Macandrew Aviator highlights big day for Green at Ascot Park

By Jonny Turner

Macandrew Aviator clinched a richly deserved victory with his perfect performance in the Group 3 Northern Southland Cup at Ascot Park yesterday.

After competing admirably against New Zealand’s best pacers through spring and summer, it was the six-year-old’s turn to bask in the Invercargill sun.

The victory was set up by the brilliant beginning Macandrew Aviator made which allowed driver Craig Ferguson to slot him into a perfect run in the trail.

The pacer didn’t waste that opportunity when powering to victory for trainer Kirstin Green and his big group of owners. She had three training successes on the day.

“That was super satisfying, he has been knocking for so long – he has just been racing so genuinely without any luck,” Green said.

“He had to make his own a little bit today – he had to come out (of the trail) early.”

“It is just really satisfying to finally get one with him.”

Green showed her class in the sulky when winning with two other runners from her stable yesterday in Betting Sensation and He’s A Meister.

The trainer has been happy to hand the reins over to Ferguson to drive Macandrew Aviator over the past two seasons.

Though she admitted watching from the sidelines isn’t something she’s very good at.

“I am an absolutely terrible watcher, I actually stayed down at the stables until they were in the home straight.”

Macandrew Aviator boosted his hopes of making the New Zealand Cup this year, despite the feature race being more than 10 months away.

The horse missed out on the race last year, despite beating several horses ranked ahead of him in the order of entry in lead up events.

Having a Group Three feature on his resume is sure to bolster where Macandrew Aviator may be ranked in the lead up to the 2023 edition.

Phil Williamson deflected praise for his incredible effort to produce Love N The Port to win the Group 3 Southern Lights Trot yesterday.

Williamson had the trotter ready to break the Ascot Park 2700m track record despite the horse having to travel from Auckland to Invercargill in the week leading up to yesterday’s feature.

The Oamaru trainer instead labelled the feat a team effort, crediting his good friend Tony Herlihy and Majestic Horse Transport for their help in getting Love N The Port to Oamaru in excellent order.

Williamson said he didn’t initially intend to start his five-year-old in yesterday’s race as his plan was to spell the horse after his recent North Island campaign.

But Love N The Port travelled home so well, he changed his mind early this week.

The chestnut was expertly handled in his record-breaking Group 3 win by Matthew Williamson.

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