Longtime friends looking to celebrate at Manawatu

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Don Morrison and Stephen Doody have held a great friendship over several decades and they are hoping they can toast a victory together at Manawatu Raceway on Monday with their mare, Our Pegasus Pearl, in the Season Opener Handicap Trot (2500m).

Doody has been a pillar of Central Districts harness racing for many years and struck-up a friendship with Morrison during the latter’s university years in the eighties.

They have continued to remain close friends and have raced several horses together during that time, with Our Pegasus Pearl, a five-year-old mare out of Doody’s seven-win mare Earl’s Lady, the latest in their partnership.

“I worked for Stephen for five years when I was at university,” Morrison said.

“Our friendship goes back about 40 years now. We have raced a few horses together over the years.”

Morrison initially tried to breed from Earl’s Lady, with no success, but has been involved in two of her progeny courtesy of Doody with the unraced Epic Earl, and Our Pegasus Pearl, who he purchased as a weanling off breeder Woodlands Stud.

“I tried to breed out of Earl’s Lady. I tried for a couple of years and then I sent her back,” Morrison said.

“Stephen had a go and got a colt (Epic Earl) straight away, so I told him ‘half of him is mine’.

“Epic Earl was a nice trotter, he just had no speed.

“Stephen sent the mare to Woodlands Stud after that. An Earl’s Lady foal came up in the Weanling Sale so I bought her and told Stephen ‘half of her is yours’.”

Our Pegasus Pearl has had 30 starts for Morrison for two wins and the Blenheim horseman has taken advantage of Doody’s handier location to Central Districts racing over the years.

The mare has been based at Doody’s Palmerston North barn for the last couple of months as Morrison went on holiday, and she started off her preparation in pleasing fashion when runner-up at Cambridge Raceway last week.

“She has been in Palmerston North with Stephen Doody,” Morrison said. “We were away for quite a while on holiday in South Africa seeing friends and going on safari, we loved it.

“We were really happy with her first-up run.”

Our Pegasus Pearl will start from behind the 40m tape on Monday, but that bodes no concerns for Morrison.

“She has got good manners and as long as she brings them, I don’t think it will be too much of a worry,” he said.

Our Pegasus Pearl is set to remain in the North Island for the next month before she returns back to Morrison’s care where he plans to head to the West Coast for their summer circuit.

“She will stay up there with Stephen as there is another meeting there the Monday before the Cup,” Morrison said.

“I would like to get her home so I can go to the Coast around Christmas time.”

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