Milestones made at Rangiora
By Jonny Turner
All kinds of harness racing milestones were notched at Rangiora’s meeting on Sunday.
A run of landmark moments started in race 2 when Cran and Chrissie Dalgety produced the first win for their new training partnership with Shards In Manhattan.
Next came Aylesbury trainer Gavin Burgess, who notched his 50th win as a trainer in race 4 with Rocknsnap.
By race 7, Ohoka horseman Tom Bagrie had joined him when Excuse My French remained unbeaten in two starts.
Bringing up 50 training wins is going to seem like a minor milestone to Bagrie in a matter of days.
The trainer and his partner, Bonnie Heyde, are expecting their first baby.
The countdown to having his first child has only brought good results for Bagrie’s stable.
The trainer enjoyed a run of winners on the recent West Coast circuit and continued his good form with Excuse My French’s victory on Sunday.
Like the arrival of his firstborn, there has been a little bit of waiting around for Excuse My French.
“He is a big strong boy and he has been in and out of work,” Bagrie said.
“We have been close to doing a few things, but we have known he is going to need to take time and we gave it to him without pushing the issue too much.”
“We were hoping we would get there a bit earlier but there were just too many signs that he that he needed patience.”
Excuse My French has shown he has the temperament needed to win more races with two faultless performances.
Stuck three back on the inner on Sunday, driver John Dunn pushed off at the 500m and the four-year-old looked like an old pro when asked to do it.
“He is a real tradesman,” Bagrie said.
“He doesn’t lift a hair when he gets to the races, he takes it all in his stride.”
“I took him down to Ashburton for his first trip away and he acted like a professional.”
“And he did again today.”
“He has got some good qualities in that respect.”
Bagrie races Excuse My French with friend Sam Smith and members of his family who make up the Avenue Bloodstock Syndicate.
Excuse My French is a brother to smart performer and group 2 winner Lotalov, who was bred and raced by Smith’s father, Marty.
Excuse My French was one of three winners for John Dunn, who also helped Gavin Burgess to 50 training wins by driving Rocknsnap to victory.
Dunn also drove The Player to win race 9.