Jack looking to finish the season in style

Jack MacKinnon will be looking to put the icing on another premiership-winning season at Alexandra Park on Friday.

The 22-year-old Pukekohe horseman has all but wrapped up the 2016-2017 Junior Driving premiership at northern headquarters and should seal the title when he reins hot favourite Yagunnakissmeornot in the seventh event.

MacKinnon’s title comes a year after he won last season's Junior Driving premiership by a 0.159 of a point on the UDR strike rate. Both he, Andre Poutama and Kyle Marshall all recorded seven wins apiece.

This year MacKinnon has won nine races at Alexandra Park – three more than Robert Argue. Sean Grayling is actually second, with eight wins, but he now resides in New South Wales.

Unless Argue can win all three of his Friday drives and MacKinnon can't pick up a winner in four attempts on then MacKinnon will pick up his second consecutive Alexandra Park Junior Driving title.

“It’s been an a very good season and I’m delighted to have won the Alexandra Park premiership again, because it is the main track in the North island and you never get sick of winning there.

“I think my season highlight was training and driving Kissmeimloaded in the Jewels Final (3yo Ruby Trot) this year. That was my goal at the start of the season and I achieved it,” MacKinnon said.

“My next goal would be to represent New Zealand at the Australasian Junior Driving Champs,” he added.

MacKinnon has recorded a personal best 16 wins this season ($155,745) – nine at ‘The Park’ and seven at Cambridge Raceway. His previous best in five seasons of driving was the 12 wins ($145,123) he recorded last year.

All-up the former Mount Albert Grammar student has won 40 of his 523 lifetimes starts, placed 95 times, and netted $426,406 in career stakes. His lifetime UDR is 0.1606 compared to his 0.1942 this season.

The Robert Dunn employee should win at least one race on Friday. He said Yagunnakissmeornot had come of age lately and MacKinnon thought he would be very hard to beat.

“Robert has worked her out and since then she’s really come of age. She seems to be getting better with each race. She is my best drive on Friday,” MacKinnon said.

Here’s what he had to say about his quartet of drives:

Race 4: The Ivan Court trained Arden Lustre (8) - “He’s up here from the South Island staying with Steve and Chris, and he won his workout pretty well on Saturday. It’s not going to be easy from the draw, but Steve is happy with him and we expect him to go a bold race first-up.”

Race 5: The Stephen Argue trained Speedy Lavros (10) - “He didn’t go too bad last time but he can be a funny horse at the start. He’s a hit or miss type but feels like he will win one next season. Things would have to go his way from his unruly (five) draw.”

Race 6: The Robert Dunn trained Lambros (9) - “Three-year-old who should go better this week. He’s still learning but follows out his stablemate (last start winner, Johnny White) which should assist him. First four.”

Race 7: The Robert Dunn trained Yagunnakissmeornot (11) - “Lovely mare who shouldn’t be too bothered with the 40m handicap, because she does things right at the start and loves this distance (2700m). She has won three of her last four starts and finished second and it's good to be back driving her again. She’s the best horse in Robert’s Pukekohe barn. It took a while for Robert to work her out but now that he’s achieved that she’s a very serious trotter. She’s been unstoppable of late and I think that trend should continue on Friday. The other good horses in the race are also handicapped. It would be a great way to end the season for me. I would love to win my 10th race on the track and I’ve got a very sensible horse to do it.”

Article courtesy of Duane Ranger (HRNZ)

Posted: Fri 28 Jul 2017

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