A winning double at Forbury Park on Thursday night could not have come at a better time for Rimu horseman, Steve Lock, a ''battler'' in harness racing.
Lock trained Snow Boy and Blazing Bracelet to win, the first time in 27 years as a licence holder that he has won two races on a card. He has trained the winners of 57 races.
Early this month Lock had the ignominy of being placed on the Unpaid Forfeit List published by Harness Racing New Zealand for an amount of $3276 due to Bryleigh Stud.
A person on the list is barred from entering a racecourse or entering a horse in a race if the amount is not paid within seven days. The payment was made and Lock has since raced Snow Boy and Blazing Bracelet at Forbury Park, Oamaru and Addington.
He decided to step down as the driver of Snow Boy, opting for Dexter Dunn, who was also engaged for Blazing Bracelet.
''I have a lot to thank Dexter for in securing the wins,'' Lock said.
Lock has tended to race cast-off horses from other trainers.
The 9-year-old Snow Boy was having his 58th start when he won a maiden trot.
It was his 33rd start for Lock who has been racing him for 14 months with Stephanie Brayshaw, Vera and Lou Mann, of Rimu. Snow Boy had qualified as a trotter for Craig Laurenson but he had raced as a pacer for seven minor placings in other ownership. He began racing four years ago. He has had 17 ''minors'' for Lock.
Blazing Bracelet was recording his second win in 31 starts. He joined the stable in April, 2012 after two third placings in eight starts from Canterbury stables for his Christchurch breeders Ivan and Helen Dickie.
Blazing Bracelet is now raced by Lock with Kevin Davidson, of Christchurch, Steve Robertson and daughter Emily Robertson, of Rolleston.
''I am just so pleased for the Robertsons as he is their first horse,'' Lock said.
Lock owned and trained his first winner, Snow Fella at Invercargill in 1990 after three seasons as a licence holder He won six races with Snow Fella, who won another four when transferred to Tim Butt.
Dunn brought up his 200th win for the season on Whosideawasthis in the final race on the card on Thursday, extricating the 3-year-old from an awkward position entering the home straight. The leading driver for the past six seasons, Dunn has twice topped 200 wins with a personal best of 220 in 2010-11.
There was a tear in the eye of Brian Anderton after his pacing mare, New Years Jay won on Thursday night. The 77-year-old principal of White Robe Lodge thoroughbred stud and training establishment at North Taieri races her with the estate of Bryan (Mouse) Kennedy with whom he shared much time in racing as a jockey, trainer, breeder and owner.
''It is very emotional. It would just have been great if ''Mouse'' was here,'' Brian said.
Kennedy died four years ago. His widow, Sandra and son, Peter were on hand to share the triumph on Thursday along with members of the Anderton family. New Years Jay made the night by winning a maiden race by 10 lengths in a 2.00.1 mile rate for 1700m (mobile), the fastest rate of the night. The 6-year-old, foaled on January 1, 1998, had been first past the post at Forbury Park in her other race two years ago when trained by Darryn Simpson but she was disqualified for galloping in the early stages. She was subsequently sidelined with filling in a foreleg before being brought back in work with Jonny Cox and Amber Hoffman on the beach at Westwood. Hoffman was in a Christchurch hospital on Thursday night recovering from surgery for insertion of a stent in her leg that morning.
New Years Jay was bred by Kennedy and Anderton from a mating of Washington VC and Jay's Glen, who won for them at Addington in 1998 as a 6-year-old. She was a half sister by a star pacer, Roydon Glen to Nero's Jay, who won two of his three starts for the same owners before he was sold to Australia.
Nero's Jay carried on to win the 1989 Queensland Derby and amass 16 wins in Australia and 68 United States for a career total of 86. Nero's Jay was by Nero's B B from Red Jay, by Tactile from Jayship, who began the Anderton-Kennedy association with standardbreds. They bred her in 1971 from a mating of Lordship and Blue Jay, who came their way through Jack Kennedy, father of Bryan. Blue Jay, a half sister to top pacer Blue Prince, was then 19 and Brian liked her grey (officially roan) colour. She had left useful winners, Blue Tryax and Brian Hanover from six foals for other breeders. Jayship was her last foal.
A 3-year-old half sister by Klondike Kid to New Years Jay, has been registered as Mousey Jay.
- The Southland Times