber Hoffman and Get Lucky for Alister Black. Barclay also drove runners-ups Bettors Highlight, In The Groove, Total Eclipse and Major Punter.

Heez Good stretching out to win his first race

Back to the birdcage – win number two for Barclay

Get Lucky winning for Alister Black and Brent Barclay

Barclay began his driving career back in the 1989-’90 season, in which he drove six winners as a junior.

His first was Dougie Wood, trained by his father Keith, driven at Westport on 26th December 1989. 

“He was a hard case old horse. He won on both days at Westport in the mud. We went for the bonus in Greymouth and ran second,” Barclay said.

More recently he’s formed a potent association with Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray and Gray’s stable has provided him with 111 winners.

He’s also spent time working for Bud Baynes, Kirk Larsen, Wayne Adams, Noel Creighton, Lauren Pearson, Grant Dixon and Darrel Graham.

“Working for Darrel was great fun. We were battling a bit here in 2013 and I went over to work for Grant. We just needed a bit of a change. I was there for about ten or eleven months. He had a lot of horses in work and I did a lot of driving.”

Barclay says he enjoyed mixing it with the Australians when he was there but says things have changed.

“They run ridiculous times, particularly in Brisbane. There’s a lot of young ones starting out and they don’t let up.”

It was while he was working for Creighton that he got his first big break driving quality pacer Corumba.

“I used to got to Aussie every year for three months. When I came back I worked at Noel’s.”

In the 1995 season he won the Kindergarten and Welcome Stakes while the following year he drove Corumba to win the Southern Supremacy Stakes.

“He was untapped. I was probably too young at that time to be driving him. If I knew then what I know now I would have educated him a bit more but he was a pretty special horse.”

When asked if his driving style has changed very much over the years, Barclay said “Not really. If you’ve got one that can’t do a lot of work you just have to drive them conservatively. If you’re driving the best horse you have to drive them like the best horse.”

He’s won many Southland racing features (see below), was also the Southland Junior Driver of the Year in 1996 and 1997, the Southland Driver of the Year in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and he won the Interprovincial Drivers Championship in 2006.

Another highlight of his career was winning the 2018 Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes for partner Lauren Pearson and sponsor Lester Smith.

“He was a big gentle giant. In hindsight we wish we hadn’t sold him. That’s just the way it goes. The money was good and Lester had other ones coming on.”

Duke Of Wellington with trainer Lauren Pearson

One of those horses was Duke Of Cornwell who raced last season as a two year old, finishing third in the Kindergarten Stakes.

“He’s come up okay. He had his first hopple run the other day. He was out for three months and he hasn’t developed as much as we would have hoped. We may get him gelded. All he has to do is harden up a bit.”

Duke Of Cornwell

In the thirty one seasons Barclay’s been driving he’s had a strong association with fillies and mares including Western Dream, Windermere Girl, Bonnie Lass and Jamie. He’s won seven Group Two races and four Group Three features.

“I only had three or four drives on Western Dream and won them all.”

Barclay also had a great association with Roger, John and Katrina Price, driving thirty six winners for the Winton trainers including Looksaflyer which won the 2006 Southern Supremacy Stakes.

“He was probably one of the most underrated horses. He was a very good horse that came to a bad end.”

Of the 800 winners 171 of those have been trotters, including Be Not Afraid and Super Fast Pat.

“We probably never saw the best of him (Super Fast Pat). He broke a New Zealand record but he always seemed to have issues. I don’t think we ever had him flat in any race I drove him in. He had some ticker.”

Super Fast Pat

These days Barclay restricts himself pretty much to driving in the deep south.

“Wyndham was always my favourite track. I’d like to drive a Group One but I can’t see that happening as I don’t venture too far these days. If I drive a thousand winners by the time I’m sixty I’ll be happy.”

Over the years one driver stands out for the Winton horseman.

“Back in the day it was always Henry Skinner. He always drove for my father. He was one I idolised and a super driver. In the end I ended up driving for him with horses like Whanau.”

Barclay is also one of the Southern drivers supporting the Blue September campaign which raises money for Prostate Cancer.

“I got asked to do it and was only too happy to. I’m at an age (40 – 50 year olds) where it’s become more common. There are a lot of people I know that are getting it. It’s a cruel disease so anything we can do to help would be great.”

