Barron brings up his 1,000th

By Mac Henry

Flight Deck found a place in harness racing history when he carried Clark Barron to his 1000th New Zealand driving victory at Ascot Park on Sunday.

Until then, nine had been the prominent number in the four year old's three-race career. He'd never drawn inside nine and had that draw on Sunday. He'd finished ninth in his first three starts, giving him a formline of 999, the number of wins Barron had at the start of the day.

While rated an average hope by punters, the sixth favourite was never talked about as one of those likely to help Barron to his milestone. Barron, however, knew he was better than his record.

“He'd had no front row draws and no luck,” he said. “I didn't want to be unlucky again, they'd gone hard enough early so I went up. He was clear, a couple got to him but he fought back.”

Flight Deck only won by a head but that was irrelevant in the context of the occasion. Barron had become the 24th driver to reach the 1000 and the second Barron, his brother Ken having got to the tally two years earlier.

He gained the first of his 1000 wins aboard the pacer Free Trouble, trained by his father Ron, at Forbury Park on 11 October 1980. His first win with a trotter came in a $1265 penalty bearing non-totalisator race in April 1985.

Other early wins included Nordel Lady at the old Alexandra racecourse on New Years Day 1983 and Best Dressed at Invercargill in August 1989, his first as a trainer-driver.

Group race success arrived in April 1991 when Handiboy, trained by Alan Devery and Henry Skinner won the eighth Southern Supremacy Stakes, when it was a group three event. Lento provided Barron with three group race victories, in January 1994 the group three PGG New Zealand Premier Mare's Championship, in January 1995 the group one Canterbury Draught New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes, and in February the same year the group two Meadow Fresh 2000 Free for All. He won that race again a year later with Prince Rashad, while in November 1999, Barron won the group two Avon City Ford Three Year Old Mobile aboard the John Lischner-trained Stars And Stripes.

In March 1997, he gained his sole overseas win when he guided Holdonmyheart to an Interdominion heat win at Adelaide. Back in New Zealand about three weeks later the combination won the group two New Zealand Trotting Championship.

Barron didn't hang around on 1000 wins, also picking up a further group race victory on Sunday. I'm Full Of Excuses became winner number 1001 when landing one the of the day's features, the group two Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes.