Morrison ready to kick-start title defence
By Jonny Turner
Recently crowned junior drivers’ premiership winner John Morrison has the chance to kick start his title defence this week.
Morrison heads to Addington on Thursday night to seek his first win of the new season and to reunite with promising pacer Only In America.
The 5yr-old has impressed by winning two of his three career starts for trainer Mike de Fillipi.
“He has done everything we have asked of him so far - only three starts and he has done a really good job,” Morrison said.
“He has got a great gait and great manners - he is typical of one of Mike DeFilippi’s – he is very well mannered and great to drive.”
“He is a very good judge, so it good to be pulling his colours on.”
Only In America has shown versatility in his two starts by winning from the trail two starts ago and by leading all of the way in his last win.
Despite the horse showing a professional attitude, Morrison is weary of the pacer stepping in up in grade to race seasoned horses in race 8.
The only other thing Morrison is concerned about ahead of Thursday night’s 2600m handicap is that Only In America has not raced for over a month.
“He hasn’t raced for a month, so he might need the run a wee bit.”
“So far he has done everything right and there is no reason he couldn’t [step up in grade].
“He will just get better with racing, I would say.”
Rollova heads Only In America’s more seasoned opposition in Thursday night’s rating 50-72 special handicap.
Though the David and Catherine Butt trained 4yr-old is a relative newcomer to racing himself, with only seven starts behind him.
Rollova impressed in the first run of his campaign, with hitting the line strongly for third behind Flying Mister Ideal at Addington last week.
Rollova shares the 10m mark with Only In America and other leading contenders Santanna Mach and Secret Bet.
Morrison has two other chances to notch his first win of the new term at Addington.
He will reunite with consistent trotter Crusher Collins in race 9.
The Lyndon Bond trained 6yr-old has won once and placed six times from behind the mobile.
“Crusher Collins has been going really good, she went good at Oamaru on Sunday,” Morrison said.
“I got to drive her in the junior championship and she went really good then.”
Morrison also drives Tiger Moth, who seeks a maiden win from race 2.
The Graham Bond trained 5yr-old ran last in his last start at Ashburton, but he deserved a better fate.
“I was really happy with Tiger Moth until he got knocked over at about the 600m – he was going really good.”
“His trial form was really good and it wasn’t his fault – I got knocked off my feet.
I though he would have been in the money.”
Tiger Moth has his first standing start from the unruly in race 2 on Thursday night.
If he can not crack a win at Addington, he should be able to be rewarded at short notice, Morrison said.
“He would win in the race in the near future, I would think.”
Morrison has a strong book of drives at Gore on Sunday.
It includes three good chances for trainer Paul Court in Mongolian Marshal, Storm Prince and Stick Man.