Morrison, Ferguson and Butt head junior championship
By Jonny Turner
The competition remained wide open after Dylan Ferguson and Kimberly Butt took out the first two heats of the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship at Addington on Friday night.
Though the pair scored maximum points in each opening leg, it was John Morrison that walked away from the first day of the two-day competition as the leader.
The South Island representative was rewarded for his consistency after he produced second and fourth placings at Addington.
Morrison drove Southland trotter, Crusher Collins, in to second placing behind Ferguson and his charge, Diana Harbour, in heat one,
Ferguson gave Diana Harbour an economical run on the markers, before easing the Peter McClelland trained trotter in to the clear at the 800m.
From there, maximum points looked Ferguson’s for the taking.
“She sort of always travelled like the winner,” he told HRNZ.
“She won pretty easily last start here and I thought she was definitely the one to beat.”
“It was really good to take out the first heat, she looked like my best drive of the series.”
Mark Hurrell made a good start to his championship quest when running in to third with Bright Glow.
Kimberly Butt was unable to make an impact on heat one when Whatasista drifted out of contention before the home turn.
She turned her fortunes around quickly when spearing Friend to the lead to set up a front running win in heat two.
Butt controlled the race tempo to set up an on pace finish with Friend holding out the trailing Invisible Girl and Sarah O’Reilly by a neck at the finish.
“I have never won a race in this series, so it was really cool to get a win,” Butt told HRNZ.
The quinella pairing were five lengths ahead of the third placed Hot Starff and Benjamin Butcher.
Butt said she hopes to continue her momentum after quickly resurrecting her championship hopes.
She drives Ideal Rule in heat three and JR Fulham in the final heat of the championship, both at Rangiora on Sunday.
“I think both of them are good chances,” Butt said.
“Ideal Rule in the mobile may need a bit of luck from one on the second row – but I think he’s a nice horse.”
“JR Fulham, he is a last start winner, again, drawn the second line from a stand – he’s such a good beginner - he will a bit of luck.”
Butt goes in to the final day of the championship in third position behind Morrison and the second placed Ferguson.
Morrison and Butt’s results helped the South Island team lead the North Island 92 points to 76 points after the first day of the competition.