Jimmy and John star in Group 3 feature
By Jonny Turner
Often the naughty boy, Jimmy Carter was picture perfect when delivering driver John Morrison his first Group race victory in the Southern Lights Trot at Ascot Park yesterday.
Jimmy Carter relished a hot pace in the 2700m feature, digging deep to hold off his stablemate Love N The Port at the end of a big home straight battle in the Group 3 feature.
At times during his career Jimmy Carter has produced a formline full of duck eggs through his wayward manners.
But the trotter has also shown outstanding talent and consistency in other stages, including through a run a strong efforts this summer.
Several of the horse’s peak performances have come with Morrison in the sulky and that was certainly the case yesterday.
“The horse kept going – Phil must put me on when he is on song,” Morrison quipped.
The reinsman was thrilled to break through for his first Group race victory after placing in nine Group events during his career.
“It is really good – I have placed in a few – but it is good to finally get one.”
Phil Williamson puts Jimmy Carter’s previous runs of mistakes down to the horse being a nervy type and those nerves overwhelming the trotter.
But the horse stepped well enough to settle third in yesterday’s feature before producing a faultless and powerful performance yesterday.
“He can’t right himself if he makes a mistake.”
“Just around his nervous system – he gets quite nervous and sometimes he gets on top of him.”
Williamson will work Jimmy Carter towards ending his season with a tilt at Auckland’s feature trotting events in the autumn.
Da Vinci’s also a chance of heading to Auckland’s feature races after his win in the Group 3 Northern Southland Cup yesterday.
The four-year-old showed manners and poised beyond his just two starts in the intermediate-open ranks to snare his second cup victory in ten days for trainer-driver Craig Ferguson.
Coming out of three-year-old racing, filled with mobile starts and sprint trips, Da Vinci’s career could have been at a crossroads before his victory earlier this month in the Cromwell Cup.
But after making a flying beginning and a flying finish in both that race and the Northern Southland feature, there is little doubt that the pacer is on a one-way path towards New Zealand’s top level open ranks.
“He has only had the two standing starts and he had begun super both times,” Ferguson said.
“It has been a surprise because in the past he has been inclined to do things wrong.”
“But he has certainly matured and taken it all in his stride.”
Da Vinci is bred and raced by the father and son combination of Paul and Brendon Duffy of Wyndham.
Already thrilled with their win, Paul Duffy said the win was made more special because of his long-standing association with the Northern Southland club, its president Greg Tither and its sponsors Brent and Sheree McIntyre of Macca Lodge.
“I won my very first race at a Northern Southland meeting at Gore many years ago,” Duffy said.
Earlier on Northern Southland Cup Day, Dunedinite Ken Burt got a boost when Trail Boss ran to victory at the end of a hectic maiden affair on Northern Southland Cup Day.
Burt couldn’t make the races alongside many of his co-owners in the Ambie’s Army syndicate because he was in Dunedin Hospital.
But his daughter Kirstin was certain her father would be tuned into the race on his phone from his hospital bed.