By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
It’s been a busy week for Waikato reinswoman Alicia Harrison and she was rewarded with a win in the feature race at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night.
Harrison had been down in Christchurch for most of the week overseeing her employer Arna Donnelly’s trio of southern raiders – Kango, Taipo, and New York Minute – who are vying for spots in the Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Cup (3200m) in November.
“I went down with them on Saturday and arrived late on Sunday night,” Harrison said.
“They have settled in brilliantly, I couldn’t be happier with them. The facilities at Mark Jones’ are great and they are loving their life, they are acting like they have been there the whole time.”
While she enjoyed a few days in Canterbury, Harrison returned north for Cambridge Raceway’s Thursday meeting where she had a handful of drives and came away with a win behind Rough And Ready in the Cambridge Homes Mobile Pace (2200m) for Donnelly.
The four-year-old gelding secured the coveted one-one position early on in the race before he was shuffled back to the rear of the compact field when Emmber improved to sit outside the leader.
Harrison didn’t sit idle, setting her charge alight halfway down the backstraight, swooping the field to go head-to-head with Major Jellis turning for home.
The pair continued their duel down the home straight, distancing their rivals, and Rough and Ready was able to get the better of his foe, winning by 1-1/4 lengths, with a further 5-1/2 lengths back to Callie’s Delight in third.
“He is a really nice horse,” Harrison said.
“Last time I drove him we beat Major Jellis and he sat parked, so I was pretty confident that if they went hard then he could win.
“I didn’t want to get caught napping, so I got going early and he did it really easy. He gave a really good feel tonight and he really hit his straps and tried really hard.
“He deserves a chance at the Spring Cup next week.”
Harrison will add to her frequent flyer points when she hops back on the plane tomorrow to return to Christchurch where she will partner stable runner New York Minute in the Spectators Bar – New Specials! Mobile Pace (1980m).
It will be the first time Harrison has driven at Addington, outside of the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championships, so she is looking forward to the experience.
“Unfortunately, we have drawn 13, which is going to make it tough,” she said. “We will be looking for a few gaps. The only good thing is that the horse that has drawn one (Deny Everything) is probably going to roll along pretty hard, which will suit him. But it is going to be tough over the sprint distance from that draw.”
New York Minute will be joined in the race by stablemate Taipo who will be driven by Ricky May from gate six after the scratchings of Off The Edge and Braeview Kelly.
“There are a couple of scratchings, so that will make Taipo’s chances a little bit easier coming into barrier six,” Harrison said.
“It’s his first run in a long time (March), so as long as he is hitting the line well then we will be happy because he will improve a lot with the run.”
The stable will also be represented in the Gr.2 Canterbury Classic (2600m) by Kango.
The son of American Ideal heads into Friday in good form, having won at Cambridge Raceway a fortnight ago over 2200m, running his last mile in 1:57.3.
Harrison has been pleased with the way he has worked this week and is looking forward to watching him test himself against some of New Zealand’s best pacers on Friday.
“We gave them a hit-out on Wednesday. Mark (Jones) drove Kango and he was really happy with him,” Harrison said.
“It is awesome to be working with horses of that calibre. It is a pretty hot field, but hopefully he goes well.”