Masterful Nairn drives sees Confessional home

By Jonny Turner

The least talked about of Paul Nairn’s incredible talents as a horseman shone through when Confessional ran to a commanding win in the Group One Ace Of Clubs at Addington on Grand Prix Day.

All of Nairn’s skill with a young trotter was on display when the youngster powered away from his rivals in a national-record breaking victory.

Nairn’s drive was as good as his horse’s brilliant performance.

Over the years, the trainer has handed the reins of his star horses to a line up of top class drivers including David Butt.

These days it’s Butt sitting in the stands as a successful part-owner and breeder of Confessional as Nairn is tasked with making the decisions on the track.

The result was Nairn producing a steer as good those Butt produced for him behind his champions of the past in Stig and Call Me Now.

Though in typical Nairn style, the trainer-driver downplayed his effort.

“Davey was happy enough for me to drive him, especially with young trotters it is an advantage to train them and drive them”

“Everything worked out good today.”

“It was a privilege to have the drive, actually.”

Confessional not only beat his rivals, he effectively gave them a head-start in doing so by starting from the unruly.

Though he had broken in just one of his five prior starts, the horse is far from foolproof and wears plenty of gear to help him get around.

“It has been a wee bit of trial and error, he just wasn’t very solid in his gait,” Nairn said.

“He was galloping and we were never quite sure why, that is the reason he wears the gear.”

“We are still not sure why, whether it is the grit or something else but he has got a lot more solid.”

Given he will eventually get even better in his gait and come off the unruly, Confessional will be an even bigger force for his rivals to contend with.

The trotter is the third foal from David and Catherine Butt’s brilliant trotting mare Habibi.

The Butts bred and race Confessional with Bolty and Lynne Paterson.

Confessional stopped the clock in 2-25.5, smashing the previous 1980m New Zealand record of 2-27.7 held by Ultimate Stride.

Paul Nairn just missed out on the quinella in the Ace Of Clubs with Tectonic just a neck behind runner-up Southern Diamond.


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