Blair Orange in the colours of Gore Bay, his 100th winner for the season, at Ascot Park on Thursday. Photo: Wild Range Photography.
Blair Orange raced past 100 wins for the season when reining Aloka to victory in the 2700-metre Summer Cup, feature of the Northern Southland Club's January meeting at Ascot Park on Thursday afternoon.
“That's easily my fastest 100,” said Orange, who one race earlier had reached the century aboard Aloka's stablemate Gore Bay.
The three-year-olds, trained in Canterbury by Nigel McGrath, were decisive winners and Orange was keen to deflect the praise from his own efforts.
“They were both fit and ready,” he said.
“Thanks to all the owners and trainers; I couldn't have done it without their support.”
In the Southern Belle Speed Series heat run after the Cup, Orange and McGrath combined with Goodlookin Chick and looked for a hat-trick but found local mare Somejoy, trained and driven by Clark Barron, too strong.
It was Barron's second training win for the day.
His first was with GiftofJoy, who Orange was aboard for his 99th of the season.
“They've both got the 'Joy' ability,” Barron said.
Giftofjoy is out of Pride N Joy, a qualified but unraced daughter of Mach Three and Joyfulbelle. She has been three times to Art Major and left two fillies and a colt.
Giftofjoy is the first, while her sister Majorpride was sold to Western Australia at last year's sales.
Yearling brother Coogan's Bluff has been entered for this year.
After Giftofjoy's win, Barron said it helped tick two boxes.
“I wanted her to win and run a good time to help the colt at the sales,” he said
The one-and-a-quarter length win of Giftofjoy in 2:05.3 (mile rate 1:58.3) had enough merit to suggest the filly could develop classic form before the end of the season.
Barron agrees but doesn't know if it will be for him.
“She took time to mature and had some catching up to do,” he said.
“She's come a long way, though and now there's some interest in her. She might be sold."