Ford a happy man after Marcoola's win

NZ HARNESS NEWS

It sounds silly to say, but Clint Ford might just have enjoyed winning Friday night’s Lyell Creek Stakes more than last month’s Dominion Handicap.

His mercurial trotter, Marcoola, smashed the New Zealand record for 2200 metres from the mobile with a dominant win in the $50,000 race named in honour of his close family member.

And Ford was proud as punch to have done so.

“It might only be a Group 2, but I couldn’t care less.

“It’s the race I really wanted to win because it was named after his uncle.

“They had a Lyell Creek race at Nelson once and I tried to win it with a horse called The Iron Gate.

“I never thought I’d be a chance of winning this race, until this horse (Marcoola) came along anyway.”

Ford, a contractor in Christchurch, revealed he often sees the former champion trotter, now aged 26, in his day-to-day life.

“He’s in a paddock just down the road from me and most weeks I will stop on the side of the road, jump the fence and give him a pat.

“He’s a friendly old fella and loves having his back scratched.

“We actually had him at our place back in 1997 before he won his first race at Kaikoura.

“He was scouring like I’d never seen before or since; it was a miracle he didn’t die.

“Cliff McGrouther, an old vet, he turned him and game him some magic potion that healed him straight away.”

Next up for Marcoola will be the Group 1 National Trot on New Year’s Eve, a trip to Cambridge on Christmas Eve for the $50,000 Trotters Flying Mile ruled out.

“We’ve (Marcoola) already won that, so Sheree can try and win it this year,” he joked.

Sheree Tomlinson, his niece, will partner Amaretto Sun, who finished on strongly for third tonight.

“He’s a bloody under-rated horse that,” said Ford.

“The Dominion win was no fluke last year; I’d say he’s in the top half-dozen trotters in the country at the moment.”

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