By Duane Ranger
Nate Delany says he will never forget Willedu and the faith the gelding’s trainer Eddie Clarke has put in him.
The 18-year-old Pukekohe junior driver nailed his third career win behind Willedu at Cambridge Raceway on Wednesday night – and all three have been with the free-wheeling pace-making 4-year-old brown son of Elsu.
“He loves to bowl along in front and doesn’t really like being smothered up in the field. I just want to thank Eddie for keeping me on the horse, because I’ve made some mistakes on the him previously and Eddie has stuck by me.
“When I look back on my career one day, Willedu will always be the horse that not only gave me my first winner, but my first three,” Delany said.
Delany took Willedu to the lead from the outset of the $8,000 Jewels day Pop Up Sports Bar Mobile for the R53 to R56 pacers. They led all the way and won by a neck in 2:43.1 for the 2200m mobile. They came home in 59 even and 28.7 and their mile rate of 1:59.3 was his quickest yet.
While Clarke and Delaney always thought Willedu was a winning chance, the punters again neglected him. He was 10th favourite of 10 and paid $37.50.
His last three wins with Delany in the bike have averaged a $38.70 win dividend.
Delany’s first career win came at Cambridge Raceway on December 6 and Willedu was the 11th favourite of 11 that night and paid $71.10 when scoring by three quarters of a length.
Then on January 25, also at Cambridge Raceway, Willedu was the fourth favourite of eight and paid $7.50.
“I was quite fortunate to get the drive because Jack (MacKinnon) passed him on to me one day at the Workouts and I’ve driven him since. He’s a special horse, who likes to have his own way in front.
He goes at his own pace and just keeps on truckin’,” he said.
Willedu has now won five of his 26 starts and placed in two others. His career stakes sit at just over $30,000. His first win came at Roxburgh on January 4 last year when trained by Paul Kerr and driven by Jonny Cox.
He then came north last autumn and Clarke trained him to a one-and-a-quarter length triumph at Manawatu Raceway on November 21 last year. Peter Ferguson did the driving that day.
Delany has been employed by Ray Green at Pukekohe for almost three years. He has had 47 drives and is now in his second season in the bike.
“I got hooked when Mum (Judith) worked for Paulette Screen (Pukekohe) and I used to go there as much as I could when I was about 14. Ever since I was at Kidz Kartz all I want to do was drive winners,” Delany said.
“It’s quite funny Mum is my biggest supporternand loves to watch me race, but she has never seen me win live on race-day. My nephew, Rawiri (Delany) is also a massive supporter. He is hooked and has followed my career very closely,” he added.
Delany also paid a tribute to Green and Lincoln Farm's John Street.
“I love it here and am very fortunate at my young age to be employed by one of the North Island’s top stables. John and Ray are so good to work for. They really look after me and I try to pay them back by listening and carrying out their instructions.
“You never stop learning here. Andre (Poutama) has also been great. I’m so lucky and grateful because I hated High School when I went there. I so much wanted to be working in a stable rather than in a classroom,” said Delany, who was born in Auckland and raised in Wellington. He came to Franklin just over six years ago.
Meanwhile, Clevedon reinsman, Josh Dickie was the most successful horsemen at Wednesday night’s meeting.
He won the second and fourth events behind the John and Josh Dickie trained Ideal Star, and the Brian Hughes and Gareth trained Hughies Sister. Both were the $2.30 favourites.
Hughies Sister (by Art Major) is a full sister to the now Australian-based 15-win (A$227,248) open class pacer, and 2015 Auckland Cup runner-up, Hughie Green.
Their mother Alta Serena, was an even better pacer, winning 21 races and $593,618, including the 2005 Easter Cup and Queen of Hearts.
It was Hughie Sister’s second start this season after finishing seventh when the outsider of the field in a R50 to R51 pace at Alexandra Park on August 25.
Results from Wednesday night's Waikato-BOP Meeting at Cambridge Raceway were:
Race 1: The Dave Iremonger (Morrinsville) trained ATOM HANOVER (6 b g Righteous Hanover-Atom Patron (by Soky's Atom - Courage Patron (by Courage Under Fire) Warren Rich (a).
Race 2: The John & Josh Dickie (Clevedon) trained IDEAL STAR (3 b g American Ideal-Star Of Heaven (by In The Pocket) Josh Dickie.
Race 3: The Eddie Clarke trained (Pukekohe) WILLEDU (4 br g Elsu-Willowbrook (by In The Pocket) Nathan Delany (j).
Race 4: The Brian & Gareth Hughes trained (Clevedon) HUGHIES SISTER (3 b f Art Major-Alta Serena (by Fake Left) Josh Dickie.
Race 5: The David Butcher trained and driven (Cambridge) STARS DELIGHT (5 br m Bettor's Delight-Okete Star (by Holmes Hanover).
Race 6: The Andrew & Lyn Neal (Cambridge) trained CREDIT MASTER (4 b g Muscle Mass-Jessicas Credit (by Credit Winner) Andrew Neal.
Race 7: The Tony Herlihy (MNZM) trained and driven (Ardmore) BETTOR BABE (3 b f Bettor's Delight-Galleons Supreme (by Christian Cullen).
Race 8: The James Stormont (Pukekohe) trained THAT GIRL OF MINE (3 b f Great Success-Petite Sunshine (by Sundon).
Top Driver: Josh Dickie 2 wins.
Top Stallion: Bettor’s Delight 2 wins.
Top Junior Driver: Nate Delany (Pukekohe) 1 win.
Top Trainer: Eight races and eight winning trainers.
Extensive results can be viewed here.