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Gore Grass Cup to Pass The Speights

NZ HARNESS NEWS

The wins were more than two years apart but Pass The Speights made it two from two on grass when successful in the Gore Grass Cup on Saturday.

Driven by his Wyndham trainer Brendon McLellan, the five-year-old is raced by Edendale farmer Bruce Sinclair and his brother Al, who works at Fonterra's Edendale factory.

Bruce said he has been a client since McLellan took up training.

At Forbury Park in October 1985, trotter Glen Evander gave the pair their first win.

At the 2008 premier sale, the brothers were keen on the In The Pocket filly Miss Optimistyx and arranged for someone to follow her up.

When she went for $25,000, Bruce thought at that price someone else must have bought her.

She was in fact theirs. In a short career, a third was her best result.

“She broke a pastern. Pass The Speights is her first foal,” Bruce said.

The Cup was McLellan's fourth win for the season. Two of his earlier wins were with Leigh Major, also owned by the Sinclair brothers.

Central Southland College physical education and agriculture teacher Jamie Campbell opened his account for the season at his seventh drive when successful on No More Change in the junior drivers’ pace.

Making it a family affair, the Craig Ferguson-trained mare is part-owned by Campbell's mother Julie and Aunts Liz Forde and Joan Olsson.

The ownership group was gifted the horse by her breeder Ivy Keenan.

Tony and Phillipa Holland, who won two from two with Back In The Day last year before selling to Australia, were in the money again on Saturday when trotter Picketts Ridge cleared maidens at his fifth start.

“I leased him from Brent McIntyre but had trouble with him,” said Holland.

“He bucked and broke three carts.”

Holland had qualified the Skyvalley gelding last April but this season asked fellow Gore trainer John Ryan to take him.

His five starts have resulted in a win two seconds and a third.

“John Ryan put extra gear on him, he can't buck with it,” Holland explained.

Nathan Williamson, who drove Picketts Ridge when he qualified, has driven the four-year-old in four of his five starts. Today's win was the 700th in the sulky for Williamson.

Ross Wilson, sponsor of the R40 to R43 pace, was well ahead of the ledger when Annie Fitz picked up the $4400 first prize and El Dinero collected $560 for third.

Wilson, bred owns and trains Annie Fitz and trains El Dinero for his son and daughter-in-law.

Annie Fitz is six and Wilson said he would have sent the then one-win 74-start mare to stud but already had eight broodmares so put her back into work.

He said he also found the key to tying-up problems that had held her back.

Annie Fitz has won twice in her past four starts, with Charlotte Purvis aboard both times.

“The one-draw also helped,” Wilson said.

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