Meredith making moves at Manawatu

by Dave Di Somma, Harness News desk

Fresh from his first ever driving double on Wednesday night, Zev Meredith is going for another at Manawatu on Friday night.

Yesterday the talented junior driver won with New York Minute for his Cambridge-based employer Arna Donnelly and then reined home Cristiano Buccini for Levin trainer Murray Gibbs.

"It was my first double and it's taken four years," says Meredith, "and I was pretty eager to get it done and crossing the finish I was like 'you beauty'."

The 20-year-old's had 30 wins overall since his first victory in 2019, not that he was entirely satisfied with his effort behind New York Minute.

"I should have got in a far better possie early but he is racing super."

Starting off 10 metres in the Manawatu Harness Racing Country Cup Handicap Pace, New York Minute was hemmed up four back the fence at one stage before Meredith managed to get some clear air. Still last at the 200 the Art Major six-year-old whistled home out wide to register his 13th career win by three quarters of a length.

"I was worried but then in the last 100 I thought I might pick them up."

His second win of the night with Cristiano Buccini in the Turbo's Syndicate Mobile Pace was much more straight forward.

Drawn one he took the favourite straight to the lead, only to hand up to second favourite Hey Miki Denario. Meredith then just bided his time, cruising up the passing lane to win by more than a length. It was just Cristiano Buccini's second win in 34 starts.

After his win in the Country Cup Handicap Pace with New York Minute Meredith will switch stable-mates and try for a Cup double in Friday night's $18,000 City of Palmerston North Festival Cup with last year's champion Rough And Ready. He ran on well for third in Wednesday's race won by New York Minute, when driven by David Butcher.

Donnelly has a good training record in the race in recent years. Rough And Ready, who will start off 35m tomorrow,  downed stablemate Bad Medicine in the Cup last year, while New York Minute won it in 2021.

"The race suits him," Meredith says of Rough And Ready, "he's a bit of a roller and we can try and chase a penalty free win."

Comparing the two pacers Meredith says "Rough And Ready has more high speed, and he's tough" and believes the increased distance from 2000 to 2500m will add the backmarker.

The Cup, at 7.22pm, will also feature Hesashorething who was second to New York Minute on Wednesday, as well as the likes of Cos I Can who possesses a big sprint and has been unlucky in recent starts.

The winner of the race will get their name on a unique trophy - a 17 kilogram replica of the clock tower in The Square in Palmerston North.

Commissioned by the late Kevin Pratt, of Kamada Park, the $20,000 trophy is crafted to scale from polished stainless steel and dichroic glass that changes colour as the viewer moves around it. It's believed the glass is the same as used on space shuttles.

It was designed by Christchurch engineer Todd Jacobs and first presented in 2017. There are four trophies in all, one for the local council and one each for the Manawatu Harness Racing Club, the Palmerston North Greyhound Club and the Awapuni Racing Club for this week's annual Palmerston North Gold Cup Festival.

As for the chances of Rough And Ready going back to back Meredith is hopeful his winning week can continue.

"I'm always a bit confident ..... he's a good chance."


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