Mighty Flying Mac highlights great night for the stable
While the great summer may be almost over, one who won't be leaving his beach stay anytime soon is Mighty Flying Mac. In just his third start out of his new home at the Woodend stable and off a 35m handicap, he dominated a good field of C3-C9 pacers, just missing a New Zealand record for the 2600m stand in the process.
It was on the suggestion of his former trainer Cran Dalgety that Mighty Flying Mac ended up with John at Woodend Beach. The hope was that it may lead to a refreshed attitude, but he has already far exceeded expectations with two convincing wins and a Group One third placing from his three starts.
John always felt that the handicap may prove too tough last night, but after stepping well the Mach Three 6yr old was able to tag onto the back of the bunch fairly easily. While the early pace was solid enough, John was able to get a good drag into it with a round to go on the back of the favourite Border Control. After that runner briefly assumed control into the backstraight, John allowed Mighty Flying Mac to stride up with purpose and into the lead at the 700m. From that point on it was catch me if you can stuff for the chasing bunch. While Border Control lodged a likely challenge turning for home, it was more of a case of Mighty Flying Mac's inability to get around the last bend that evened things up. Once straightened up at the 200m, he powered away, going on to record a convincing victory by two and a half lengths over Border Control, with Alpha Rock a strong finishing third, a further length away in third.
There were some very happy syndicate owners post race, celebrating the fact that their pride and joy seems to be relishing his new home and in his present form is proving competitive with some very smart horses.
Mighty Flying Mac will now press on to Rangiora in a fortnight with his next assignment the Rangiora Classic, Group Three race run over the 2600m mobile.
Later in the night, it was Say My Name delivering his third win since coming back from injury and in doing so confirming an Auckland campaign. A horse that Robert and John have always had so much time for and owner Ross Gordon has always had so much patience with, Say My Name has always appeared destined for greater things. However, a succession of frustrating injuries threatened to curtail a promising career.
Say My Name was back and looking good at the end of October, targeting one of Kaikoura's feature races. However, a fractured hock meant more time on the sideline. Before his resumption three weeks ago he had a long slow preparation to give him his best chance this campaign. Fingers crossed at the moment and all is going to plan.
In last night's race, Say My Name was pushed to the front early, before handing up to the southerner Captain Dolmio from the 1700m. As he had done a week before that runner kept up a strong clip in front and really pressed the issue from the 400m. Say My Name always looked to be travelling though and lodged his challenge at the 200m, quickly going to the top and running away for another convincing win in 3.09.6 for the 2600m. The closing sectionals of 55.6 for the last 800m and 27.6 for the last 400m, give further kudos to the quality of his victory. Captain Dolmio held on well for second, while Joey Maguire closed striongly for third.
Say My Name is now Auckland bound and in his current form is sure to prove hard to beat in the upcoming Taylor Mile and Messenger.
|Say My Name a convincing winner in 3.09.6 for the 2600m|
The third winner of the night was maiden debutante Letspendanitetogetha in Race One. An impressive workout winner in recent weeks, the 3yr old Washington VC gelding was confidently expected to deliver.
Able to slot into a midfield spot from his second line draw, John always felt that he was travelling like a winner.
"When I pulled him out at the 600m, he got around them pretty easy and I was pretty confident turning for home. Once he got to the top he actually knocked off on me a wee bit. He did it pretty easily."
Owned by Reg Storer and Terry McDonald, John has always had a bit of time for the horse.
"We qualified him at two and then we put him out to give him the chance to strengthen up. He has done that and I think will be a better horse again next season."
While there will be no shortage of opportunities for Letspendanitetogtha as Autumn racing continues, John was thinking that the three year old race at Rangiora next Sunday would be a likely target.
Letspendanitetogetha wins his maiden in a sharp 3.11.8 for the 2600m mobile
The other run of note on the night was from Jag's Invasion in the New Zealand Trotting Championship. Midfield early Jag's Invasion was second last at the 600m before being sent wide on a searching run by Nathan Williamson. At the same time hotpot Monbet was right on the speed and launching a run of his own. Monbet quickly put three lengths on the chasers at the 200m, before first Jag's Invasion and then Sunny Ruby came with strong runs. While Monbet held on by three quarters of a length from Sunny Ruby, driver Nathan and trainer John were stoked with the run of the Armbro Invasion 8yr old for third.
"It was a case of younger legs versus older legs," quipped Nathan afterwards, "but the old fella has gone super."
Jag's Invasion will now head to Auckland to have his crack at the big Group One features.
Posted: Sat 09 Apr 2016