Pat's Delight and Dexter Dunn close off Jewels Day 2018 with a popular win. Photo: Trish Dunell
There were jubilant scenes, the likes of which haven’t been seen for a long time, if ever, on a New Zealand harness racing track, when Pat’s Delight took out the final race of the day at the Harness Jewels in Cambridge on Saturday.
The Dexter Dunn-driven second favourite won a stirring stretch battle over Sheriff to get the victory, sending a section of the grandstand in to raptures.
The Boys Get Paid group, a collection of like-minded twenty and thirty-something racing enthusiasts and punters, roared in delight as Pat’s Delight went over the line and proceeded to chant Dunn’s name, and their own group’s initials, in the minutes post-race.
Dunn, soon off to American on a working holiday acknowledged the group repeatedly.
The social punters group had a room allocated to them by the club and a spokesman said the group ended the day on a high, most of them backing Another Masterpiece, Eamon Maguire and Pat’s Delight to finish the day.
It was a surprising, yet, fitting end to a brilliant day of racing and entertainment in the Waikato.
Trainer Cran Dalgety was a relieved man post-victory, ecstatic to see his charge get a well-earned feature win after being the bridesmaid a number of times this season.
“He was beaten in the New Zealand Derby by a nose and it was cruel,” he said.
“He went as good as the winner (Sheriff) that night.
“But this win will go some way to making up for that.”
Pat’s Delight’s best asset is his speed and from barrier two, Dunn was always going to be finding the lead early.
He made the decision to hand up to Sheriff a lap out, and it paid dividends.
“He was always going to have his chance today,” said Dalgety.
“If he got beaten, he wouldn’t have had an excuse, it’s as simple as that.
“The others were always going to have to work harder than him.
“Sure, he had an economical trip but someone has to get it and we were lucky enough that it was us.”
The Boys Get Paid group rejoice after their elect in the last race, Pat's Delight, was victorious
Dalgety and Dunn have forged a strong relationship for over a decade now and the driver leaves for the winter with the trainer’s blessing.
“I’m letting him go, but not for too long; he better come back,” said Dalgety with a smile.
He was also quick to acknowledge the horse’s breeder and owner, Pat Kubala, of Gore.
“Pat’s been marvelous and he’s here today with all his family.
“I’m thrilled for him, because he’s had a lot of money thrown at him for the horse, but at his age he wants the thrill of racing and hopefully today he got that.”
Sheriff ended his three-year-old campaign with a brave second for Nigel McGrath and Blair Orange while West Auckland pacer Solid Gold flashed up along the markers from three-pegs for third.
Plunge horse and race favourite, Sicario, received a diabolical run in transit, posted three-wide with cover and then exposed, and could manage only fifth for Mark Purdon.