Barron draws first blood in junior series
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Ellie Barron drew first blood in the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship at Methven on Friday with a patient drive behind Motor Mouth in the Greg Donaldson Contractor NZJD Champs Heat 1 Mobile Pace (1609m).
From her wide draw on the front row, the Southland horsewoman elected to ease her charge off the gate to settle at the rear of the field.
She kept a cool head at the back before hopping on the three-wide train heading down the back straight in a bid to get handier to the pace.
Turning for home Motor Mouth had to be navigated to the extreme outside but was able to respond to the urgings of Barron and ran over the top of his rivals to record a head victory over Onedin Hurricane and driver Sarah O’Reilly.
“I was pleased with the draw (7) of the horse. I knew he had gone well here (Methven) and on the grass before in better fields, but I needed things to pan out for me. He is a bit one paced, but he keeps going,” Barron said.
“When they went hammer and tongs early that was great for him, and he was good enough to get over them at the finish, he did it easy enough.”
Barron finished eighth behind Phone Tap in the second heat, which was taken out by Sarah O’Reilly with Arizonawildcat, who is now in pole position in the series, which heads to Kaikoura on Sunday.
Barron is looking forward to heading to north to the picturesque ocean-side track where she will drive Martha Stuart in the Vic & Irene Smith Memorial NZJD Champs Heat 3 Mobile Trot (1900m), and Zia Bromac in the Precut Construction NZJD Championships Heat 4 Mobile Pace (1900m).
“A trot around Kaikoura is going to be tricky. It is definitely an even bunch, so it should be good,” Barron said
“I think if I can get Martha Stuart around she is definitely a top three chance. Jason (Thomas) is a good trainer, and a good trainer of trotters, so fingers crossed.
“With Zia Bromac, I have had a yarn with Jack (Harrington, trainer) and he is really happy with her. A draw (2) around a track like Kaikoura goes a long way.
“I think if she can find the pegs and pick one of these favourites and maybe bury Kikorangi Blue away on the fence would be pretty good. I think she is a genuine show.”
Barron has been enjoying her time with her fellow junior drivers and has been rapt with the tracks chosen for the series this year.
“It is a super bunch of people and we are all enjoying ourselves. We are looking forward to a couple of days hanging out with each other and enjoying a bit of down time,” she said.
“Going from the mountains to the ocean in a couple of days time is great. We are pretty spoilt and grateful to these clubs for hosting us.”