Franco Ledger breaks track record in Invercargill Cup
Franco Ledger gave trainer-driver Hamish Hunter one of his greatest moments in harness racing at Ascot Park today.
The Falcon Seelster 5-year-old came from last at the 900m to win the $40,000 Invercargill Cup. Off a 30m handicap, Franco Ledger clocked 3:58.7 (3200m) and broke The Tough Nut's track record by 1.4sec. The Tough Nut posted his time in the 2000 Cup.
The Southland record for the distance is held by Lord Forbes at 3:58.6, set in the 2010 Wyndham Cup.
Franco Ledger ran his last 1600m in 1:55.4 and 800m in 54.3. He went from the 800m to the 400m in 26.5.
It was Franco Ledger's best performance. He closed steadily on the leaders from the 400m and answered Hunter's call at the 200m.
``I asked him for his best and he gave it, really dug in.''
Mark Jones's four winners today were Whitney, Saveapatrol, Flying Anvil and Juneamy Castleton, with the latter three scoring in track record time.
Jones said he had driven four winners in a day on four or five occasions.
He trains Saveapatrol at Burnham for Christchurch owner Grant Hatton. The Christian Cullen gelding will be back at Ascot Park for the Caduceus Club of Southland Autumn Futurity (March 23) and Southern Supremacy Stakes (April 21).
The New Zealand Derby at Addington (April 5) is also on Saveapatrol's agenda.
- The Southland Times