Win and a second for Trent Lethaby

by Duane Ranger

Trent Lethaby finally got the luck he had been looking for at Cambridge Raceway last night (Thursday).

The 20-year-old Waiau Pa-based Cantabrian nailed his first winner of the season, and first since reining Speedy Earl to win at Hawera in April.

His 13th career win came behind the Derek Balle trained Janet Guthrie in the fourth event - the $8,000 NISBA Winter Bonus Series for the R50 to R55 pacers.

Lethaby was having his fourth drive behind the five-year-old Jereme's Jet mare. It was her fifth career win in 22 starts.

“She hasn’t had any luck in recent starts and everything panned out nicely for her last night. The claim also helped her.

“I’m just grateful to Owen for keeping me on her. She’s a lovely mare and I don’t think that will be her last win,” Lethaby said.

“I have been told she will go out for a spell now,” he added.

‘Owen’ is Balle’s employee, Owen Gillies, who owns Janet Guthrie.

The 31-year-old old father of two took over her lease from Alabar Stud when she was a rising three-year-old.

Gillies recently renewed her lease for another year and has a $3,500 right of purchase on her.

"I'm not sure what I will do long-term with her. She could make a nice broodmare one day, but now she's a five-race winner she might have met her mark, and it might be time to sell.

She might have another race or two left in her yet, depending on where she’s handicapped," Gillies said.

Gillies obtained the Jereme’s Jet brown mare via Shane Judson.

"Shane had the horse next door to Derek and asked if I wanted to have a go because he was trying to get rid of a few.

"She's really exceeded my expectations. She's trained in Derek's name and we both work her," he said.

Janet Guthrie, is the first of two foals out of the 2006 McArdle - Belfry Lady maiden mare, Mila Duno.

Lethaby drove the brown mare aggressively at the start and they found themselves in front after 150 metres. They were then in the trail behind P Tomado and Jay Abernethy down the back straight the first time, and that’s where they stayed until the P Tomado tired at the 400m.

Lethaby then switched Janet Guthrie three-wide and they ran away and won by one-and-a-quarter lengths. They paced the 2200m mobile in 2:46.2 (mile rate 2:01.6) and came home in 61.4 and 29.9. She was the $8.60 fourth favourite.

Meanwhile, Lethaby also finished second with the Brent Mangos trained Saint Michel in the first race, which was a junior driving event. The Nicky Chilcott trained and Dylan Ferguson driven Shay Scott won the up to R60 trot impressively by four lengths.

Lethaby has been employed by Mangos for the last five months after previously spending two years with Jay Abernethy at Papakura.

"I'm really enjoying working for Brent. It's nice to get behind some nice horses. I've learnt a lot here. Last night was my most memorable in a while," Lethaby said.

His first career win came behind his own trotter, Bubbly Babe at Manawatu Raceway on October 29, 2015. His Uncles Jason and Scott Lethaby trained the mare.

Before heading north Lethaby previously worked for Cran Dalgety at West Melton. The Riccarton High School educated horseman has also worked for his Uncles as well as Mark Jones.

His father Brett Hampton was also a junior driver, who is now a farrier in the United States.

“I love it up here. Jay and Brent have been very good to me. I would like to stay up north until at least my junior driving career finishes.

"There are a lot of opportunities for me up here. I'd love to drive more and hopefully that will happen as I get older," he said.