And according to Barclay a horse to keep an eye on this season is three year old trotting filly One More Moment which is owned by Kenny Baynes and trained by Brett Gray.  The Majestic Son filly qualified at Winton last month.

“She goes really good.”

Brent Barclay Fact File:

First winner: Dougie Wood – Westport 26th December 1989 trained by his father Keith. (The horse won the very next day).

Trainers worked for: Bud Baynes, Kirk Larsen, Wayne Adams, Noel Creighton, Lauren Pearson, Grant Dixon and Darrel Graham.

Most winning drives (trainers): (23rd May 2021)

  • Brett Gray: 111
  • Wayne Adams: 83
  • Lauren Pearson: 50
  • Roger, Katrina and John Price: 36
  • Murray Brown: 18

Group winners:

  • Dadndave – Group Three Invercargill Cup – January 2020
  • Duke Of Wellington – Group Two Southern Supremacy Stakes – April 2018
  • Waikiki Beach – Group Three Kindergarten Stakes – February 2015
  • Natal Franco – Group Three Nevele R Stakes – March 2007
  • Jackson Street – Group Two Sapling Stakes – February 2006
  • Western Dream – Group Two Nevele R Stakes – March 2005
  • Bought In The Pub – Group Two Kindergarten Stakes – February 2003
  • Windermere Girl – Group Two Southland Oaks – March 1999
  • Corumba – Group Two Southern Supremacy Stakes – February 1996
  • Corumba – Group Two Welcome Stakes – April 1995
  • Corumba – Group Three Kindergarten Stakes – February 1995

Best season (51): 2003. Winners included Love’s A Flyin, The Jailer, Bel Cardo Master, Whanau and Dreamo Denario.

Biggest stakes earning season ($500,431): 2019

Southern feature race wins:

  • Wyndham Cup: Jour De Chance (1997)
  • Kindergarten Stakes: Corumba (1995), Bought In The Pub (2003) and Waikiki Beach (2015)
  • Winton Cup: Vintage Cheddar (2021)
  • Southern Belle Speed Series: Better To Be Bad (2013)
  • Northern Southland Cup: Windermere Girl (2000) and Bonnie Lass (2001)
  • Caduceus Fillies Classic: Western Dream (2005)
  • Aparima Trot: Be Not Afraid (1998) and Experiment (2013)
  • Invercargill Cup: Dadndave (2020)
  • Gore Cup: Jim Dandy (2000)
  • Wairio Cup: Goodnight Aveross (2002) and Jamie (2006)
  • Southern Supremacy Stakes: Duke Of Wellington (2018), Looksaflyer (2006) and Corumba (1996)
  • Southland Oaks: Windermere Girl (1999)
  • Southern Country Cups Final: Bonnie Lass (2001), Whanau (2003) and The Jaccka (2005)
  • Robin Dundee Crown: Born To Boogie (2019)
  • Equine Stakes: Magnetic Chip (1993), Whanau (2002) and Shezacullengirl (2018)
  • Hunter Handicap: Char DO Neigh (2006)
  • Bluff Cup: Young Conqueror (2017)

Other achievements:

  • Southland Junior Driver of the Year: 1996 and 1997
  • Southland Driver of the Year: 2006, 2007 and 2008
  • Interprovincial Drivers Championship: 2006

3 winners in a day: (29 times)

4 winners in a day: (3 times)

  • 9th May 2019 – Forbury Park: Robbie Royale, Kotare Elite, Look Both Ways and Betterthanspraying.
  • 15th December 2006 – Wairio: Jamie, Fino, Hillarys Home and Dynamic Atom.
  • 13th December 2002 – Forbury Park: Cool Chip, Cripple Creek, Sayonara and Jay See Eye.

Stats:

Total number of drives: 8211

Winners: 800

Seconds: 793

Thirds: 767

Trotting winners: 171

Total stakes: $5,702,090

 

Hannon Hopefuls Warm Up

Bruce Stewart

9th September 2021.

There’s always anticipation as the best pacers begin their season with their aim the big dance – the New Zealand Cup in November.

Southland’s open class quartet U May Cullect, Vintage Cheddar, Robyns Playboy and Pembrook Playboy made their debuts for the season, trialling in the same race at the Wyndham meeting today.

Vintage Cheddar prior to today’s trials win

The trial was taken out narrowly by Vintage Cheddar. He lead for most of the 2400 metres and narrowly beat Pembrook Playboy by half a head.

