First training win for Morrison right around the corner
NZ HARNESS NEWS
John Morrison has been making a good fist of his time as a junior driver as he looks to get a foothold on a successful career in the industry.
Driving is one aspect of such a career and training is another and Morrison would happily take either, if not both.
The driving is his focus for the moment and Morrison brought up his 50th win earlier this month with Motu Hot Topic at Forbury Park, while he has since won with Cast No Shadow at Ashburton and Formidable Foe at Orari.
How the latter paid $29 last weekend after going out the favourite on debut is a bit of a mystery, but what is known is that the well-bred colt took Morrison to the top of the junior driver table with 15 wins this season.
Morrison’s first win as a trainer is also just around the corner and could come at Addington this week with Morrison set to produce two-win trotter No Fears for the first time.
If not it will probably be coming before Christmas with Morrison also expecting Kiwi Bloke back at the trials next week.
No Fears, an eight-year-old who raced just 23 times for Pat O’Reilly, has been a bit of a rebel and head scratcher over the years, but there has never been any doubts about his ability.
He has had a habit of winning trials while proving costly on race days, although Morrison thinks he may have a more solid proposition on his hands this time around.
“He used to get pretty stirred up at the races and get things wrong – it’s a lot different to the small fields and relaxed nature of trial meetings,” said Morrison.
“But he’s gradually got better with age and experience and when I won with him at Oamaru (in January), he didn’t look like putting a foot wrong.”
No Fears is raced by O’Reilly with breeder Michelle Baird, an auntie of Morrison’s, and that win probably sowed a seed.
“He came to me a couple of months ago pretty much ready to race.
“I think Pat simply wasn’t happy with the way he had come back from a spell and since he’d had him a long time, he thought a change in scenery and a smaller stable was worth a try.
“I’m pretty busy with the driving and I’m still doing a bit of shoeing so I don’t have the time to be training many.
“I was a bit skeptical at the time because I didn’t know what I could do any better than Pat, but I’ve taken my time pottering around with him, getting to know him because that breed can be a bit funny.
“He’s been a lovely horse to have around the place and we’ll just have to hope and see if we can keep him nice and settled.”
No Fears has been an unpredictable customer at the best of times over the years, and punters will be even more in the dark this week, as Morrison is taking him back to the races ‘cold’, or without any trials.
“I would have liked to have given him a workout or something but they kept getting cancelled and now I’m not too worried about it.
“When they had to split his race this week I knew we would be in the weaker one.
“He was ready for the invited driver races at Invercargill last weekend but I thought it would be better to be driving him myself at the start.
“So he’s done the work and he’s been around long enough to know what the game’s about.
“My main concern is starting from the unruly mark in a 1980m mobile, although the other good chances in that race have also drawn awkwardly.
“So, it’s really just a matter of getting him around in one piece and hopefully getting a decent crack at them.”