Franco Tristan and Craig Thornley win the Kawatiri Cup at Westport. Photo: Race Images.
The writing had been on the wall for a couple of months and on Friday the planets aligned for underrated pacer Franco Tristan.
Glimpses of brilliance, mixed in with some good old racing bad luck littered the the formline of the five-year-old son of McArdle prior to the Kawatiri Cup on the opening day of the West Coast double-header at Westport.
But it all went out the window when he unleashed stylishly to win the feature event of the day in the hands of Craig Thornley.
“He’s always been a nice horse,” Thornley said.
“The speed they ran the race was always going to suit him too and we got clear at the right time and he did the rest.”
Lightly raced, having had just the 20 race day starts, Franco Tristan, who is trained by Steven McRae, is still very much the raw product but the potential is there for him to go on and become a more than capable middle grade pacer in the coming months.
Thornley managed to plot the perfect path onto the back of the pace-making Prada’s Ideal Dahling early on in proceedings and when Simon Adlam put the stick up and said no to all requests for the lead, that renowned Thornley smile could be seen from the trail.
“It all unfolded perfectly really; he hasn’t had a great deal of luck so it was nice to finally get some.”
While Thornley and Franco Tristan were the star of the day with their feature success, Sam Ottley stole the overall honours with a driving treble, including her third dead-heat for the season.
In sublime form after reaching 300 career driving wins last weekend, Ottley picked up wins with Immortal Change, Nuburgring and shared the spoils on Clarendon Falcon who couldn’t be split from local pacer, Franco Niven.
Ottley has had previous dead heats this season with Johnny Eyre and also trotter, Castlereagh.
Her efforts boosted the stocks of the Team Teal Campaign with more money thrown into the coffers of the promotion which comes to an end at the completion of racing on Sunday at Reefton.