Hoffman clinches final Forbury memory

By Jonny Turner

Dunedin born trainer Amber Hoffman took away the last ever memory from 111 years of racing at Forbury Park after the track was given a rousing farewell on Thursday night.

Hoffman won the final race at her home track when Dodgethebullet burst out of the pack to win the Forbury Park Pacers Cup for driver Sarah O’Reilly in front of the biggest crowd seen at the venue in the past decade.

Hoffman has been an integral part of the fabric of Forbury Park since her training career began in 2010.

Dodgethebullet became the Waikouaiti trainer’s 115th winner at the track, ranking her fourth equal in the track’s history books, tied with Phil Williamson.

Hoffman got underway with 61 wins in partnership with Graeme Anderson, the produced 18 wins with Jonny Cox and went to win 36 in a solo capacity following her double at Thursday night’s farewell meeting.

Hoffman’s highlights at the track include producing Ballindooley to win the Group 3 Forbury Park 4YO Championship in 2013 with Anderson.

Dodgethebullet is raced by Canterbury owners Stephen and Jo Blair, who are no strangers to success at Forbury Park.

Stephen Blair, a former Forbury Park Trotting Club committee member, produced Sauteuse, Anschutz, Duke Of Whiz and Race For The Stars to win at Forbury Park between 1992 and 2007 when he trained at Milton.

Dodgethebullet sealed a winning double for Hoffman’s stable after Owes Me Dough produced a tough win in race 2.

The four-year-old dug deep in the last 50m of his victory after sitting parked throughout his 2200m contest.

Mataura horseman Jimmy Bond clinched a final Forbury Park memory with the win of Tweedledee in the Forbury Park Trotters Cup which capped more than four decades of success at the track for the former trainer-driver.

Bond races the trotter who was prepared for a big win off the back mark of 40m in the 2700m handicap by his son Lyndon.

Bond trained 20 winners and drove 27 horses to victory following his first win at the track in 1978 with Be Sly.

Crafty Cobber’s win in the 1985 Group 2 Forbury Park 4YO Championship is among Bond’s victories at Forbury Park.

Harness racing fans packed into the track to say goodbye on its final night of racing.

The sounds of Forbury Park’s former commentators rang out for a final time to mark the occasion.

Craig Rail called the bulk of the 10-race card with Jason Teaz returning to the commentator’s box.

Longtime Forbury Park caller Kevin Payne produced a remarkable performance with crisp and accurate calls despite not having commentated in the past 11 years.

Tom Wood called a race on Thursday night’s card via video link from Hong Kong.

Up to 300 people attended a farewell function following the last race.


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