Addington Raceway reviewed

While most of the attention last night was at Alexandra Park in Auckland, there was still plenty of attention on Addington. Matt Markham gives his account of the night's racing at The Met.

Race One: Winner – Rockin Roll Lad

It’s a safe assumption to say Rockin Roll Lad hasn’t really lived up to what he promised.

The three-year-old son of Artsplace was handy enough as a two-year-old to warrant being respected as a horse who would go through the grades with some ease.

But that hasn’t happened.

Last night the gelding picked up the third win of his career when driven perfectly by Mark Jones.

Originally trained by Mark Purdon and Grant Payne, Rockin Roll Lad is now in the care of Cran Dalgety and has been for almost a dozen starts.

Jones picked up the drive last night with Dexter Dunn in the North Island.

After securing the one out one back Rockin Roll Lad ran home over the top of his opponents to win beating a gallant K C Pedro who looks close to winning another race with Ballochbuie who led throughout.

Race Two: Winner – Sunchita

There was no doubting Sunchita was the best horse in the second race last night – it was just a case of which Sunchita was going to show up.

A trotter with all the ability in the world, but with just as many problems, Sunchita has been a punters enigma for many starts now.

But last night on her best behaviour the Brian Hill trainer, Kristie Hill driven four-year-old mare was too good.

“She has let us down a couple of times with her manners,’’ Kristie Hill said.

“But there is no doubting that when she trots she has plenty of ability.’’

The Hill family had a few nervous moments following the race when an inquiry was opened into alleged interference down the straight by both Sunchita and runner-up J D Spur.

But after viewing the tapes the results was declared.

J D Spur was brave in defeat after doing plenty of work while Trips On Me ran home well for third.

Evander D Go, which finished fourth looked very unlucky in the run to the line.

Race Three: Winner – Unique Chance.

Peter and Beryl Boag had been waiting a while for last night, and had been getting a little frustrated in the process.

The reason for their frustration was Unique Chance, a more than handy pacer who couldn’t break get his way into the winners circle.

After 24 starts the McArdle three-year-old finally broke the duck last night in an impressive fashion.

“It’s a bit of a relief,’’ Peter said after the race.

“I think the horse is getting better every time he comes to the races, but I don’t know about me.’’

The Boag’s purchased Unique Chance from the Ready To Run sale last year and he did his early tutelage under Mark Jones.

After a handful of starts as a two-year-old for Jones, the horse was then transferred to his father Peter who trains with wife Leonne.

Prior to last night’s win Unique Chance had placed on six occasions with his last three starts resulting in second placings.

Debutant Delightful showed she will win a race at short notice with a big run for second while Chloe Maguire ran home well for third.

Race Four: Winner – Master Pip

Colin De Filippi wondered what he had got himself into when Master Pip arrived at his placed two months ago.

Purchased from the stable of his next door neighbour Grant Crabbe, Master Pip was a bit of a handful.

“He was flighty and really nervous,’’ De Filippi said.

“I thought to myself at the time I had got myself into some trouble.

“But he is getting better, and there is a bit of ability there.’’

The ability was well and truly shown last night when the Mach Three gelding circled the entire field to win on debut in stylish fashion.

Pushed four wide at the top of the back straight, De Filippi managed to get some cover until the bend when he unleashed his charge – who duly delivered.

McArdle’s Smooth was a little unlucky in second and Shamrock’s Boy was brave in third after doing plenty of work.

The win gave De Filippi, who trains in partnership with his wife Julie their second success of the night after trotter Stent won in Auckland.

Race Five: Winner – La Passione

Last night’s win of La Passione should have come as no surprise to anyone.

A brilliant stand start pacer who likes to roll along out in front, the son of Pacific Rocket was always going to be a strong chance.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Driver Terry Chmiel made every post a winner cutting solid sectionals and effectively running their opponents of their feet.

The Derek Jones trained pacer has now won three of her 12 career starts and placed on four occasions.

'That's her go,'' Jones said. 

"She has donea good job in her career so far.''

La Passione is owned by one of harness racing’s most prominent families – the Georgesons, who have enjoyed good success with juvenile trotters in the past.

Ataahua Tiki snuck along the markers to finish second while Fat Prophet was solid again finishing third.

The shock of the race was Chancellor Cullen who disappointed when failing to finish in the first four.

Race Six: Winner – Astral Traveller

Blair Orange gave Astral Traveller the big tick after his  all the way victory.

Filling in for Anthony Butt who was in Auckland, Orange was enlisted with the driving duties and didn’t let the side down.

The two-year-old showed plenty of speed out of the gate and worked to the lead and put the race beyond doubt.

