Blair Orange had two reasons to celebrate at the end of the 24th edition of the American Ideal Provincial
Drivers Championship at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill yesterday.
Orange won the individual category with 20 points and assisted Dexter Dunn to win the team honours
for Canterbury with 27 points.
David Butcher (Waikato) was runner-up to Orange with 17 points with Brad Williamson (Otago) third.
Waikato and Otago shared second in the team section with 24 points ahead of Southland (21), mid-
Canterbury (17), Auckland (14) and Central Districts (3).
Machnificent and Bet's Best were impressive series winners for Orange in their engagements.
Trained at Winton by Ian Jamieson, the slow maturing Machnificent will back up at Ascot Park at the
Invercargill meeting on Friday, Jamieson said.
"He is 6 now but is still developing physically. He is stronger now and should bounce back well for
Jamieson said the horse was hopeless at 3 and he almost despaired of him on two occasions.
Machnificent had to reveal grit and resilience, leading over the last 1500m into a high wind that
proved taxing on exposed runners.
Driver Orange also effectively engaged front running tactics with the trotter Bets Best, who is trained by
Nathan Williamson of Ryal Bush, trainer-driver of another winner Major Deed in a non series race earlier
in the card.
Williamson enjoyed a splendid day out as he reined Willy's Boy, co-owned by club president Peter
Robinson and trained by Wayne Adams to score in the second series event.
Bet's Best was bred by Williamson's mother Bev and is raced by the trainer with the BBC Syndicate. Bet's
Best prefers big and roomy tracks and is likely to race at Waimate and Cromwell over the holiday circuit.
Bet's Best will be tried on a big grass track at the Northern Southland matinee fixture on Sunday.
Willy's Boy's part-owner Peter Robinson is the president of the Invercargill host club. He races the close
relation of Scarrymcleary (8 wins) in partnership with his wife Anne Marie who was in Auckland for the
Mary Poppins show.
The couple bought the service to Falcon Seelster from the Dolamite Syndicate to breed Willy's Boy from
Highfield Jane who is closely-related to Scarrymcleary, a recent winner at Menangle in New South Wales
Robinson was a former star cyclist, as was trainer Wayne Adams who gained his third win of the season
and enjoyed a fine innings last season with 21 wins.
''I always told Wayne I would give him a horse to train one day. He and my younger brother Ray were of
about the same cycling vintage.''
Yaldhurst visitor Pemberton Shard was arguably the day's most impressive winner for Ricky May,
showing grit and resilience to score after being parked for the last 1500m in the fourth series race.
The mare credited Brad Mowbray with his first training win in Southland. He earlier raced three runners
in the province. The trainer will bring Pemberton Shard back to Southland for the prestigious mares
feature at Winton on December 29.
- The Southland Times