“He went nice. He was just a bit casual in front which he can be when he hasn’t got another horse sitting outside of him,” said trainer Alister Black after the run. The winning time for Vintage Cheddar was 3-10.8 with the last 800 metres run in 57. 6 and 400 metres in 29.6 on a slushy track.

Down to the line

A closer look

Southland’s leading stake earner this season Pembrook Playboy, who trailed Vintage Cheddar for most of the race was full of steam at the end and driver Nathan Williamson didn’t let him go.

“Yeah, happy. We could have gone a little bit quicker. He comes to hand really quickly. He felt nice and he’s healthy and forward enough. He’ll come on too with the run in the Hannon. We’ve got ten days until the Hannon and we’ll keep stepping him up until then,” he said.

The Ross and Chris Wilson trained Robyns Playboy was third, a half a length back.

“Pretty happy.  He needed the run because he’s only had four fast runs since the lockdown. He always surprises us with his fitness,” Ross Wilson said.

Robyns Playboy ran second in last year’s Hannon, two lengths behind Classie Brigade.

U May Cullect finished a few lengths behind the other three after being slow to get away.

“His fitness told in the end. We’ll miss the Hannon and work at home a bit longer. I think the other guys have got the jump on us fitness wise at the moment. We’ll look after him and find another trial and go from there,” trainer/ driver Kirstin Barclay said after the run.

“It’s in the hard basket. He’s an unsound horse so you have to nurse him along and get him fit without doing too much with him. I also haven’t been able to get down to the beach,” she added.

The last Southland winners on The Hannon were Franco Ledger (2012 and 2013), Freeway Don (1999), Bee Bee Cee (1994) and Giovanetto (1992).

Ferguson’s Major Sweetart

Bruce Stewart

9th September 2021

Young Wyndham trainer Craig Ferguson looks to have another nice filly in the stable with Major Sweetart winning on debut on her home track today.

“I’ve liked her from day one. I had her ready to go to the races last time in, but she got a cold, so we turned her out,” he said.

Major Sweetart warming up for Mark Hurrell

Major Sweetart was bred by Bathan and Jane Muir who share in the ownership with Bathan’s parents Ken and Jill, and Jennifer and Alison Clearwater.

Bathan and Jane also have a full brother to the filly, named Street Art. He qualified at Winton in June as a two-year-old.

By Art Major, Major Sweetart is out of the Mach Three mare Curragh’s Princess which won three races for Ryal Bush trainer Hamish Hunter. Curragh’s Princess is a half-sister to seven race winner Estella Rose and is from a family the late Jack Smolenski had a lot of success with.

In today’s race Major Sweetart driven by Mark Hurrell  sat parked outside Cool Idea. He passed Cool Idea in the last 50 metres winning by half a length, with ten lengths back to the third horse Seventh Heaven.

“Sitting parked with a bit of a breeze wasn’t ideal but she was good enough to overcome that.”

Getting the better of Cool Idea

Winning connections

Ferguson also trains impressive two-year-old filly Nutcracker which won the Group Three Caduceus Club of Southland/ Alabar Fillies Classic at Ascot Park in March.

“She’s into her second week of fast work.”

Meanwhile Over The Odds got a well deserved maiden win in the hands of Blair Orange.

Over The Odds winning his first race

The three year old gelding owned by Wayne McEwan and trained by Kirstin Barclay had finished second on debut and third in both of his next two starts. The winning margin was five and a quarter lengths.

Lauries Legacy Turns A Corner

Bruce Stewart

9th September 2021

Lauries Legacy had six starts for Waikouaiti trainer Amber Hoffman. And whilst there was never a doubt the mare had ability, her manners and cornering skills tended to let her down.

Today Lauries Legacy had her first start for Oamaru trainer Brad Williamson, having recently transferred to his stable.

Lauries Legacy and Brad Williamson

“She’s always had a bit of ability but has been making a few mistakes. She was stood down and had to trial at Oamaru. Amber left her at Dad’s, Dad gave her to me, and Gerald (owner Gerald Cayford) was happy for me to have a go with her. We took her to Ashburton. She trotted and got her clearance. We’ve just been waiting to get a race for her,” he said.

In today’s Wyndham Workouts Committee Trot, Lauries Legacy was slow off the unruly mark and settled second last. With 1700 metres to run Williamson moved forward and the Majestic Son mare made the top shortly after.

