250 training wins for Regan Todd

By Jonny Turner

Play Philly brought up training win number 250 in New Zealand for Regan Todd when she ran to a deserved victory at Rangiora on Sunday.

Relishing standing start conditions, the mare charged away from her rivals for the man who has driven the majority of Todd’s winners, Robbie Close.

As thrilled as he was to bring up a milestone victory, Todd was even more delighted for Play Philly’s owner Scott Elliffe.

“Play Philly has been a bloody nice mare the whole way through, and it was great to see her back in the winner’s circle for Scott,” Todd said.

“She had a wee run-in with a fence in the spring which didn’t help.”

“But because she has won a couple of nice races as a two and three-year-old her rating has always been high and she’s always drawn wide in the preferential draws.”

“That can be tough at Addington when they are running fast times off the front and I am sure it has been a bit frustrating for Scott.”

“He has been a great owner and I was rapt the mare found a suitable race and was able to show her best for him today.”

“Being a half-sister to Cold Chisel she is already a very valuable broodmare and hopefully we can add to her record before she goes to the breeding barn.”

Play Philly could compete next at the place Todd began his march towards 250 training wins – Young Quinn Racecourse in Wyndham.

A proud born and bred Southlander, Todd began his career as a junior driver with trainer Brendan McLellan.

The now Canterbury trainer is eyeing up a Southland raid to the two upcoming meetings at Wyndham with a team of horses that is likely to include Play Philly.

Budda, who is owned in Wyndham by Graham Hand, is also likely to head south after his desperately unlucky second at Rangiora on Sunday.

Todd stays with his good friends Craig Ferguson and Nathan Williamson on his trips south, with the two Southlanders regulars at Todd’s base in Christchurch.

Play Philly may start in the Wyndham Cup, a race Todd would dearly love to win, or in a heat of the Southern Belle Speed Series.

Another southern feature, the Southland Oaks, rates right towards the top of the list of thrills Todd has enjoyed among his 250 wins in New Zealand.

Todd first won the race with Bettor Talk Art.

The trainer then combined with Ferguson to win the Group 2 feature last year with Treacherous Gall for well-known Southland owners Dave Kennedy and Cleland Murdoch.

Combining with Robbie Close to win the Group 1 Standardbred Breeders Stakes with Bettor Talk Art is another feature at the top of Todd’s hit list.

As are Group One placings with Thefixer, combining with great mate Bob Butt

Todd’s list of highlights could have been longer had a line up of talented young horses been moved on when good money was offered for them.

“We have sold a lot of good young stock along the way, there have been very some nice horses among them like Street Hawk.”

“We would have loved to keep horses like them, but you have to do the right thing by everyone when those offers come.”

When reflecting on his journey, Todd was quick to thank those who had supported him throughout his career.

“You hate to single anyone out because you can’t mention everyone, but I had a great start with Snow McLellan before heading up to Canterbury to work for Davey and Cath Butt and Mark Jones who were both very good to me.”

“I have had some great owners along the way, again there are too many to mention but having the support of Phil and Glenys Kennard, Trevor Casey, Graham Beirne and Graham Hand has been great, and they have become great friends of mine.”

“Everyone has played a special part; we have had some great syndicates right the way through.”

“Cheezel would be a great example of that, there were a heap of people in her with wee shares.”

“Obviously the staff have been a huge asset, as well as the farriers and the vets and everyone else that has pitched in.”

“I couldn’t have got to this milestone without them.”

There have been two key changes for Todd on his training journey.

One is his change of location from Woodend Beach to Lavros Lodge at Yaldhurst.

“I had a big decision to make – run two operations or move away from the beach and concentrate on one.”

“I was fortunate enough to be able to find a place that had everything I needed.”

“We have a nice track, a pool, a walker and everything we need here and it works well for us.”

“It has also allowed us to have bigger numbers and bring through more younger stock.”

The further involvement of his family has been another welcome addition for Todd.

The trainer’s father Barry, another proud Southlander, is now a key part of the training operation.

“Mum and Dad have moved up here a few years ago now and it has been great.”

“The whole family have been massive supporters the whole way through.”

As well as his 250 wins in New Zealand, Todd has two Australian wins to his name, including a Group 1 Australasian Breeders Crown victory with Show Gait.

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