Franco Ledger ran a track record 4.02.9 for 3200m when he won the Waikouaiti Cup in style yesterday from 50m, the biggest handicap overcome in the 59 year history of the race..
Franco Ledger took 4.1sec off the track record of 4.07 he set in the race two years ago from a 20m handicap.
''He felt really good throughout the race,'' said Hamish Hunter, his Ryal Bush trainer and part-owner.
Franco Ledger sat at the rear of the eight-horse field until the home stretch, 400m out, then stormed home wide out to win by a length and half.
The 6-year-old entire has now won 18 races and $369,000 in stakes for Hunter and the What Ever syndicate. Franco Ledger has also won the Hannon Memorial at Oamaru and Wairio Cup this season.
He will race in the Interdominion heat at Addington on Saturday, striving for a berth in the Final at Menangle next month.
Harry Mac recaptured winning form in track record time for his Southland connections yesterday.
He rated a phenomenal 1.57.9 for 1800m (mobile) on grass. He had not been successful for 16 months but in between times he had a 12 month break from racing.
''He got a bad virus when he was in Auckland and we brought him home,'' said Ben Calder, the Ryal Bush owner who races Harry Mac with his wife, Karen and Karen's parents, Russell and Beth McNeill, of Invercargill.
Harry Mac won three races from seven starts at three and four when trained in Auckland by Barry Purdon. Now a 5-year-old and trained by Nathan Williamson, Harry Mac has only raced 11 times.
His time of 2.12, lowered the track mark of 2.14.6 set by Ultimate C C earlier in the day. The 3-year-old filly who overcame a second line draw, is trained by Mark Jones for Greg Brodie, of the Gold Coast.
Don't Die Working gave Todd Dallard his first win as an owner with the first horse he has raced. The Invercargill builder races Don't Die Working with Warwick Howie, of Wingatui.
Dallard's grandfather, Ron McEwan, 79, and Ron's daughter Julie train Don't Die Working at Branxholme. McEwan had not been to a Waikouaiti meeting since he produced Andy's Boy to finish second to Breeny Boy in October, 1993. Don't Die Working won clearly after racing in the open over the last mile.
Warwick, a stock drafter, is in the syndicate who won with the galloper Miss Three Star at Wingatui in December.
Dallard and Howie bred Don't Die Working from the unraced mare Badlands Belle (by Badlands Hanover), who was loaned to them by Ron.
Queen Kenny, who was bought during the week by Gordon McKenzie, of Riverton and his partner, Rose Dixon, won a maiden trot decisively after leading for the last 1600m.
''We only bought her on Wednesday. Tony Barron (the Makarewa trainer) had been on the lookout for a trotter for us,'' McKenzie said.
McKenzie was in the ownership of Man In Black who won twice from the Barron stable before being sold to Australia in 2008. He has also won with the galloper Oliver Rum.
Mrs Dixon is Barron's cousin.
Rakauhauka horseman Clark Barron trained and drove Best Of The Bunch to win for Parr Bloodstock Ltd, of Ashburton and the Palmers syndicate, of Dunedin.
The Southland-owned Springbank Sam took 3.6sec off the track record for a trotter over 3200m when he recorded 4.12.9 after overcoming a 50m handicap.
''I am just so pleased to have him back to his best,'' said Phil Williamson, his trainer. Springbank Sam had a setback with a virus in November.
- The Southland Times