Ferguson picks up first Group victory

By Tayler Strong
Craig Ferguson, the 21-year-old junior driver, continued his run of success with his first group race win at Forbury Park on Thursday night, driving  The Wrath Of Robyn in the $25,000 Ricoh Dunedin Four and Five-Year-Old Championship.
Ferguson has  won 23 races this season, among them the Wyndham Cup on The Wrath Of Robyn. Ferguson drove four winners that day. He also won a heat of the youth versus experience series at Waikouaiti last month.
He has driven The Wrath Of Robyn in his eight wins for  owner-trainer, Trevor Cross, a Gore car dealer.
“It is just such a thrill to drive a winner for Trevor he gets such a thrill out of it,’’ said Ferguson.
The Wrath Of Robyn gave Cross his first win in 2013.
“That first win as a big thrill and then the Wyndham Cup and now this,’’ said Cross.
Ferguson  settled The Wrath Of Robyn (5-6 favourite) three back on the inner and out-finished the pacemaker, Mossdale Conner by a neck. There was  three and a half lengths to the favourite Isaiah, who was close up in the open from the 1500m after starting from 30m. Quick As A Trick fought on for fourth. The well supported Venus Serena weakened to sixth after improving three wide from the tail of the field at the 800m.
The Wrath Of Robyn ran the 2700m in  3.21.3 (1.59.9 mile rate), 0.1sec outside the  track and race record set by Hip Hop Anvil in 2012.
Classical Art showed gamesness to lead for most of the way in the  $20,000 Nevele R New Zealand Sires’ Stakes series heat for 3yr-old fillies.
“It was a good effort. I thought she was headed by On The Town about the 100metres,’’ said Tim Williams her driver.  He was driving Classical Art for the first time.
Classical Art prevailed by a nose from On The Town, who trailed her and took the passing lane. Classical Art ran  the 1700m (mobile) in  2.03.3, a 1.56.6 mile rate. Mighty Empire was a length and a half back third  after racing handy in the open. Art Exhibit, who raced three back on the inner was next to finish.
Classical Art is trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen  for Braeden and Caroline Whitelock, of Palmerston North. Purdon and Grant Payne trained O Baby, driven by Rasmussen, to win the Nevele R series final for the Whitelocks in 2012.
The stable won a heat of the 2015 series with Fight For Glory at Ashburton in February.
Purdon won heats of the series at Forbury Park with Imagine Me (2009) and Imagine That (2004). Venus Serena won the Forbury Park heat and the final at Addington last year.