Magic Four produces the goods once again
By Michael Guerin
Magic Four is almost on a hiding to nothing. For most horses winning six races and and nearly $200,000 would be considered a pretty good career as a late four-year-old with the promise of more to come.
But for Magic Four whatever lies ahead will almost certainly be the the encore to his finest performance after the night last year he upstaged what is now our biggest harness name.
Magic Four of course caused one of the great upsets in NZ harness history when he won the NZB Harness Million in February last year, downing among others Akuta.
Considering what Akuta has gone on to do since and what may still lie ahead for him, it is hard to believe Magic Four beat him fair and square but he did and that can never be taken off him or his owners.
Since then he has mixed good with mediocre but he was back to good at Alexandra Park on Thursday night when he led throughout to win the feature pace.
The second leg of a late double for driver Matty White, Magic Four was there to be beaten at the top of the straight but fought off both Simply Sam and Frankie Major in a quick 2:41.5 for the standing start 2200m.
“I thought once I found the front I might as well keep on going and make them catch him,” says White.
And of course Magic Four may not be finished winning or even mentally improving yet, so while it is hard to imagine he rises to the level of Akuta-slayer again if he can show manners and roll 1:58 mile rates for 2200m standing start events regularly he will find himself back up against the big boys one day.
White won the race before on his one of his own 15-strong stable which has really been firing since he moved north from Cambridge to train at Rosslands, the South Auckland complex also shared by John Dickie.
White won with Mhai Surfer Girl when she was able to run down Jethro Bodine for her third career win in nine starts.
“She has got good speed so she isn’t finished winnng yet,” says White.
The win took White to 27 driving successes for the season, putting him within reach of his record for a NZ season of 32. He also drove with great success in West Australia.
But with his drives having banked $536,236 he has already has his most lucrative driving season with some big races looming, especially with Coastal Babe looking our best juvenile filly.
“It has been a really good season so I appreciate all the support,” says White.
One of his more impressive stats is his numbers with trotters, with 53 drives this season for 11 wins, so striking at above 20 per cent in trotting races.
Other highlights on Thursday night were a training and driving success for Craig Sharpe with Proviseur in the amateur race while popular horseman Roydon Downey trained and drove Sans Au Revoir to win the lower grade trot.
From the breed raced so successfully by Downey’s late father Errol, Sans Au Revoir trotted the 2700m in 3:28.8, suggesting she can win again soon as that Love You staying blood comes to the fore.
And in race three there was a Logan Hollis - Shane Robertson trained trifecta with Mr Bondi, The Artful Gambler and Hoofananny.