By Duane Ranger
Cambridge conditioner, Ross Paynter, extended his personal best season when he trained the winners of the last two races on the Tauranga grass at Gate Pa on Sunday.
Paynter got the chocolates when Liz Rulz won the $8,000 Tauranga Citizens Club Mobile for the R40 to R48 pacers, and Brookies Prince got up in the $8,000 North Island Trainers & Drivers Association R53 to R56 pace.
They were driven by stable employee Fergus Schumacher, and Sailesh Abernethy respectively. Paynter was the most successful trainer at the Waikato Bay of Plenty Harness meeting.
Paynter has now trained 13 winners in 2017/2018 - five more than his previous best last season.
Even though he said Brookies Prince was potentially the better of the two, Paynter was delighted that Liz Rulz won because her five owners - Jack Galbraith (Leamington) , Anthony Slaney
(Karapiro), Colin Pruden (Cambridge), Tony Butler (Cambridge) all help him at his Cambridge Raceway stable.
“It’s a real team effort and that is the reason why we have done as good as what we have so far this season. Fergus drove her well. She finally got some luck and was aided by the big roomy track.
“Having Charlie Hunter around the barn is also a huge bonus. His advice is valuable and something you could never ignore. It’s a real team effort,” Paynter stressed.
Schumacher was rapt with his third win of the season, and he now just requires three more victories to equal his personal best of six wins achieved in 2014-2015.
“Lis Rulz deserved her fourth win (second for Paynter) today. She has copped some tough
draws lately and even though we drew wide again today the big track really helped her. I thought she was courageous.
“I’m really enjoying working for Ross. It’s a real team effort here and he’s given me lots of opportunities, which I am grateful for. I’ve been with him for more than six months now.
“He is working about 20 horses and Lemond is the stable star, but Il Pirata is the Paynter family favourite,” the 22-year-old said.
Meanwhile, Pukekohe trainer, Jeremy Young trained his first Tauranga Grass Cup winner in the Gartshore Group sponsored handicap for the R60 TO R86 pacers, when Brydon Ideal and Maurice McKendry (MNZM) beat Makers Mark (Todd Mitchell) and Italian Delight (Tony Cameron j).
The 9-year-old gelding was the $11.80 sixth favourite (of eight) and went into the 3,000m stand with a nice third last start behind Black Chevron and Classie American in the Te Awamatu Grass Cup.
Brydon Ideal perfectly situated in the one-one turning for home and McKendry got the best out of him to get up in a tight nose and nose finish.
The son of American Ideal stopped the clock in 3:56.5 (mile rate 2:06.8) and sprinted his last 800m and 400m in 59.3 and 29.1 respectively.
He was the 30m back-marker and it was his sixth career win and first away from Alexandra Park.
Results from Sunday's Tauranga meeting on the Tauranga grass were:
Race 1: The Todd Mitchell (Cambridge) trained and driven MALABAR SPUR (5 b m Pegasus Spur-Malabar Hanover (by Malabar Maple).
Race 2: The Dave Iremonger (Morrinsville) trained ROCK N ROLL PATRON (4 br m Rock N Roll Heaven-Anita Patron (by Badlands Hanover) Maurice McKendry (MNZM).
Race 3: The Todd Macfarlane (Pukekohe) trained and driven GEORGE (7 br g Armbro Invasion - Thanx (by Holdonmyheart).
Race 4: The Tony Herlihy (Ardmore) MNZM trained OHOKA MAXIMUS (3 b g Christian Cullen-Millwood Krystal(by Falcon Seelster) Tony Cameron j.
Race 5: The Michelle Wallis & Bernie Hackett (Waiuku) trained GALLEONS VICTORY (4 b g Muscle Mass-Galleons Assault (by Earl) Tony Cameron j.
Race 6: The Mike Berger (Cambridge) trained DUN IT BAD (4 b g Badlands Hanover-Dun A Nee (by In The Pocket) Philip Butcher.
Race 7: The Jeremy Young (Pukekohe) trained BRYDON IDEAL (9 b g American Ideal -Tracey Brydon (by Butler B G) Maurice McKendry (MNZM).
Race 8: The David Butcher (Cambridge) trained and driven STARS DELIGHT (5 br m Bettor's Delight - Okete Star(by Holmes Hanover).
Race 9: The Ross Paynter (Cambridge) trained LIS RULZ (5 br m Lis Mara-Victoria Rulz (by Badlands Hanover) Fergus Schumacher j.
Race 10: The Ross Paynter (Cambridge) trained BROOKIES PRINCE (4 b g Real Desire-Brookmaker (by Artiscape) Sailesh Abernethy.
Top Trainer: Ross Paynter 2 wins.
Top Driver: Maurice McKendry 2 wins.
Top Junior Driver: Tony Cameron 2 wins.
Top Stallion: 10 races and 10 winning stallions.
Extensive results can be viewed here:
Past winners of the Tauranga Grass Cup at Gate Pa have been:
2017: The Chris Webber (Raglan) trained FLEETING GRIN (Peter Ferguson).
2016: The Andrew & Lyn Neal (Cambridge) trained BEYOND THE SILENCE (Andrew Neal).
2015: The Geoff Small (Patumahoe) trained THE BUCKET LIST (Philip Butcher).
2014: The John & Joshua Dickie (Clevedon) trained KIPPENBERGER (Joshua Dickie).
2013: The Frank Cooney & Tate Hopkins Taupaki) trained LETS ELOPE (Maurice McKendry MNZM).
2012: The Ian Small (Patumahoe) trained ZENOLA STAR (Philip Butcher).
2011: The Dave & Clare McGowan (Pukekohe) trained PURE POWER (Nicole Molander).
2010: Race abandoned.
2009: The Kevin Smith (Takanini) trained GREG BRYDON (Matthew White).
2008: The Geoff Small (Patumahoe) trained ZENAD (David Butcher).
2007: The Gareth Dixon (Ardmore) trained TUFFERY (Peter Ferguson).
2006: The Derek Balle (Pukekohe) trained JAG STAR (Gene Robb).