By Duane Ranger
Waikato’s only trainer at this year’s Harness Jewels Final had another successful night at the office at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night.
Cambridge conditioner Nicky Chilcott won her second Oaks within the space of six days when the Sailesh Abernethy driven Monaro Mia won the richest event at ‘The Raceway’.
Monaro Mia followed up her Gr.3 $30,000 Haras des Trotteurs Northern Trotting Oaks victory at Alexandra Park last Friday night with a tough win in the inaugural $15,000 Haras des Trotteurs Waikato Trotting Oaks.
The three-year-old Imperial Count - Monaro Miss (by Wrestle) filly beat the John and Josh Dickie trained Sex On Fire (Josh Dickie) on both occasions.
In her latest victory Monaro Mia paced the 2200m mobile in 2:45.6 (mile rate 2:01.1) and came home in 60.3 and 30 even. The previous start she went 2:50.2 (mile rate 2:04.5) with 58 and 28.9 final sectionals.
Monaro Mia has now won five of her 18 starts, placed in three others and banked $49,600.
She was bred by Maurice Wharton of Blenheim with his wife Helen and they leased her to John Brinsdon and Mary Robertson, who now own her.
Chilcott paid a tribute to both Waterlea trainer Graham Neill and Papakura-based Abernethy.
"Graham did all the hard yards with her winning three races before I took over the training in April. She came as a ready-made racehorse and all I've had to do is keep topping her up.
“She’s a terrific wee horse and I know the owners would like to see her race in Australia one day but the way she’s going she will make an even nicer four-year-old.
“I hope they change their mind because she I know she will win a few more races. Like I said she is a real credit to Graham,” Chilcott said.
Chilcott has been suffering from a sore ankle in recent weeks and has had tests to solve the problem. However that is not the reason she wasn’t driving Monaro Mia.
“Sailesh was driving her for Graham before she came up here and has done a sterling job. We have spoken to the owners and it’s merely a business decision.
“He will drive her on Jewels Day but you would have to break both my legs to get me off Juice Brogden in the four-year-old mares (Diamond) Final. I’ll come right,” Chilcott said.
Monaro Mia is ranked second behind the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Winterfell while Juice Brogden is seeded eight.
"Juice hasn't been 100 per cent this season but on her day she can give them a fright and she's nearing peak condition again.
"Monaro Mia can place but Winterfell looks a home run. He could sit down in the middle and still win," Chilcott said.
"It will be a real honour to represent Waikato at the Jewels Finals. I'm very proud of that," said Chilcott.
The other feature of the night was the first heat of the New Zealand Amateur Driving Championships.
Pukekohe reinsman Craig Sharpe led all the way on $35.70 chance A Chance To Dream to win the $9,000 Flatbush & Botany Downs TAB NZ Amateur Driving heat. Blair Wilmott and Pay master were second, while Sheryl Wigg and Scanreco Bay finished third.
The final two heats will be staged at Rangiora Raceway on Sunday week (May 27).
Condensed results from Thursday's Waikato-Bay Of Plenty Harness meeting at Cambridge Raceway were:
Race 1: The Todd Macfarlane (Pukekohe) trained A CHANCE TO DREAM (6 Br m Art Major - Sabelle (by Tuapeka Knight) Craig Sharpe (a).
Race 2: The Todd Mitchell (Tauwhare) trained and driven THE CO-ORDINATOR (4 B g American Ideal - Monaro (by In The Pocket).
Race 3: The Jo Stevens (Cambridge) trained FRANCO NADAL (10 Br g In The Pocket - Nostalgic Franco (by Rustler Hanover) Peter Ferguson.
Race 4: The Arna Donnelly (Cambridge) trained IN THE SHADOWS (3 Br f Shadow Play - Waitfornoone (by Albert Albert)) Scott Phelan.
Race 5: The Ross Paynter (Pukekohe) trained HELENA IDEAL (4 B m American Ideal - Matai Marlene (by Holmes Hanover) Scott Phelan.
Race 6: The Nicky Chilcott (Cambridge) trained MONARO MIA (3 B f Imperial Count - Monaro Miss (by Wrestle) Sailesh Abernethy.
Race 7: The Ray Green (Pukekohe) trained SPRING CAMPAIGN (4 Br h Courage Under Fire - Spring Thaw (by Falcon Seelster)) Zachary Butcher.
Race 8: The Adrienne Matthews (Glenbrook) trained THE HULK (4 B h Muscle Mass - Friendly Persuasion (by Sundon) Sailesh Abernethy.
Race 9: The Ray Green (Pukekohe) trained TROJAN BROMAC ( 2 Br c Bettor's Delight - Caitlin Banner (by Washington VC) Zachary Butcher.
Race 10: The Jay Abernethy (Papakura) trained and driven LITTLEBITOFLOVE (5 B g Love You - Little Floozie Suzy (by Armbro Invasion).
Top Trainer: Ray Green (Pukekohe) 2 wins.
Top Stallion: American Ideal 2 wins.
Top Driver: Scott Phelan and Zachary Butcher 2 wins apiece.
Top Junior Driver: No wins.
Extensive results can be viewed here. https://infohorse.hrnz.co.nz/d...