Long time between wins for Kevin McClintock
By Jonny Turner
Kevin McClintock showed he hadn’t lost his winning touch when scoring his first driving success in more than 27 years at Oamaru yesterday.
McClintock weaved a winning passage for Evidently who held off a late challenge from runner-up Foveaux Gambler to win race 1 on Waimate Cup day.
The victory for trainer and good friend Peter Holmes was McClintock’s first since he won as a fully-fledged with Royal Honour at Marlborough in 1995.
Now an amateur reinsman, McClintock was thrilled he could secure a victory for Holmes.
“It was a great thrill, especially doing it for Peter.”
“We have been great mate since school days, we both worked in our school holidays at the Templeton saddlery way back in 1976.”
McClintock admitted he didn’t follow Holmes’ instructions precisely when pushing forward with Evidently early.
But the soft trip the amateur driver found for the seven-year-old, three back on the inner, proved to be a winning run.
“We sort of had to throw the driving instructions out the window once we had gone ten yards, but it worked out good.”
McClintock has travelled much of the harness racing globe, having worked with a number of leading trainers in Canterbury, Auckland, Australia and North America.
More recently the amateur driver worked for Majestic Horsefloats for more than ten years before moving into track management.
McClintock now works as part of the team that maintains Addington raceway.
“I got an opportunity to work at Addington, you are going to work for the best track man in the southern hemisphere and I have got a passion for it, too.”
McClintock’s return to the sulky came after he began helping Canterbury trainer Jim Curtin during his weekends and days off.
“It came about after we got talking at Jimmy’s, I have been going around there about 15 years.”
“Discussions were had and I thought I would never take a dollar off the professionals because I have a job.”
“But I thought I might as well give it a go.”
While McClintock was top among the amateur drivers, Gerard O’Reilly beat out his fellow professionals to take yesterday’s feature with Tom Martin.
O’Reilly landed the Graham Court trained pacer a perfect run in the trail and he took full advantage by diving along the passing lane to score.
Yesterday’s feature trot was taken out by Bella Button who made it two wins in Otago in the week.
The Mark Jones trained trotter beat out her more seasoned opposition to take out race 10 after winning at Wingatui on Monday.