Matthew Cross is set to do his first race commentaries at the Rangiora harness meeting today.
Cross, 20, has been employed as a cadet with the New Zealand Racing Board based in Christchurch since October. He is understudy to commentator Mark McNamara and television presenter, Greg O'Connor. He previously worked for two years for trainer Cran Dalgety.
Cross had his first win as an owner at Forbury Park on Friday night with Lady Mackendon, the first horse he has raced. Lady Mackendon, who won a maiden trot, was having her first start in the ownership of Cross and close friend, Kimberly Butt, who drove the 4-year-old Pegasus Spur-Stimulus mare. Lady Mackendon is trained by her employer, Mark Jones. Cross and Butt leased the mare from breeders Don McKenzie and Jenny Butt (Kimberly's grandmother) after she had been unplaced in three starts for Sefton trainer Terry O'Sullivan.
Stimulus, a winner, is a half sister by Armbro Invasion to Genius, winner of 24 races.
Cross is calling races six and seven on the Rangiora card.
Jonny Turner, a journalism student at the Southland Institute of Technology and contributor on harness racing to the Southland Times, had a big moment as an owner on Friday night when his horse, Hi Gun won the $11,000 claimers championship final.
Hi Gun, who won the final last year, is now rising 11. Hi Gun has twice been retired from racing but he becomes so active in the paddock that he has been brought back into work.
Turner races Hi Gun with his father, John and the Who's Drivin syndicate. The gelding has been trained for his two final wins by Geoff and Jude Knight at Roxburgh. The stable produced Al Raza for her fourth successive win on Friday night. The 3-year-old filly has proved a timely purchase five weeks ago by the 29-person Central Courage syndicate, who sponsored the race she won on Friday night.
- The Southland Times