Eyre I Come defies the odds as Captain Dolmio leads from the front
A horse that Mark Jones was told would never race again has earned himself a Group I start.
Eyre I Come upset a handy field of trotters, including two time Dominion Handicap winner Master Lavros and $1.60 favourite Marcoola to win the Group III trotting free-for-all at Addington on Friday night.
The long head win cements Eyre I Come's place in the Group I National Trot at Addington plus a likely start in the Rowe Cup.
Eyre I Come was touted as a genuine open class trotter in the making when he won impressively on Cup day in 2014, but his career since has been anything but plain sailing.
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"His knees are buggered," Jones said.
"Twelve months ago we were told he would never race again, but he loves his work."
The six-year-old son of Majestic Son does much of his work on the water walker at Brian Court's property as does stablemate Master Lavros.
CAPTAIN DOLMIO wins Race 7 - Metalcraft Roofing espan Summer Cup in the hands of Driver, John Dunn at Addington Raceway! pic.twitter.com/BS2UFGOMLN— Addington Raceway (@AddingtonNZ) February 17, 2017
Following a fiery fight for the lead between Master Lavros and Marcoola, Eyre I Come, in the hands of Blair Orange, trotted up roughly at the bend, but ran past the lead pair to win at blowout odds of 22-1.
Jones, who drove Master Lavros, and Orange, were both of the opinion that Eyre I Come should have won by more had he not knocked off before the post.
Everybody Knows trotted up the passing lane to take second with Master Lavros a further long head behind in third.
Jones, who operates stables at Burnham and Woodend Beach, gave Master Lavros a pass mark for his run given he was aggressively taken on by Clint Ford and Marcoola but still fought hard to the line.
Marcoola faded late to finish seventh.
Eyre I Come, raced by Merv and Meg Butterworth along with Grant Hatton, will stay in work heading towards the National Trot, but Jones said Master Lavros would have around 10 days break.
Meanwhile, the pacing pride of Gore, Captain Dolmio, further enhanced his open class potential with a one and three quarter length win in the Group III Summer Cup.
Formerly trained by part owner Matt Brinsdon, who races the five-year-old by Grinfromeartoear with the Captain Dolmio Syndicate, Captain Dolmio is now trained by Robert Dunn.
Brinsdon believes Captain Dolmio, who lead from start to finish in the Summer Cup, is developing his ringcraft and feels he will be a more complete horse come November when he heads to the New Zealand Trotting Cup.
"We think he can be very competitive at that level," Brinsdon said.
The lightly raced five-year-old, who picked up his seventh win in just his 21st start, made his debut less than two years ago and Brinsdon believes there is plenty of improvement to come.
"Right through the family they have always got better with age," Brinsdon said following the biggest win of Captain Dolmio's career.
Brinsdon said Captain Dolmio had steering issues and lost ground when finishing half a length behind Classie Brigade in the Invercargill Trotting Cup in his previous start.
He will head south for the Northern Southland Cup before returning to Addington for the Group I Easter Cup.
Captain Dolmio beat home Motu Premier with a further half length back to Classie Brigade in third.
Congratulations to EYRE I COME who came 1st place in Race 5 - Teltrac Communications Summer Trotting Free-For-All. pic.twitter.com/zoHBCUHq0B— Addington Raceway (@AddingtonNZ) February 17, 2017
In the opening race of the night, Spanish Armada predictably beat home Delightful Memphis to win the $150,000 PGG Wrightson Sales Series race for three-year-old fillies.
Just five runners started.
The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained filly, driven by Rasmussen, was a comfortable one and three quarter length winner for owner Jean Feiss.
Meanwhile, the Purdon-Rasmussen team have had no luck with barrier draws for Saturday night's feature racing at Menangle.
If defending Miracle Mile champion, Have Faith In Me, is to qualify for the A$750,000 race he will have to be one of the first two home in the Canadian Club Sprint from the outside of the mobile arm.
Barry Purdon's Hug The Wind will start from barrier five and former Kiwi Tiger Tara will have the first start for his new Australian connections from barrier three.
In the second Miracle Mile qualifier, the Allied Express Sprint, Smolda will start from barrier eight, immediately outside former Kiwi No Doctor Needed.
The first two home in each of the Group I races receive an automatic invite to the Miracle Mile but invitations may be extended to other runners.
Champion four-year-old Lazarus won an invitation last week, courtesy of his Chariots Of Fire win and gets this week off.
The Purdon and Rasmussen training partnership will be represented with a runner in each of the three New South Wales Derby heats.
Barrier draws have once again not been kind to the All Stars with Motu Meteor starting from the outside of the mobile arm in the opening heat.
Ultimate Machete and Vincent will both start from barrier five in heats two and three.
The trio should all have the class to qualify.
Unbeaten filly Partyon has drawn barrier seven in the second New South Wales Oaks heat and should be able to keep her perfect record intact.
She is the only Kiwi runner in the two heats.