Minstrel sprints to stylish win
By Jonny Turner
Canterbury pacer Minstrel showed he is bound for big things when beating a classy line up of 3yr-olds at Gore on Friday.
The David and Catherine Butt trained pacer dashed along the passing lane to beat brave Otago star Spirit Of St Louis in the 3yr-old feature at the Gore Christmas meeting.
The quinella makers both made flying beginnings from behind the mobile, with Minstrel taking the lead before handing it over to Spirit Of St Louis after a short battle.
There were few changes after the field settled in single file in the 2200m event, before Minstrel and Spirit Of St Louis set down for a home straight battle.
Minstrel got the better of his provincial rival when reeling off a sizzling 26.6sec last 400m on a Gore track that had been slightly affected by rain to win impressively for driver Ricky May.
“He is a really nice horse and you would think he is only going to get better,” May said.
“Davey said he had a lot of gate speed and he certainly does.”
“It was a very good win.”
Yesterday’s victory and his prior win at Winton meant Minstrel has qualified to start in the Group 2 Southern Supremacy Stakes at Ascot Park later this season.
Another of yesterday’s features went to Canterbury when Bettathanfast won the Gore Cup.
The Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon trained pacer held out runner-up Lawrence by half a neck to win the 2700m handicap.
Yesterday’s feature trot was won in highly impressive fashion by Humble Ladd for trainer Phil Williamson and driver Rory McIlwrick.
McIlwrick produced a confident drive, hooking his horse out the one-one to sit parked for the last 1500m of the 2700m handicap.
It proved a winning move when Humble Ladd scored an effortless win by a length and a half.