Cup win completes succcessful return to driving for Ross
He's a hell of a likeable bloke and has a great work ethic, but Ross Houghton is often one that flies under the radar in discussions in regards to the Robert Dunn stable. Yesterday however, on Marlborough Cup Day, he occupied centre stage as he drove Joey Maguire, a horse he co-owns to dead-heat for victory in the Marlborough Cup.
As has been documented previously, Ross had a successful stint as a junior reinsman driving 33 winners as he worked for the Dean Taylor and Barry Purdon stables. It was while he was working for Taylor that he was fortunate to be associated with top filly Tidal Franco that he drove 16 times, for five wins and eight placings. The winning performances included the $100,000 PGG Yearling Sales 2yr old fllies final, while he also drove that filly to finish second in the three year old version of the same race a year later.
After working as a loader at the airport for many years, Ross caught up with John one day who suggested that he come out to the beach sometime to have a drive. Before long he was getting out there whenever he could, quickly proving a great asset to the stable. He rejoined the drivers ranks two years ago reining home Joey Maguire on Waitangi Day at Rangiora, a day he also achieved a second win with Majestic Bardon.
John was determined to get Ross out to the beach on a fulltime basis and achieved that feat at the end of last year as Ross joined the stable as John's right-hand man.
While Ross is not always one that you will see in the cart on raceday, he is always the one that you will see driving Joey Maguire.
After a period up north and then a spell, Joey Maguire resumed racing in December and in his first two starts back made mistakes from the stand start. However, his confidence quickly returned as he achieved a win and a second at the two day Nelson meet a fortnight ago. A return to the stand start on day one at Marlborough saw a good run for 4th after leading up. In yesterday's cup he was sent out at crazy odds, paying $50 to win on the tote. Ross again managed to get him away well and was able to take up a nice spot on the rails. As stablemate Graduate Under Fire led throughout and then headed for home still in front, Joey Maguire was desperately searching for a gap. That gap took a while in coming, but as soon as it appeared, he charged through and at the finish he was locked together with his stablemate in a dead-heat victory.
Yesterday's win completes the return of Ross to the cart as a professional driver. For Joey Maguire, it was win six of his career and takes his stakes to over $50,000. We hope to see both saluting again soon.
Good on you Houghty and lets hope that there's plenty more to follow mate!
The boys share the spoils after yesterday's Marlborough Cup (Photo used with permission of Matt Kermeen)
Posted: Mon 25 Jan 2016