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50th win for Ferguson

By Duane Ranger

The 2017 chapter of Dylan Ferguson’s driving career is unfolding nicely.

The 20-year-old Cambridge junior reinsman notched up his 50th career win behind the Nicky Chilcott trained Razor Brogden at the Hawera Harness Racing Club's meeting last Saturday.

It was also his 16th win this season - three better than his previous best achieved in his debut season of 2013-2014.

Ferguson is in his fourth season as a junior driver. He said he was now starting to fulfil some of the goals he set at the start of the season.

"I wanted to be the leading North Island junior driver this year both - with wins and points, and with just over three months of the season I'm on top, and really want to remain there.

"I knew my 50th win was getting close because that’s when I lose my claim. It is pretty special because it was behind Nicky's nice four-year-old. I really enjoy working for Nicky. She has given me a lot of claiming drives and for that I’m extremely grateful," Ferguson said.

"I also want to thank all the other trainers and owners who have put me on their horses. It all started with Graeme Rogerson and Peter Blanchard and now there are many regulars I'm thankful to. Pat and Mike O'Brien (Blenheim) are just two more," he added.

Ferguson nailed his first career win at Cambridge on November 17, 2013 behind the Ken Webber trained Carlos.

Then the following year he drove the Pat and Mike O'Brien trained outsider, Beckingsale to win the $25,000 North Island Country Cups Final. Ferguson was 17 at the time.

"That's been my biggest win so far. I'm rapt with the way this season has been going. I just want to keep driving winners, and if I do happen to drive for any new trainers or owners I want them to know that I have given my very best for them," the White Star employee said.

Ferguson had a brief stint in Australia before returning to New Zealand in 2015. All up he’s now driven 50 winners from 843 drives. He's also placed 155 times for $448,019 in career stakes. His lifetime UDR strike-rate currently sits at 0.1406. This season it's 0.1859.

Ferguson has won $133,447 in stakes this season. His previous best was $120,910 earned in 2013-2014.

But he has some way to catch up on his father Peter's 1,897 ($16.6m) career wins.

"If I could achieve half that number I would be happy. He’s a real inspiration," he said.

Ferguson leads the North Island Junior Driving Premiership with 16 wins from 165 drives. That is 11 wins fewer than New Zealand’s leading junior - Rory McIlwrick.

Jack MacKinnon is the second best North Island junior with 11 wins followed by the now New South Wales-based Sean Grayling with 10. Ben Butcher and Tony Cameron round out the top five with nine wins apiece.

The top five North Island Junior Driver points scorers are: 1) Dylan Ferguson 175; 2) Ben Butcher 118; 3) Jack MacKinnon 113; 4) Tony Cameron 88; 5) Sean Grayling 82.

“I would love to win the New Zealand and Australasian Junior Championships one day, but for now I want to be the leading North Islander. That was my goal at the start of the season and it would mean a lot to me,” Ferguson said.