It's on! Standardbred vs Thoroughbred at Cambridge this Monday

Some real X factor's been confirmed for Monday's Cross Code Challenge at Cambridge Raceway.

The $40,000 Group 3 Waikato Trotting Breeders Stakes is the day's feature and in between races the Cross Code Challenge will be held, with Team Standardbred taking on Team Thoroughbred.

Included in the schedule is a dual sulky race that will see some great match-ups. Star jockey Opie Bosson and gun driver Zachary Butcher have been paired in one dual sulky, and will take on the likes of the Group 1 winners (jockey) Ryan Elliot and (driver) Dylan Ferguson, the girl power team of Crystal Hackett and Elen Nicholas, and "The Chief" David Butcher and NZ Thoroughbred Racing Chief Executive Bruce Sharrock.

"It's taken a fair bit of organising but we are happy with how it's come together," says Challenge organiser Jo Stevens, "and should be just so much fun."

Elliot will also take part in the Dunstan Horse Feeds Battle of the Breeds, which is an integral part of the Cross Code Challenge.

It's the third time the event's been held and it features standardbreds and thoroughbreds in three different disciplines. They will be judged in-hand, then on their paces and manners, before being put over the fences (hunter jumping).

Elliot will ride On the Rocks, a nine-year-old who was a more than half million dollar earner on the track. Among his Group victories was the Group 1 Herbie Dyke in 2019.

Having been retired, the grey gelding is now with Stevens, a well known figure in Waikato horse circles. A harness racing trainer (and partner of Dylan Ferguson) she is also heavily involved in rehoming horses as well as marketing and social media, with her own very successful Track Chat Facebook page.

Eliot will be joined in Team Thoroughbred by :

Linda Wheeler and Sassenach
Anna Jones and The Judge
Dana Genefaas with El Disparo

Team Standardbred is led by Dunstan Horse Feeds Marketing Manager Paxton Conder and the dual gaited Comedy Act, who won two races (one trotting, one pacing) for Tim Hall.

Connor will be joined in Team Standardbred by :

Lexi Nolan and eight race winner No Way Else
Gemma Lovewell and Painted Black, who won three before being retired in 2013
Felicia Thomsen and Saul Good, who only raced twice before being retired

There will also be an exhibition Monte trot race for standardbreds under saddle that will feature, among others, well-known harness racing driver Sailesh Abernethy.

"We've had some great crowds at this before and one of best things is we get people along to Cambridge that wouldn't normally go to harness racing meetings," says Stevens.

For regular updates go to Cambridge Raceway's Facebook page.

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