Methven Cup a career highlight for Newman
By Jonny Turner
Korbyn Newman enjoyed the biggest thrill of his harness racing career when his pinpoint manoeuvring guided Smiffy’s Terror to victory in the Group 3 Methven Cup on Sunday.
The Robert and Jenna Dunn trained pacer has given himself a massive chance of starting in the New Zealand Cup by winning the 3000m staying test over a big field filled with big names.
When Smiffy’s Terror held out Alta Wiseguy and the favourite Self Assured, he not only gave his New Zealand Cup ranking a big boost, he provided Newman with his first group race success.
“It was a huge thrill – it is probably the biggest win of my career to date,” the reinsman said.
Smiffy’s Terror went into the Methven Cup ranked 20th on the order of entry for New Zealand’s greatest race.
If the pacer is able to make the New Zealand Cup then Newman’s outstanding Methven Cup drive will go down as essential in getting him there.
The junior driver secured a key breather for Smiffy’s Terror before the home bend soon after launching a three-wide run.
And with just a neck separating the winner and Alta Wiseguy in an exciting finish, it is likely that breather was crucial to his victory.
“It worked out a treat, Alta Wiseguy came out, so I came out in front of him and then I got back into the running line and gave my horse a bit of a breather,” Newman said.
“It worked out great for me.”
“Then he kept lifting in the straight.”
“This prep he has grown another leg and he’s become quite a nice horse.”
Rapt to be trusted with the drive behind a New Zealand Cup hope in an important lead up race, Newman is thankful to Smiffy’s Terror’s ownership group
“They are a great bunch of people.”
Newman has hit the headlines at the right time, with New Zealand Cup week and a plethora of feature races to held in the coming weeks.
The reinsman hopes he can build on the momentum from his Methven Cup win.
“It hasn’t been the busiest couple of months but it is starting pick up now which is good and obviously the win today is a big thrill.”
Placegetters Alta Wiseguy and Self Assured lost no admirers when again producing excellent efforts in a New Zealand Cup lead up race.
Alta Wiseguy charged at the winner late after coming with one run, getting within a neck of Smiffy’s Terror at the line.
Self Assured worked around the field three wide before hitting the lead early in the run home and fighting on strongly for third.
Cranbourne and South Coast Arden produced two of the biggest head-scratching efforts in Sunday’s feature.
Cranbourne missed away and took no part in a key New Zealand Cup lead up for the second time in two starts this time in.
South Coast Arden couldn’t run on in his first attempt on grass when tracking Alta Wiseguy around the turn.
Kango and Spankem both finished mid-pack but either pacer could potentially be given a pass mark.
Spankem worked around the field three-wide before fading late, while Kango missed away before running on from last.