The Bus arrived right on time to win the $12,000 Southland Nuggets final (2200m mobile) at Invercargill on Saturday.
Favourite Benio Ben and driver Matthew Williamson worked hard to lead from Ideal Conquest early, with the Mark Jones-trained The Bus (Samantha Ottley) improving three wide from the rear to sit parked with a lap left.
Some Excusesomewhere blazed to a narrow lead over The Bus ($4.10) with 600m left as Benio Ben stopped quickly and they fought out a torrid battle, with The Bus edging clear off the fast-finishing Kilowatt Kid, as Some Excusesomewhere broke under pressure.
Benio Ben was examined after the race and no medical problems were found.
Charlotte Purvis is the grand-daughter of a former top stipe Les Purvis and daughter of Rangiora owner and breeder John Purvis, so it seemed inevitable she would also pursue a career in harness racing.
The 23-year-old Purvis gained her first win as a driver by guiding Pyramid Magic to success at just her 18th attempt - the result of encouragement from her boyfriend Matthew Williamson.
“Dad owned horses and I've been around them since I as just a wee dot,” the diminutive Purvis said, “but I did pony clubs and shows, then I had a job as a beauty therapist.”
Her friendship with Williamson began about two and a half years ago and she was soon driving work. In no time, Purvis said she was hooked, left her first career and started a new one with Williamson's father Phil. This led to drives at workouts, then trials, and in June, success in as an owner. The horse was November Guy, trained by Phil and driven by Matt.
Pyramid Magic became her favourite horse and that same day Charlotte's brother Matt – who works for Nathan Williamson – finished second on him at Ascot Park.
Charlotte hadn't committed to driving on raceday until some more nudging from Matt and perhaps the chance to further her association with Pyramid Magic.
She kicked off at the start of this season, finally got the chance on Pyramid Magic on Saturday and made the most of it. They started off the back mark, she presented him on the turn, and held out Nathan Williamson driving Pegarose by a neck,with Brad Williamson third on Sam Galleon and Matt Williamson fourth on Danielle Amore.
Reflecting on the entire raceday experience she said: “It's tough out there, you've got to put big boy's boots on.”
The day's R56 and faster 2700 metre pace went to It Ain't The Money in the hands of Brent Barclay.
From the 10-metre mark the son of Lis Mara raced in midfield and had a good one-one sit at the bell, only to be shuffled back to last at the 400. First up since May, the Allan McVicar owned and trained five-year-old produced a huge effort to win wide out by three quarters of a length.
“He's always been big and gangly and I think another year has helped him,” McVicar said of his winner of four from 10. McVicar hasn't decided his next move yet but his local meeting at Gore next week and the Tuapeka Cup a week later are being considered.
Wins on Eye Candy, Highview Justice, Doitson and Jayedgar gave Blair Orange four for the day and 32 for the season, 10 of them in Southland.