By Michael Guerin
If Dylan Ferguson trains a winner at Cambridge tonight he won’t get the official credit.
But that is a small price to pay for the education he is getting studying at the University of Rogey.
That is because day in, day out 23-year-old Ferguson gets to learn from training legend Graeme Rogerson, who has done almost everything a horseman can do in Australasian racing.
Rogerson is of course better known in the thoroughbred world but since trying his hand at harness racing a decade ago he has had continued success, success shared these days with Ferguson.
The son of top driver Peter Ferguson, Dylan does the daily training of Rogerson’s 22 harness horses but the boss still provides direction and advice. And a rev up when needed.
“It is an amazing education for a young guy like myself,” acknowledges Ferguson.
“I have been here almost since I left school and you learn so much from Graeme.
“These days he leaves me to do much of the actual training because they are so busy with the gallopers but we still meet to discuss what he wants me to do.”
The stable take three reps to Cambridge tonight for the first horse racing meeting in New Zealand with the public allowed back in post-Covid. And Ferguson says they can pull off a handicap win rarely seen.
Delson opened the $3.50 favourite for race six tonight even though he starts off a 45m handicap, a disadvantage not often overcome in northern harness racing.
“I think he can still win from there because he would have won the similar race last start off 40m if he hadn’t galloped,” says Ferguson.
“That was over 2200m so the step up to 2700m this week will help him even more. “He is fit enough to win and if he behaves then he is the one to beat.”
Ferguson expects South Island import Sunset Red (race two) to trail and be competitive but she may be short of peak fitness while juvenile Super Duper Dude will be better for his debut in race four.
The John and Joshua Dickie stable has been the form barn in the north at the two comeback harness meetings so far and they looks certain to add to that again tonight, with Callie’s Delight and Bar Room Brawl two of their better hopes.
Callie’s Delight was an effortless winner here 11 days ago but had to overcome a 20m handicap in a bigger field tonight and the 2700m distance of the main pace looks less suitable than her last-start 2200m.
Bar Room Brawl meets Delson in the night’s big trot and gets a 30m start but Josh Dickie has chosen not to drive him, instead utilising the stable’s junior drive Craig Smith because a win tonight could be rating penalty-free if driven by a claiming junior.