First double for Gray - "massive buzz"
By Mike Love, Harness News Desk
West Melton trainer Joseph Gray was rewarded with his first double at Addington yesterday with Press Play and King Arthur both winning. With the hard work and quibbles that come with winter hours, Gray is feeling chuffed to tick off the achievement.
“It’s a massive buzz. I work full-time (for Andrew Garters), so lately we’ve been still training my horses at 5.45pm at night, and its cold, and its dark, and we’re thinking why are we doing this? And today’s result is why.”
In Race 6 Press Play, driven by Olivia Thornley, followed the tempo at the back of the field before getting a drag up three and four wide from the 700m and going on to win by three quarters of a length from runner-up Bobby Waterhouse.
Posting a solid 1:58 mile rate, and closing sectionals of 58.1 and 28.9, Gray was not surprised by the seven-7 year old Shadow Play gelding’s effort.
“He’s such a super consistent horse. He actually likes the longer distance, when they go hard up front and he can finish over the top of them. I had freshened him up a bit, and he’s come back really good.”
In race 9 King Arthur followed up his win at Addington a week before. It completed Gray's double and also Close two for th day. His other winner was Mighty Logan.
Close settled the eight-year-old Auckland Reactor gelding four back on the markers before being able to extricate at the 1000m. King Arthur then kept giving four and five wide around the bend to finish best and win by three quarters of a length from Full Of Desire, rounding off his final 800m in 58.9.
“He won the same two races last year! He won the junior drivers last year with Scott Iremonger, and then I lined him up again and he won the following week. So he’s done it again this time.
“Both of them will now go to the winter rewards race (July 27th). It’s been the aim the whole way through this campaign, and hopefully we will get some money there.”
Gray has eight horses currently in work out of his West Melton base. Yesterday’s result brings his lifetime statistics to 18 winners, with stakes of $190,000.
“We’ve got a really nice three-year-old Majestic Son trotter (Pat Me Down) who is unqualified out of J D Pat. It’s probably the one that shows the most potential.”
Earlier in the day Michael House was successful in driving his first Amateur winner in Franco Hoffman which he also trains. While John Dunn also drove a double to back up his driving double from Addington on Friday night.