When he looked over his shoulder heading for home he knew he had the field covered, and he won by two and a quarter lengths from Kiwi Heir.

Lauries Legacy on her own

“She just needed to get more confidence. Her main problem was trotting round the bends which Amber doesn’t have on the beach. If she trotted today, she was going to be hard to beat. It worked out really well. Keeping her trotting was the key.”

Later in the day Williamson made it a training double with Simone Lindenny winning her second race in as many starts.

Meanwhile Williamson says his star trotter Cracker Hill has just returned to the jog team.

“He’s not going to be seen for a while. He burst a blood vessel on the outside of his knee which I’ve never seen before. We decided to give him a good spell and forget about a Cup preparation. We’ll look at racing him at Christmas time,” he said.

“We’re not panicking. We know we have a nice horse, and we’ll wait until he’s ready,” he added.

Williamson also drove quality trotter Majestic Man, who’s trained by his father Phil, at the Oamaru trials last week.

“He trialed up really nicely. He’s in great nick and the main aim is the Dominion in which he ran second last year. He’ll have another trial at Oamaru and we haven’t set in stone where we’ll start off but he’s likely to go to the Ashburton mile again.”

Majestic Man, the winner of seven races this season including three Group One races in Australia is one of four horses nominated for the Five-Year-Old and Older Trotter of the Year at next month’s Harness Awards.

“He certainly footed it with the Australians, and he was second or third best trotter here, so it just shows you how strong the trotters are in this country at the moment. With Bolt For Brilliance and Muscle Mountain coming through it’s certainly going to be exciting in the next couple of seasons.”

Norman Gets Trotting Double

Bruce Stewart

16th September 2021

Gore trainer Brian Norman is a dab hand at training square gaiters and today’s double at Ascot Park emphasised his skills.

The well-bred Scared Mountain began the ball rolling, winning her first race at start number fifteen.

Blue is the new Orange – Blair Orange winning with Sacred Mountain

The three-year-old daughter of Muscle Hill led from the start of the 2200 metre stand and ran her rivals off their feet, beating Eilish Hall by five and a quarter lengths.

“I thought she was ready. She’s a good enough horse but we had problems with her urine last season. But she’s had a good enough break,” said Norman.

Returning back to the birdcage

Sacred Mountain is out of Sundon mare Aceofdiamonds and is a half-sister to Sky Commander, the winner of three races for Norman and another thirteen in Australia. He’s been Group placed and ran second in the 2015 Victoria Trotting Derby won by Speeding Spur which incidentally sponsored today’s race.

Ace Commander is another good performer out of Aceofdiamonds. He too was trained by Norman before Ray Green took up the reins. He won five races here before heading to Australia where he started twice.

“She’s got as much ability as they both had.”

Norman shares in the ownership of Sacred Mountain with Shane Fogie and Jason Coutts.

Two races later Steve won her fifth race for Norman, who told me prior to today’s start that he thought she may be a run short. That proved not to be the case.

“She came in on the same day as Scared Mountain, but she’s had a couple of foot infections and missed a bit of work. I got her worked for a few days and then she missed another three but she was fitter than I thought.”

Steve just getting the better of King Cassidy

She won by a nose, beating a very brave King Cassidy.

Son Mirrors Mum

Bruce Stewart

16th September 2021

Miss Elsie won on debut at Ascot Park eleven years ago, and her son Mr McLaren did the same on his own debut outing today.

Co-incidentally the winning margin of three quarters of a length was an exact repeat at well.

Kirk Larsen and Mr McLaren warming up

The three-year-old gelding is by Mach Three out of seven-win Elsu mare Miss Elsie and was bought at the National Yearling Sales for $31,000.

“With the size that he was, he was a bit behind the eight ball as a young horse and that’s why we got him for the price we did. Today’s win works out well because he’s still three until Christmas,” said trainer driver Kirk Larsen.

The horse is owned by the Own the Moment Syndicate which is made up of 100 shares. Unfortunately Covid 19 restrictions mean the group were unable to be on course to enjoy the win together, but will no doubt be owning their moment far and wide.

“He’s taken a bit of making and can be a big of a geek at times but he’s a lot more mature this time in. It’s great for the syndicate. He had a flap of skin on his throat which we had to operate on because the skin was cutting his air flow. It wasn’t a major (operation) but since we’ve done that, he’s been a different horse.”

Larsen who is known for getting his horses well prepared for their debut runs was relatively confident of a forward running today.

