Century beckons for Mark Hurrell

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

A second career treble has Mark Hurrell on the verge of a major milestone.

Last night at Forbury Park he bookended the programme with wins for his boss, Waikouaiti trainer Amber Hoffman. He took out the first with Pastrana and the last with To Ri Caitlin. He also won with the Syd Breen-trained American Mac at odds of 25-to-one in race 8.

“I’ve had five winners in the last week and four for Amber,” said Hurrell, “and it’s great to win for Amber and Syd, they’ve both been big supporters of mine.”

It was the second time the 22-year-old had driven three winners in one night. Last December he won with the Michael House trio of Mogul, Ripsnorter and Sundons Flyer at Manawatu.

Pastrana’s win was the first by the eight-year-old Sundon gelding in 53 starts. It was also his first start for Hoffman.

“And it will be his last,” says Hurrell, “he’s going to be retired now and be a hack.”

Hurrell says he hadn’t even driven the horse at home and was a bit worried when he broke briefly at the 700 metre mark.

“But he managed to trot round the last bend and the rest of them had done some work.”

The final two wins were very similiar drives, with both storming to victory after settling just off the pace.

“To Ri Caitlin got a soft run and American Mac had a good trip too, he loves Forbury.”

Despite not being favoured in the betting American Mac was four and five wide turning for home, going on to win by nearly two lengths.

That makes it 18 for Hurrell for the season and 97 in total since his first win with It Ain’t The Money at Riverton in October 2016.

“The 100 has been a goal of mine for a while. I’m also thinking about the junior drivers’ premiership but at the moment I’m seven behind Johnny.”

John Morrison, the 2019 and 2020 champion, is currently on 25 though Hurrell is pleased with the way things are going after 23 wins last season and 35 the year before (2019)

“Last season was a bit of a flop but I’m having a great run now.”

And there will be plenty more opportunities in coming weeks, as he looks forward to a “successful summer” after welcoming in the New Year at one of his favourite spots, Cromwell.

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