By Dave Di Somma – Harness News Desk
Champion reinsman Blair Orange is now a tantalising one win away from 2000 winners, but like everyone else he will now have to wait and see if, and when, the milestone will be his.
The escalation of the COVID-19 alert to level 4 means all racing is off for at least four weeks. It’s an uncertain time for all.
At the Forbury Park Trotting Club’s 6 race grass track programme at Wingatui he kept the best for last as he piloted Well Said Love to a narrow win.
It was an impressive finishing burst from the four year old younger brother of three-time NZ Cup winner Terror to Love.
Paying $4.90 it started a second favourite to Black Ops, who broke before launching mid race and then wilting.
Orange started the day on 1998, needing two wins to become just the seventh New Zealand driver to crack the 2000 barrier and join Tony Herlihy (3530), Maurice McKendry (3268), Ricky May (2949), David Butcher (2428), Dexter Dunn (2226) and Colin de Filippi (2028).
Before his win in the sixth and final race of the day, Orange had finished second on three occasions, with Windsor in the opening trot, and then Fiery Reactor and Coolhand Easton.
“Fiery Reactor” was beaten by the impressive Graeme Anderson-trained Celebrating in race three. The three year old was having just his second start and the win wasn’t an easy watch for backers. The $2 favourite driven by Matthew Williamson broke mid-race and was a clear last before circling the field and winning comfortably by three quarters of a length. Coolhand Easton was beaten by 23-to-one outsider Gomeo Denario for trainer Amber Hoffman and driver Brent Barclay.
And that wasn’t the only upset winner on the programme, at more lucrative odds was $30 outsider Miss Bamboocha who held on to win the Dunedin City Motors Handicap Trot. It was win number three from 67 starts for the seven-year-old.
That gave Edendale trainer Craig Laurenson a double. He won both the day’s trotting races after Sage Trouble took out the Shearing Handicap Trot, ahead of Orange’s drive Windsor. It was just win number two from 34 starts.
With Wingatui being the last meeting for a while, just when and where the next winners come from no one knows.