“He’s only had two runs. I’d normally give him three (workouts), but he had a good run at home a week before we went to the workouts. He felt pretty good at both of his workouts.”

Miss Elsie has been an excellent broodmare, leaving quality racehorses Raukapuka Ruler the winner of six, including the 2017 Northern Derby. He was also placed in the Vero Three-Year-Old Flying Stakes. Her third foal, War Dan Delight won the Sapling and Kindergarten Stakes as a two-year-old.

The family goes back in lineage and includes Village Rose and City Rogue, a family Robin Butt had great success with.

Galloping Pacemaker Wins At Oamaru

Bruce Stewart

19th September 2021

Huckabee, a seven year old gelding by Extreme Three, upset at the Oamaru Harness Racing Club meeting today.

Trained at Timaru by Colin Harrison and part owned by Colin and his son Jason, the gelding was given the perfect trip by driver Sarah O’Reilly and came up the passing lane to win at odds of 29 to 1, winning by half a length.

Huckabee winning his first race driven by Sarah O’Reilly

“He was pretty useless when we broke him in. …. pretty poorly gaited so we just kept him around home and used him as a galloping pacemaker. He did have a bit of luck at Forbury a couple of times. He’s been sacked about six times but we’ve just brought him back to work with the other ones,” said Jason.

“He just got the run to suit today.”

Saluting the judge

In the birdcage with Jason Harrison

Jason bought Huckabee’s dam The Way Forward for $7,000 at the Yearling Sales.

“She’s out of the old Roydon Lodge family. My first purchase and my first winner.”

Huckabee’s third dam is Roydon Dream, the mother of Roydon Scott, which won eighteen races, and Roydon Glen which won the 1985 Hannon Memorial.

Colin Harrison has been a trainer in New Zealand since 1985 and he had his first win at Timaru in February of that year. His father Peter Harrison trained horses and his grandfather TS Harrison owned Loyal Nurse, which won the 1949 New Zealand Cup (trained by Colin Berkett).

Colin rates Hindu Rebel as his best horse. It won four races before heading to America.

He said he began his training career in America as a young man. “I went over with Kevin Holmes in 1977 when he took Testing Times up there. I worked for him for about a year and then went out on my own.”

More recently he’s had success with Tijuana Taxi and Hannity.

Henry wins Hannon

Bruce Stewart

19th September 2021

Thanks to a tactically great drive from Tim Williams, Henry Hubert took out today’s time honoured Placemakers Hannon Memorial at Oamaru.

After a shaky start Williams tagged onto the back of the field in the outside running line with stablemate Classie Brigade taking up the role of pacemaker and favourite Pembrook Playboy in the trailing position.

The Robert and Jenna Dunn trained Henry Hubert

“It was a wee bit disappointing at the start. He didn’t take the first step like his last start. It was unusual because normally he’s pretty safe,” Williams said. “He got into his hopples quick enough but it’s not ideal when you give them a head start.”

With just over a lap to run and the leaders generating just a moderate pace Williams made the bold move to spear Henry Hubert forward.

Tim Williams taking Henry Hubert to the lead with a lap to run

The lead was there for him and that meant one of his main dangers, Pembrook Playboy, was left three back on the pegs.

“Today was the sharpest he’s felt for a while and once he found the front he travelled on the bridle.”

Peeling off a last 800 in 54.5 and a super charged 400 in 26.8 the back runners had little show of making enough ground to win.

“Off the back we were low flying. He cornered up well. They got close to him but he had them covered. He lost ground at the start and did a bit of work in the middle, so he was entitled to get tired at the end.”

Henry Hubert (8) beating a late charge from Robyns Playboy

Robyns Playboy was excellent, running Henry Hubert to a neck, while Classie Brigade was another neck in third.

The hard luck story belongs to Pembrook Playboy. Driver Nathan Williamson had a handful of horse with the handbrake on, but he couldn’t get a clear run to demonstrate his customary scintillating finish. Vintage Cheddar, unsuited to the early moderate tempo, also finished the race off nicely, running fifth.

The trip was run in 3-20.3. The track and race record of 3-13.4 is jointly held by Spankem and Cullen’s Creek.

Meanwhile Cantfindabettorman oozed class when he led and beat R51-R60 pacers in the Plunket Electrical Oamaru Mobile Pace.