“He’s got plenty of gate speed which is a big bonus,’’ Orange said after the race.

“And a beautiful going trotter to sit behind too, he actually started to knock off abit as they come up the straight so he actually did it pretty easy.’’

Originally trained by Michael Heenan in Mid Canterbury, Astral Traveller was purchased into Tim Butt’s stable after just the one start.

He showed he wasn’t far away from picking up some money with a big fifth last start.

Juneamy Castleton showed she is a horse of the future with a nice second while Glenferrie Pride continued her improvement with a good third.

Race Seven: Winner – Double Happy

Junior driver Jack Trainor continued his good run of form in his first season of driving with a solid victory aboard Double Happy.

Trained by his boss, Cran Dalgety, the Bettor’s Delight four-year-old came with a solid run down the centre of the track to claim the third win of his career.

In a hotly contested junior drivers event, Trainor was forced to do plenty of work early when trapped four wide but managed to get a decent run into the race to win narrowly over a brave Just Rose.

Trainor has now won eight races from almost 90 drives this season and is making big in-roads into what is an open junior drivers ranks throughout the country.

“It’s been a really good season so far,’’ Trainor said.

“I’ve been lucky enough to get some nice drives, I set myself a goal of ten wins so hopefully I can get there.’’

The win gave Dalgety a double for the night and win number 68 for the season taking him into a clear second position.

Race Eight: Winner – Woodlea Legend

Mitchell Kerr made a big decision this season, and he’s starting to see the benefits.

The young horseman had established himself in the North Island when working for Gareth Dixon.

But with his father Paul starting to gain a handy racing team around him the lure of returning home was too much and he made the call to say farewell to the North and relocate.

“It was a tough choice to make,’’ Kerr said.

“I had a great set up in the North, Gareth was great to work for and his owners were really good to me.

“But if you want to make your mark in the game you need to be driving Group One horses and Dad has a few of them in the stable.

“When I moved down I knew I was going to have to work hard to get my name back out there but it is slowly happening.’’

 One trainer to take notice of Kerr’s comeback in the South was Thomas Twidle who utilised Kerr on his team last night.

With a dream run in the trail Woodlea Legend was too good up the passing lane and won with some authority over a brave Magna who just doesn’t seem to know how to run a bad race.’’


Race Nine: Winner – Clover Don

Murray Alfeld isn’t too worried that he’s not in Auckland with Clover Don.

It would be too much of a hassle.

The smart trotter isn’t the most calm of horses and his trainer thinks the effort just to get him up there would leave nothing to offer when he hits the track.

“He’s just too nervous, always shaking, I don’t even think we could have got him on the transporter,’’ Alfeld said.

But while the big guns are up in Auckland strutting their stuff, Alfeld plans to make the most of it back here in Canterbury.

“There is plenty of races around for him over the next few weeks, and all are for good stakes.’’

The son of Sundon was brilliant last night after doing plenty of work and looked very strong in his run to the line.

Thanesan was solid in running second, making up plenty of ground and the ever consistent Live The Dream was third.

Paramount Geegee was clearly the run of the race after missing away before storming home to finish fourth.

Race Ten: Winner – Artiface

A notable drop back in class was one of the key elements to the success of Artiface.

Coming out of a bold run in the Easter Cup at his last start the John and Parsons trained runner was too good for a lesser value of opposition despite the field he faced still being very strong.

Colin De Filippi wrapped up a good night at the office with his third success of the night, adding to the success of Stent at Alexandra Park.

Artiface has compiled a solid record in his career last night picking up his tenth success.

Add to that a further nine placings from 25 starts and the son of Mach Three has been a real money earner for his connections.

In behind the winner, Southwind Arden and Flyover were both brilliant when running second and third and will find themselves in the winners circle again at short notice.

Rangataua Ray, who like Artiface was dropping back from the Easter Cup was solid in fourth.

Race 11: Winner – The Fat Controller

Should last night be the final time The Fat Controller goes to the races he can enjoy retirement knowing he bowed out in the best possible fashion.

His trainer and driver Phillip Iggo was almost certain that last night would be the last time the former trotter would line up.

“I think that’s about enough for him,’’ Iggo said.

“He’s done a lot in his career and I really wanted him to go out on a winning note.’’

The Fat Controller has raced 78 times for 11 wins and 18 placings and stake earnings of more than $150,000.

His biggest scalp was his victory in the Canterbury Park Trotting Cup at Group Three level and he placed at Group level on a number of occasions.

“He’s been a special horse for me.’’

Royal River and Scotty’s Is Flyin were the best of the rest in behind the winner. 

The Press