Blair Orange into 2000 club
By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk
Canterbury-based driver Blair Orange has today become just the seventh New Zealander to rein home 2000 winners.
The victory came in race 5 at Addington this afternoon , when he steered the Paul Court-trained favourite Terror The Christian to a one length win over the John Dunn-driven Prodigal Guinness.
Orange had earlier been a close up second in race 3 with Pat Campbell.
Before today Orange’s last winner was on another Court runner in Well Said Love at Wingatui on March 23. That was the also the last race before all harness racing in this country was stopped because of COVID-19.
Orange joins six others who have driven 2000 winners, alongside Tony Herlihy (3530), Maurice McKendry (3268), Ricky May (2947), David Butcher (2428), Dexter Dunn (2226) and Colin DeFilippi (2028).
With Dunn now based in the U.S., Blair is the country’s top driver, winning the premiership for the past two seasons. Going into today he had 174 wins for the season from 862 starts, streets ahead of closest challengers Matthew Williamson and John Dunn.
Orange debuted as a junior driver in the late 1990s and last year his career highlight was Cruz Bromac’s New Zealand Cup win.
2018 though was his most successful with 232 wins for the season.
Today John Dunn also got off to a flier, with a second (Yuri – race 1) and two wins in the opening three races (Race 2 - 12 Comfortably Numb – $12.50 + $3.20 and Race 3 - 3 Garry’s Legacy $15.70 + $4.10). He then had a second in the race that gave Orange his milestone win.