Invictus says goodbye on winning note

By Brigette Solomon

The win by Invictus at Alexandra Park on Thursday night was a fitting farewell, as it turns out.

A great performer for trainers Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett the victory in the Reharvest Handicap Trot came with some emotion as it was the last start on New Zealand soil for the seven-year-old who now heads to New South Wales to Luke and Belinda McCarthy’s Cobbitty Farm.

The Peak gelding has been a consistent contender in the higher rated trotting races in the North Island for the past few years. He has amassed stakes of $202,939 and is the winner of 14 races as well as a further 20 placings including a second in the 2023 Anzac Cup in May.

“He’s heavily handicapped here now and he will be able to step out and win a few more races over there with no trouble,” says Hackett, “we are rapt he won his last start here for us, he has been such a great horse.”

Don McKenzie, the South Island-based owner of Invictus, was also on course to see the gelding win at Alexandra Park for the first time.

It was equally fitting that Michelle and Bernie’s daughter Crystal Hackett was the successful driver, making it a family achievement.

“It was great to get a win on him at his last start here, his owner Don McKenzie has been really good to me regularly having me drive him,” says Crystal, who has won four races on the gelding.

“I completed my time trial on him and drove him in plenty of workouts when I was working toward my Junior Drivers Licence, he’s an honest wee battler and a 2200m specialist, so he should be well suited to the mile and 2300m races in New South Wales.”

Eleven of Invictus' wins have come over the 2200m trip.

Crystal Hackett was also the successful driver of Ilsas Son in Race 8, the Grand Park Handicap Trot for employers Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan rounding out a good night for the junior driver with a further four placings throughout the night.

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