Locals combine for win in feature trot at Hawera

By Brigette Solomon

Tough mare Highview Rockn Roll was a popular winner as the two day Hawera grass track meeting wound up yesterday.

Going out at generous odds ($9.90/$3.20), the nine-year-old improved on her second last Friday for local trainer, Stratford-based  Farley Cossey to win the Mudgway Decorators Ltd Handicap Hawera Trotters Cup by over three lengths.

“She got a good trip and went very well,” says Cossey.

“I expected she’d go a good race after Friday when she faced the breeze nearly the whole race in the gale force wind.”

Driven by Jay Abernethy, the mare stepped well from her 10 metre handicap before settling into the one out one back position behind Break Free. When Break Free pressured the leading Luby Lill from the 800 metre mark, Abernethy was content to let them do the work before pulling out three wide on the final bend. She gave nothing else a chance.

“My brother Don from Cambridge is a part owner and he trained her at the Cambridge track initially,” says Cossey.

“But she had some feet issues and so she came down here to be trained on the grass and she’s benefitted from it.”

The victory was win number seven for the Rock N Roll Heaven mare, and Abernethy’s second win of the day with Lightning McQueen, who he also trains, taking out Race 1, The Turfworkz Handicap Trot.

The Alabar Hawera Cup Handicap Pace was taken out by Smoke On The Water making it a Stratford-Hawera Cup double for trainer Matt Purvis and driver Matthew White.

The start of the race was somewhat messy with Hooray Henry having a skirmish and Johnny Mac and Whooshka both briefly galloping. Upon settling Fernleigh Cash lead up, whilst the favoured Smoke On The Water was one off and four back. The field remained in uniform pairs until just shy of the 600 metre mark when Village Rebel, who sat second last, made his move three wide triggering action from the rest of the field.

Smoke On The Water came out three wide under Village Rebel, with the pair forced wider on the last bend by Whooshka. It was Whooshka and Smoke On The Water who would battle head to head up the straight until joined late in the piece by the fast finishing Cos I Can who would snare second place.

“It was all on when Sailesh came round on Village Rebel,” says White, “Smoke On The Water really toughed it out well and didn’t give in.”

With only a half head and a head between the placings it was a hard fought finish by the favourite.

“Matty said he didn’t quite feel as sharp but he really dug in to get the win,” says Purvis.

“He will have a few days off when we get home and I’ll assess where he starts next after that, but ultimately we’ll be aiming for the Country Championship.”

White was also successful in the last race of the day with Artful Living, who was trained by another Stratford local in David Jones. 

The third heat of the Hygain Revell Douglas Memorial Series was won by Zev Meredith driving the Doug Gale trained Call Security. Meredith currently sits second on the leader board with 31 points, behind Monika Ranger who leads with 42 points.

The series now moves to the South Island with Heat 4 at Methven on February 11.

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