Go Marg finally hitting her straps

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

It may have taken Go Marg 23 starts to break maiden ranks, but now breeder-owner-trainer Bruce Graham is hoping she is on a roll.

The eight-year-old mare got up for her first win at Waimate last Sunday, winning her 2000m contest by half a length.

It was the first time Graham’s colours were back in the winner’s circle since 2016 and he was duly delighted.

“It was quite a thrill,” he said. “It’s been a while since we had a winner. I think the last one was Quality Invasion and Peterhof on the same day down at Oamaru.”

Go Marg took four placings into her last start and Graham said if she had a bit more luck in those races she would have broken maiden ranks sooner.

“She was running on very well in all of them and had she had half a bit of luck she would have probably picked up a win a lot earlier,” he said.

Having bred Go Marg, Graham expected her to take a bit of time, but admitted she took a lot longer to start performing on the track than he would have liked.

“All of a sudden she clicked what the racing game is about. My breed do take time, but she was taking a bit longer,” he said.

Go Marg will line-up in the Morrie Molloy Memorial Trot (2170m) at Motukarara Raceway on Monday and Graham is hopeful she can put in another solid performance.

“It will be interesting to see what happens on Monday, being up in class,” he said.

“I think she will have a show, but whether she can win in that class we will wait and see. She begins well, has a good sprint, and knows what it’s about now.”

Graham has spent more than 50 years in harness racing and he said he had a fortunate beginning in the game, initially as a breeder.

“In the late sixties a family member got me into buying a mare,” he said. “The first foal she left which I bred was Local Product, and he won 23 over in Western Australia. It looked easy then.”

Graham eventually progressed to get his trainers license in 1988 and has headed to the winner’s circle on 37 occasions since then.

While he has a fondness for a number of horses he has trained over the years, he said Group One performer Quality Invasion stands out above the rest.

“Quality Invasion won 19 races and placed in 19,” Graham said. “He was good, especially for a horse that broke down after his second start and wasn’t going to race again. My daughter looked after him and we brought him back.

“Tim Butt bought a half share in him and he broke down after he had two starts and he said I might as well take him home. He signed him over and after that he won another 17.

“He raced against the best at the time. He was definitely the best one I had.”

Quality Invasion finished third behind Peak in the Gr.1 New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All (2000m), and he coincidentally has a couple of progeny by the Alabar Stud stallion in his care.

“I am working about five or six at the moment,” Graham said. “They are all young ones and will take a bit of time. Some of them are by Peak, and they look quite nice.”

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