Born To Boogie and Brent Barclay make a winning debut. Photo: Wild Range Photography.
When Southland trainer Brett Gray put Born To Boogie on the float to Canterbury on Tuesday morning, he wasn't sure what lay ahead.
The three-year-old, bred by Brent McIntyre's Macca Lodge and purchased by Butterworth Bloodstock for $17,000 at the 2016 premier sale, has made an auspicious start to her career.
During Queens Birthday weekend, she made a winning debut at Ascot Park and followed up five days later with success in the last Nugget final of the season - at the last harness meeting in the deep south for nine weeks.
The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven went next to Forbury Park, last Thursday and, not surprisingly, was sent out favourite in an R53 to 60 mobile.
Drawing the outside of the front row proved her undoing. Taken back at the start and 10th in the 11 horse field mostly, she was required to go five-wide on the turn before finishing boldly for third.
Gray was happy enough with the run though and decided the 'Trained South of the Waitaki Winter Warmer Series', which starts at Addington on Friday, was a worthwhile next aim.
One of the reasons Gray is keen to press on is Born To Boogie's history.
At one stage, issues in early preparations led to Merv and Meg Butterworth sending the filly back to McIntyre for breeding from.
But for McIntyre's decision about six months ago to start jogging her again, Born To Boogie might have remained unraced.
“She's still a day-to-day proposition so it's best to keep her going,” said Gray.
“She's rated 60 so right on the mark for the South of the Waitaki series.”
But one of the conditions of the series is the right to cancel any heat or final if there are less than 10 acceptors.
So, when there were only eight nominations at closing time on Monday, Gray was nervous.
Nominations for the meeting were left open and withdrawals put back to 10 o'clock Tuesday morning.
By then, Born To Boogie was already on the road.
Thankfully, the race has been retained with eight runners.
“I'm glad she got the race; she should go alright,” said Gray, whose 34 wins for the season is the most among trainers south of the Waitaki.