Morrison scores Westport treble

by Brigette Solomon

John Morrison had good reason to celebrate today after scoring a driving treble at Westport.

“It was a great day” said Morrison “I can’t remember the last time I drove a treble but it’s been a while!”

The Ashburton based driver kicked the meeting off winning Race One with Moa Mojito who took out the Stu Bailey Memorial Trot for Ashburton trainer Ben Waldron.

“I wasn’t too confident with her going into the race as she can make mistakes, but I have said the day she trots the whole way she’ll win” said Morrison.

Moa Mojito started from the unruly position with Morrison allowing the mare time to settle in to stride before improving three wide around runners to secure the lead upon exiting the back straight on the first occasion. From there Morrison was unchallenged until the home straight where Moa Mojito bravely held off the second placed Signal Hill by a neck.

“She stepped away really well today and I wasn’t about to upset her by taking a hold and ended leading without doing too much work to get there” said Morrison “She fought on well up the straight when the other horses came too.”

Morrison’s second winner was Stanley’s Rule in Race Five, the John Higgins Memorial Mobile Pace.

From his starting position of two, Morrison took all the short cuts enjoying an easy trip three back on the fence in running. Upon turning into the home straight the trailing runner came off the fence providing Morrison clear running up the passing lane to score the win.

“Everything worked out well, he got a good trip and won nicely” says Morrison “He’s locally trained and owned and they were absolutely stoked to get a win at their home track.”

The gelding is trained by Westport local John Reedy and won comfortably by a margin of two lengths bringing up his third lifetime win. The placings were filled by Divine Angel and Beuadiene Quick Step.

In his final win of the day, Morrison not only drove but also trained the successful Smart I am, who took out Race eleven, the New World Mobile Pace.

“After racing in Southland Brent Shirley sent the horse up to me as he wanted to race him on the grass tracks” said Morrison “I haven’t had the horse for long but he’s a nice wee horse and it was a good win.”

Morrison sent Smart I Am forward early from his wide starting position of nine, obtaining the lead upon entering the back straight on the first occasion. Blair Orange then sent the trailing Rapid Response forward to take up the lead providing Morrison cover for the remainder of the race. It didn’t take Smart I Am long to wind up once seeing daylight in the passing lane, with the gelding clearing out to win by a five lengths ahead of Hope For Love in second and Ebury Street third.

“Smart I Am will race again tomorrow at Reefton and after that he’ll have two or three weeks before we start him again” said Morrison.

It was also a successful day for the Team Teal with five of the eleven races won by female drivers earning funds toward the campaign. Those winners were:
Sam Ottley – Race 2, The Finisher and Race 9, Tempo Warrior
Kerryn Tomlinson – Race 3, Sods Law
Mia Holbrook – Race 8, Don Juan
Kimberly Butt – Race 10, Didjabringthebubbles

Racing on the West Coast moves to Reefton tomorrow with Race One kicking off at 11:35am.

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