Kaikoura racehorse owner Murray Boyd is ecstatic after learning one of his horses, Donegal Delight, has drawn No 1 in the Alabar Kaikoura Cup, the main race at the Kaikoura Trotting Club's meeting at South Bay on Monday.
Boyd said to draw the ace was "a gift from heaven" and could pave the way to his lifelong ambition of having a starter in the New Zealand Cup.
"[The] starting place is really quite important," he said.
"All she's hopefully got to do is go straight ahead . . . it's very exciting, a dream come true."
The Kaikoura meeting is one of the big events on the racing calendar leading up to the New Zealand Cup at Addington on Tuesday, November 13.
Donegal Delight, a five-year-old mare by Bettors Delight from Chivasso, has been followed by many local supporters for the past few seasons and has notched up a number of significant wins.
However, victory on Monday would be the most important of her career so far, as it will secure her a place in the field for the New Zealand Cup.
Last year's $50,000 feature race was taken out by pint-sized defending champion Smiling Shard, driven by leading driver Dexter Dunn, and trained at West Melton by Cran Dalgety.
The early favourites for this year's Kaikoura Cup are Highview Tommy, Jarcullembra, Easy On The Eye and Fly Like An Eagle, although Donegal Delight, with experienced driver Dunn driving, and the support of the local crowd, offers a big chance of a hometown victory on Monday.
The day's racing starts at midday with the 10th and final race at 5.15pm.
The Kaikoura Cup will be run at 3.30pm.
As well as the racing, the day at the South Bay racecourse almost always delivers fine weather, a beautiful ocean backdrop and plenty of fabulous outfits. The fashion in the field is always keenly contested. Plenty of refreshments and entertainment for the whole family makes the Kaikoura Trotting Club's raceday a must for every calendar.
Race 1: Dragon Lady, Continental Halo, Royal Pilot, Shutterup.
Race 2: All Star Man, Field Officer, Better Than Money, Master Pip.
Race 3: Stent, Luby Ann, Sunchita, Jackson Square.
Race 4: Ideal Arden, Royal Cynic, Hannah Jaye, Christian Acropolis.
Race 5: I Can Doosit, Stig, Dr Hook, Musgrove.
Race 6: Living The Dream, Three Pints, Double El, Magna.
Race 7: Highview Tommy, Jarcullembra, Easy On The Eye, Fly Like An Eagle.
Race 8: Destiny In Motion, Kaiteri Bay, Sir Tosti Mach, Jak Tat.
- The Marlborough Express