Maverick gets Invercargill Cup


Canterbury trainer Nigel McGrath claimed his second successive Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup when Maverick triumphed in the Group Three feature at Ascot Park on Saturday afternoon.

Second home was stablemate My Wee Man, forming part of a big pay-day for McGrath, who started six horses, won three races and had two quinellas.

His first was with Karmic Way over Gore Bay in the three-year-old 1700 while his third winner was Sheriff, who paced 2200 metres from behind the mobile in 2:40.2.

Goodlookin Chick, seventh in the Robin Dundee Crown, was the only McGrath rep not to pay a divvy on the day.

But the trainer wasn't there to see it all.

Another engagement required him to leave Invercargill before the Cup, which produced an identical result to the Riverton Trotting Cup three months earlier.

That was Maverick's previous success and special because it was not only McGrath's 500th win as a trainer but he was also the driver.

In his absence today, Matt Anderson was given the job.

“That was only my second drive for Nigel - my first was in a junior drivers’ race in August and I got third on Hayley Nicole.”

After being slow away in the Cup from his 20-metre handicap, Maverick settled last and the 3200-metre race was into its last lap before he improved.

“He was always traveling pretty good and won it well,” said Anderson, who was enjoying victory in the race for the second time.

In 2016, he drove Costa Del Magnifico, who was trained by McGrath's cousin Brent Shirley.

Anderson credited Shirley for helping him get the drive on Maverick today.

McGrath's winner last year was Classie Brigade, who had to beat off opposition such as Heaven Rocks, Christen Me, Motu Premier and Captain Dolmio, and run 3:53 5 to win.

Maverick's time today was a more leisurely 4:05.2, however, he had clocked 3:55.0 when third last year.

A stallion when third last year but a gelding today, Maverick is raced by Australian Tony McGrath with HRNZ Chairman Ken Spicer and his wife, Anne-Marie Spicer, who co-bred the son of Bettor’s Delight.

None of the winning connections were in attendance.

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