Homecoming success for Waldron
NZ HARNESS NEWS
Trainer Ben Waldron enjoyed a dream homecoming when Queen Bee Bardon won the Roxburgh Cup on Friday.
The classy mare came with a big late finish to win the 2700m feature after being given an ice-cold drive from Craig Thornley.
The victory was special to Waldron as he grew up near Omarama, just over the South Canterbury border from Roxburgh.
“I grew up just over the hill in Omarama before we moved up to Canterbury when I was 10, so this is a bit of a homecoming,” said Waldron.
“I have always wanted to take a horse to Central Otago for the circuit, so this is a massive thrill to win this race.”
Queen Bee Bardon was driven completely differently to her previous start in the Central Otago Cup.
She was up on the speed during Funatthebeach’s track-record breaking run.
On Friday, Thornley took the completely opposite approach with the mare from her 15m back mark.
Thornley did not move from last until around the 600m, when he tracked Especial and Tim Williams into the race.
After she balanced up in the straight, Queen Bee Bardon came with a huge late finish to win.
Thornley was glowing in his appraisal of the mare’s performance and of Waldron’s ability to prepare a horse.
“She is a very good mare, people probably forget she was on the ballot for the New Zealand Cup.
“Even though she wasn’t in it that shows she is up to that class.
“Ben is a very good trainer and has done a huge job with this mare.”
Waldron agreed that dropping in class from the strong fields she had faced in the spring and summer was a big help to his mare.
“It is a massive difference when you don’t have to race those horses.
“She had raced at group level, so she was always going to find this a bit easier.”
Queen Bee Bardon could return to racing at the top class at the end of this month.
Waldron said she was likely to tackle the upcoming feature mares races at Addington, including the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes, next month.
“We won’t be frightened to have a look at them for sure.
“She will need to have the right run at that level, but when she gets the right run she goes well.”
The Roxburgh Cup saw an extremely competitive finish with less than three and a half lengths covering the first nine placegetters.
Nearis Green ran along the passing lane to grab second ahead of Mr Kiwi, who led for most of the race.
The feature trot at the Roxburgh meeting was won by Justamollyarcher for trainers Jason and Amber Lethaby and driver Ray Jenkins.
Jenkins gave the trotter a perfect run in the trail throughout the 2700m handicap.
Veteran trotter Valmagne made an instant return since to form after changing stables, dashing along the passing lane to run second.
The 11-year-old was having his first start for trainer-driver Brad Williamson.