Two from two makes the perfect day for Ross Houghton

If the thrill of his first win in 7 years wasn't a big enough buzz for Ross Houghton last Tuesday, then imagine the feeling today after driving two from two for the Robert Dunn stable.

These days a full time loader for Air New Zealand, harness racing has long been a part of Ross Houghton's life. As a junior reinsman, he worked for Barry Pudon and then Dean Taylor, driving 33 winners in this capacity. It was during this time that he met good mate John Dunn who shared a similar employ. While he loved the harness game and the horses, Ross made the decision to walk away about 7 years ago, not renewing his license. "As much as I loved it, it is a hard game to make a dollar in. I actually had nothing to do with the racehorses for the next 5 years. It was only when I saw John at the airport one day and he said to come out and have a drive. That was 2 years ago."

Over the past 2 years, Ross has begun to rekindle his interest, getting out to help out when he can. "To be honest, I never thought that I'd take out my license again." However, the competitive spirit started to come back and late last year, Ross resumed driving with about 4 drives behind Kynsley Star. It is the last 3 drives that he has had for the stable that have been the most significant. Last Tuesday at Rangiora, he reined home Joey Maguire, a horse that he has, "a share in with a few mates from work." It was a top class drive and augured well for the horse going forward.

At today's Amberley meeting on the grass, Ross was entrusted with the drives on two stable runners - Majestic Bardon and Joey Maguire. Ross produced another great drive today on Majestic Bardon, getting home after leading in race 2. "It wasn't much of a field so I thought if I could get to the top and just keep trucking he'd have half a chance." After leading for most of the 1950m stand, he showed some good staying qualities to get home comfortably by 1 1/4 lengths in 2.36.4. Ross' second and only other drive for the day Joey Maguire again stamped himself as one to watch over the coming months with an authoriative win over the Mark Purdon trained and driven Meticulous. He had to do work to get the front down the back straight and then had to dig deep in the run home. I actually thought Mark was going to run straight past us at the 200m, but this horse is pretty good and just kept finding."  

It is always great to see people in their various capacities, enjoying the great game that is harness racing. Today, Waitangi Day 2014 was also Ross Houghton day. Good on you bud!


Ross and Joey Maguire convincing winners at today's Amberley meet.               


Article by Mike Drury

Posted: Thu 06 Feb 2014