Veteran trainer Kelly Thompson with three wins, led the charge for Ascot Park trainers who cleaned up with six successes on the seven race programme there on the second day of the Southland Racing Club's Cup carnival yesterday.
A committeeman of the club, Thompson had other rewarding reasons to look back fondly on the bonanza day as he and his wife Isla own two of his three winners Four Gees and Thyme Zone.
Kelly is also a member of the six-strong syndicate that races the other winner Cecil, a first up winner for him and a former member of Kevin (Dummy) Myers' northern stable. Cecil last raced for Myers at Hokitika on January 15.
Club president Sean Bellew scored with The Bubbly One (Amber Edmeads), Tommy Beckett chimed in with Scarlet Boa (Ashley Frye) and Lisa Vaughan, fresh from her Invercargill Gold Cup triumph with Our Bee Jay on the first day, had the last say with Reeves Hall (Ashley Frye) in the final event.
Thompson calculated he had trained three winners in a day either six or seven times earlier in his distinguished career. He also estimated he hit 100 wins on the Ascot Park track about 15 years ago. He first trained at his Longbush farm before setting up his well appointed East Road quarters on the fringe of Ascot Park.
''There's nothing like training winners on your home course because I can walk my horses down a lane from my stables to the course,'' he said.
''That takes care of costly transport charges and I can ride my motor bike along the lane to ease discomfort in my troubled legs.''
The Birchwood Hunt life-member also said he was becoming gravely concerned with rising costs in the twilight of his distinguished career and any saving in raceday expenses was welcomed.
''Everything is that costly now. Costs 20 years ago were only half of what they are now and stakes have not risen in comparison.''
Thompson said his three wins yesterday could have been attributed to welcome rain and freshness of some charges after letups.
The wily veteran has no intentions of retiring from training.
''I know now that I wouldn't be able to sit down and do nothing. I would drive others mad. My wife Isla wants me to retire but I'm sure I would drive her crazy,'' he quipped.
Thompson hopes to make a jumper out of Cecil who has been schooled by Jo Rathbone.
''And you can also bet Dummy Myers has done a bit with him in that department,'' said Thompson, who shares the racing ownership of Cecil with the same fellow syndicate members that raced last year's Great Western Hurdles winner Keep It Tight, namely Tommy White, Brian McLean, Pam Gare, Allison Clearwater and Kelly McLaughlin.
Fresh from his first day sprint triumph with Sucre, club president Bellew struck yesterday with The Bubbly One for the Tight Five Syndicate comprising brothers Chris and Andy Dennis (manager), Peter Macnamara, Emma Hammond and David Kean, joined by Gary McLennan, Bruce Graham and Anna Hewitson, a 25 percent owner of the horse.
The Tight Five Syndicate earlier won races with Russian Diva and Neko.
The owners last year leased The Bubbly One from breeder Keith Neylon who was loaned her dam by Tony, Ray, Martin and Joe Dennis to breed a foal.
Bruce Graham (Wellington) and Anna Hewitson gained first wins with The Bubbly One yesterday.
''Anna has worked for me for nine years and has been my leading lady,'' trainer Bellew said.
''The Bubbly One has a slightly tender shoulder and needs some yield in the ground to express herself most effectively,'' the trainer added.
Wingatui's Steve Anderton, the only outside trainer to score yesterday, produced Raw Gold to stage a
winning debut in the AB Lime Handicap.
Anderton, committed in Auckland with his stable stars, was represented on course by his wife Claire who said The Glitzy One began her trip home to Wingatui yesterday. Stablemate The Solitaire would race at Ellerslie on March 8.
Raw Gold was bred by the late Bob Elliott, of Ranfurly, whose widow Alma shares the ownership with sons John and Murray Elliott of Paerau and Kurow, respectively, together with Norma and Stewart Francis of Naseby, Rosie McConnon (Dunedin), Shelley Owens of Lincoln and Robyn McDonald of Mosgiel.
Supastar, the dam of Raw Gold, won her first two starts on a wet track for Steve Anderton and her daughter relished those conditions yesterday.
- The Southland Times