Driver Matty Williamson drove the two-year-old like the best horse in the race taking him straight to the lead from the 2000 metre dispatch.

The son of Sweet Lou carved off his 800 metres in 54.7 and the last 400 in 27.3. His winning time of 2-25.6 smashed Kenny The Cowboys 2003 record of 2-27.7.

 

Sporty Charlie Wins Impressively on Debut for Birthday Boy

Bruce Stewart

30th September 2021

Debutante Sporty Charlie provided the perfect birthday present for Myross Bush horseman Brad Morris and for his mother Lynley when he impressively won at the Gore HRC meeting at Wyndham today.

The Sportswriter two-year-old was widely tipped as a star on the rise when he impressively qualified at Winton earlier this month and he carried most of the punter’s investments to be the $1.60 favourite.

From gate four driver Brent Barclay took Sporty Charlie straight to the top before handing up to Boo.

Turning in, it looked like Unsurpassable, which had shot clear would go on and win with Sporty Charlie two lengths away and in traffic. But Barclay didn’t panic, and the gelding let down in the middle of the track to win easily by three quarters of a length.

Sporty Charlie winning on debut for trainer Brad Morris and driver Brent Barclay

“He’s always had the ability and I’ve liked him, but he just needed to show it on race day,” Morris said. I knew he was good when we took him to the workouts and had company. He ran the mile and a half in 3-10 and the half in 57.1.”

Sporty Charlie is raced by Morris in partnership with his brother Justin and his mother Lynley.

Lynley was celebrating her birthday today and Brads was on Sunday so it was a timely win.

Sporty Charlie, named after Brad’s son, is out of the Washington VC mare Flashonbye which ran second on debut on the Wyndham track in 2010. From just nine starts she had two seconds and two thirds. The family goes back to Can Annie Go, the winner of five from sixteen starts and Classy Topic which Brad’s grandfather Ron Macdonald trained. He won seven of his twenty-three starts.

Craig Ferguson Notches Up 200 Winning Drives

Bruce Stewart

30th September 2021

Horseman Craig Ferguson drove his 200th winner Robyns Shadow, on his home track at Wyndham today and fittingly it was for Gore trainers Ross and Chris Wilson, as it was Ross that provided Ferguson with a springboard as a junior driver.

“He kickstarted my career by putting me on his team,” Craig said.

Robyns Shadow warming up

Ferguson gave the second favourite a nice run in the outside running line in today’s race and he wasn’t required to pull the four-year-old until the leaders straightened up for the run home. Robyns Shadow ran home nicely to beat Beaudiene Hustler by three quarters of a length, running the trip in 2-59.1.

“It doesn’t always work out that well, but it worked out perfect today.”

Robyns Shadow stretching out to win

Prior to today’s win, which was his fourth, Robyns Shadow has finished second eight times, and third three times.

“He’s come to it and I’ve learned how to drive him. He seems to be good if you don’t do too much early and if you can get him in a reasonable spot, he can certainly run home.”

The Shadow Play gelding was bred by Ross Wilson, who owns and part trains the horse with his son Chris.

Ferguson’s first winner was Lucy Legacy for Brendon McLellan at Forbury Park in August 2010.

His only Group winner to date was The Wrath Of Robyn trained by Trevor Cross which won the 2015 Four- and Five-Year-Old Championship at Forbury Park in April 2015.

“That was a huge thrill.”

Ferguson had success with Robyn’s Playboy, taking out two seconds in the Group Three Hannon Memorial (2020 and 2021) and a third in the Group One Three-Year-Old Emerald at Addington in 2019.

“He’s such a wonderful horse and I’m lucky to drive one like that. He’s won some nice races and gone some phenomenal times.”

Ross Wilson has provided Ferguson with forty three of his 200 winning drives, and he’s won twenty two times wearing his own colours. He’s driven nineteen winners for Wayne Adams and a further twelve for the Ross and Chris Wilson partnership.

Recently he ventured into the training ranks and now works a small team from his new stables at the Wyndham track.

Earlier in the year on debut he produced Nutcracker to win the Group Three Caduceus Club of Southland/Alabar Fillies Classic.

“She’s just working up nicely. There’s no hurry for her.”

Ferguson also has a good opinion of Street Art which qualified at Winton in June. He’s a two-year-old by Art Major out of Curragh’s Princess.

“We think a bit of him. We’ve just tipped him out for another spell. He’s a bigger horse and probably needs time to mature.”