Dickie double ahead of Cup and Show Week
By Michael Guerin
Trainer John Dickie says he doesn’t deserve any of the credit for Midfrew Lucre’s effortless win at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
Because he hasn’t seen the pacer for over two weeks, instead being in Canterbury with an even better horse trying to win a far bigger race.
Dickie has Old Town Road in the IRT New Zealand Cup on Tuesday and the speed freak has been everybody’s big mover in the race since the Ashburton Flying Stakes two weeks ago.
That means Dickie has left the training up home to long-time partner Lynda German and part-time and over-qualified stablehand Stephanie Burley.
“The girls deserve all the credit for this win,” says Dickie, who in true Cup week fashion watched the race in a pub.
“Lynda as everybody knows is my partner and we have been together 16 years so I’d be lost without her.
“And Stephanie comes and drives horses for us in the morning before she goes to work. She is an accountant but works for an Australian firm so she starts a bit later and is a huge help.
“So between them they trained this horse to win and I think it won’t be his last because he is a lovely laid-back horse with a big of a motor.
“He can occasionally brush a knee going left-handed but is getting better and I think he has 4 or 5 wins at The Park in him.”
The girls were at it a few races later too when Jack The Builder gave the stable their second win of the night, bolting in for Zachary Butcher.
Dickie was talking up his then maiden Old Town Road this time last year and he has been proved right with his rapid ascension into the Cup ranks and, after Ashburton, to being one of the Cup favourites.
“I couldn’t be happier with him,” says Dickie.
“He was great at Ashburton but I am sure he is better now and the Cup trial was exactly what he needed.
“I think he can run top five and is Zac pulls off one of those miracle drives, who knows?”
Not only will German take a few days off to join John at Addington but son Josh and partner Sammy Kilgour will also make the trip from their new home in Victoria as Josh is a part owner of Old Town Road.
“It will be great to have everybody here and we will enjoy the experience whatever the result.”
Midfrew Lucre wasn’t the only easy pacing winner at Alexandra Park on Friday as Nicholas Cage continued his excellent form for trainers Andrew and Lyn Neal, getting away with an easy time in front in the pacing feature and looking a horse who will press on to at least the verge of open class.
The milestone highlight was Peter Blanchard training his 700th New Zealand winner when consistent trotting mare Ruby Ridge won, this win in partnership with son Vaughan.
But the trotting performance of the night came when Double Delight beat the older horses in the feature trot and showed she is right on target for the three-year-old and fillies' races down south in the month ahead.