Southern jaunt produces Group Three win

Following the crazy year that we have had with Covid-19, it was finally time for Southland to get some of last season's feature races run and won. We headed south with a small team and Dashing Major in just his third race start came away with the major spoils in the Group Three Diamond Creek Farm Classic.

The smart looking son of Art Major was well drawn in yesterday's feature and easily held the early lead. However, after being caught wide the first 600m, it was the favourite Ragazzo Mach that would press forward and take the lead, giving Dashing Major the perfect trail. In a small field, the order remained unchanged throughout and it was only over the last 400m that things started to get serious. After finding a kick turning in, Ragazzo Mach looked to have the field covered, but in the shadows of the post, Dashing Major made his claim, getting his nose in front, right on the line in a handy 2.42.1 for the 2200m.

The 11th foal from the good racemare Inspiring Dash, Dashing Major comes from a great family, with champion mare Venus Serena amongst a host of impressive half brothers/sisters. While new to this game, he showed on debut, with a spirited run for third behind top three year old Krug, that he has the ability to mix it with the best. Yesterday's run was only further proof of this and will most likely see him continue on a trail towards the Sires Stakes final in less than two weeks. 

Surfers Delight was our other runner in the race. After being well placed early, he was forced to sit parked the last lap, battling strongly for 5th, just under four lengths from his stablemate. His maiden win must surely be just around the corner.

Dashing Major a Group Three winner at just start three of his career

A couple of races later and it was the running of another of last season's intended feature races, the Southland Oaks. We were represented in the race by the well-performed Need You Now, which was forced to overcome a wide draw and some stiff opposition in the form of Stylish Memphis and Watch Me Now.

There were plenty of early fireworks in the race as first Stylish Memphis and then Watch Me Now headed to the front. John was content to sit out of the early burn, eventually getting a nice run three back on the outer. While there was no respite in the fast pace up front, John made a move with a round to go, getting up alongside pacemaker Watch Me Now. From there, the tempo stepped up another gear, with a 28.7 quarter down the back seeing the favoured three clear out at the 400m. In a great final quarter battle, it was the favourite Stylish Memphis that took the honours after having the cold shot at the lead pair, with a brave Need You Now just three quarters of a length away in second. The 2700m was run in an amzing 3.16.3, just 0.1 seconds outside Amazing Dream's New Zealand record. 

While beaten into second on the day, Need You Now has once again proven herself one of the premier mares of New Zealand harness racing and will have lost few admirers in defeat.

Need You Now as brave as anything running second in the Southland Oaks

We had two two other runners on the day, Jay Tee Tyron in Race Six and Tyron's Bit Of Lemon in the Southern Supremacy.

Jay Tee Tyron had to do work early to lead, trailled for the bulk of the race, looked likely on the turn, but just battled in the end for a close up 4th, Franco Santino getting the honours in a smart 2.39.6.

Tyron's Bit Of Lemon took on a smart line-up in the Southern Supremacy. He was obliged to race without cover for much of the race, but fought resolutely to run 4th, with Burnham Boy much too good after leading throughout. The 2700m stand was run in a very slick 3.19.8.

Posted: Fri 30 Oct 2020