By Garrick Knight
Revell Douglas showed his wares as an accomplished horseman with a fine training performance at Arawa Park in Rotorua on Sunday.
The South Auckland horseman produced Revving to win a maiden race, fresh up for 29 months and without any recent workouts.
“It’s taken a long time to get her ready,” he told HRNZ.
“She arrived up here in May and has been in work ever since.
“I took her for two trials right-handed about three months ago but she kept on hitting a knee so we gave up that.”
Not really that keen to have horse only able to race left-handed in the north, Douglas tried to get her in foal last month.
“But that didn’t work, so I just decided to push on with her and race her until the next breeding season.”
Revving, a six-year-old daughter of Art Major, had he first race preparation for Gavin Smith in Canterbury, three starts yielding two Addington placings in 2017 as a late three-year-old.
“She got beaten a nose each time but then not long after did a tendon.
“It wasn’t too bad and Gavin wanted to turn her out, but Cameron (Mackie, owner) wanted to put her in foal.
“The owner won out and she ended up having a foal by Always B Miki.
“But it died as a weanling; it ran through a fence.”
By now Revving had resumed jogging with Smith but Mackie wanted to horse in the north and resumed his long-standing association with Douglas.
Douglas has mixed racing administration and his job as New Zealand manager for Hygain Feeds with training the odd standardbred over the past 15 years.
When Mackie rung him with the offer of not one, but two horses last year, he decided to dabble in the craft once again.
Douglas is based at Adrienne Matthews’ property at Glenbrook, north of Waiuku, and says the nearby Karioitahi Beach – the same used by Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis – is what helps Revving.
“I take her out to the beach three times a week and that allows me to get the miles in to her.
“It was because of that that I knew she was fit and ready to go without any workouts, plus she’s probably just a better horse than most in that field.
“I’m glad she’s got that win now because she deserved one on her record.”
A few races later, Dylan Ferguson brought up a milestone win with the Peter and Vaughan Blanchard-trained Charlotte Royal.
It was Ferguson’s 100th New Zealand driving success for the Hamilton-based junior driver, a tick over six years after his first, aboard Carlos at Cambridge.
“I was worried that I might have been going to be stuck on it for a few weeks but it was nice to get it done for longtime family friend Peter Presley and also the Blanchards, after having worked for Pete when he trained with Rogey (Graeme Rogerson),” said Ferguson.
“Pete was only one win off giving me my first win and 100th win.”
Ferguson is in his final year as a junior and says he wants to “get cracking on the next 100”.
The Blanchards had further cause to celebrate when Lovely Bundy rounded out her career with a fine win in the $10,000 Rotorua Trotters Cup.
Safely in foal to What The Hill, today was her final race start and she brought up a hat-trick of wins to finish off what has been a rollercoaster ride of a career for connections.
All told, she’ll head to the broodmare paddock with 12 wins and over $130,000 in earnings to her name.