The Kiwi Way made it two wins in a row at Rangiora on Sunday for trainer-driver Robbie Holmes. Photo: Race Images Christchurch
Phil and Glenys Kennard, NZ Harness Racing Owners-of-the-Year, continued their success on both sides of the Tasman at the weekend.
The Christchurch-based Kennards, co-owners of champion pacer Lazarus, were among the winners again in Victoria as co-owners of Stars Align (Bendigo, Friday) and Moonrock (Melton, Saturday), and again at Sunday’s Rangiora harness meeting as co-owners of Speedy Mach.
Speedy Mach, a four-year-old Mach Three gelding, is co-raced by the Kennards with Brad and Melanie Mowbray.
The horse has strengthened in recent months for successful Russley (Christchurch) strike-rate trainer and co-owner Brad Mowbray.
Sunday's win Speedy Mach's third in his last four starts.
Junior driver Sheree Tomlinson sent second favourite Speedy Mach to the front, heading favourite Hypervelocity with 1900m to run and they held by a neck in the rating 56-70 pace. He clocked 3:15.4 for the mobile 2600m, the last 800m in 57.1s and the 400m in 27.3.
Leithfield trainer Robbie Holmes won the final two races with the impeccably-bred The Kiwi Way, a promising 4-year-old son of top racemare Kiwi Ingenuity, and improving trotter Redwood Invasion, both strong front-running winners.
She'sa Tricky Bridge was an emotional winner of the Brian West mobile pace for breeder and co-owner Blair Mills, formerly of Nelson, and until this season, a North Canterbury harness trainer.
Driver Jimmy Curtin wore a black armband to signify the passing of Doug Mills, father of Blair, who died two weeks ago, in his 92nd year.
She'sa Tricky Bridge, trained at Prebbleton by John McDermott, led from the outset and held tenaciously for her second win at her 46th start.
Curtin also reined Coral Beach to an upset front-running maiden win in the Rory McIlwrick mobile pace.
Peter T Cook, long-time secretary of the New Zealand Trainers and Drivers Association, added another string to his bow with success as an amateur driver in the opening race behind Bettor Backim.
This was his first official race win as an amateur driver, having recorded a third in 18 previous drives.
He races Bettor Backim with Ladbrooks trainer Sue Blake, who also holds an advanced amateur drivers licence.
From the ace draw, Bettor Backim was buried four back on the markers, but unleashed a winning inside run to score an upset win.
This was just the second win in 69 career starts for Bettor Backim.