Jazzy Star and Ricky May on their way to victory at Addington. Photo: Race Images.
Ashburton owners and long-time breeders Dave and Gaye Luke are renowned for their trotting prowess but the harness racing fanatics are on the verge of breaking new ground with unbeaten pacer, Jazzy Star.
The Michael House trained three-year-old son of Auckland Reactor backed up a very tidy debut effort with a second victory at Addington last night in the hands of Ricky May, running past the well-credentialed Alta Shelby in the process.
And now the Luke combination are faced with a completely new focus.
They’ve raced horses in derbies before, but only trotting derbies and they now sit with the opportunity of lining up their first ever pacer.
“He’s nominated, we will see how we go but at this stage I think that’s the plan,” Dave Luke said.
“It’s quite exciting, we’ve had some really nice trotters over the years but to breed a pacer with the potential of this horse is something quite new to us.”
Buzzed out of the gate to hold the back of Alta Shelby from the inside gate last night, Jazzy Star didn’t look completely comfortable at times, particularly around the last bend when the leader put three to four lengths on the field – but Ricky May confirmed post-race that was more a case of him being cautious than anything.
“He’s still pretty green, I actually thought he was going to gallop on me a couple of times there, but he managed to keep it together.
“But when I asked him for an effort he just really let down, he’s got a bit of ability, that’s for sure.”
The Luke’s are well known for the deeds of their outstanding former open class trotter, Houdini Star but have raced many other talented types during their years of ownership.
“We’ve been lucky, but it’s nice to have a good pacer and one that we bred at home as well.”
The owner and trainer combination went close to a race-to-race double when Mystical Star burst through the passing lane but was unable to get past the evergreen Lightworkofit who was again successful for Don Burrows.
It also denied Sam Ottley her 300th driving win – a milestone which will have to wait for another meeting.