By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
South Auckland trotter Still Eyre is in a purple patch of form and owner-trainer Ellie Rowden is hoping for more of the same at Cambridge Raceway on Saturday.
The son of The Pres has won his last two races and Rowden was particularly impressed with his last start heroics over 2200m at Alexandra Park.
“That was a real highlight winning that race at The Park,” she said. “I knew he wouldn’t be far away but for him just to grit in that last little bit and really work for it was great.
“And also being 2200m, he seems to be a lot more comfortable over 2700m.”
Still Eyre will be met by his pet distance on Saturday when he starts behind the 20m tape in the Candice & Jason’s Birthday Bash Handicap Trot (2700m) and Rowden’s only concern heading into the race is open-class trotter Credit Master.
However, the Andrew and Lyn Neal-trained gelding will have his work cut out for him from his 55m handicap.
“I am very happy with the way he is going, he is just so consistent and tries his absolute heart out,” Rowden said.
“I am quietly confident (ahead of Saturday) and I am sure he will ping the tapes and step away. I am a little bit worried about Credit Master, but that is a huge handicap to have to overcome.
“But it could go either way, one of the front markers could get in our way, you just don’t really know.”
Still Eyre is the only horse Rowden has in work and she said he fits in nicely around her work at Vaughan and Peter Blanchard’s barn.
“I work for Peter Blanchard, so he fits into the team nicely,” she said.
“I am only a one man band and I am really privileged to get the chance to have a go with him and I love him to bits.”
Rowden’s interest in harness racing peaked as a teenager, but it wasn’t until more recently that she became more involved in the sport.
“I worked for Sue Martin for a few months when I was 19, but just being so far out in the whop whops I didn’t enjoy it that much, so I went back to trackwork riding,” she said.
“I just finished four and a half years working for Todd MacFarlane and I started working for him doing the boxes.
“I had not long had my second son and I just needed a few hours a day of peace and quiet, so I started to do boxes (at MacFarlane’s) and it escalated from there.
“I owe most of the things I know to Todd, he was a great mentor.”