Wheels of Fortune into Country Cup Championship contention
by Jonny Turner
Though he has just taken down a select country cup field at Wyndham’s Centennial meeting, there is more to come from Wheels Of Fortune.
The pacer won the milestone running of the Wyndham Cup in front of a sizeable crowd on Saturday courtesy of a classic front-running drive from John Hay.
Hay had his lightly raced pacer in front soon after the start, with Wheels Of Fortune stepping brilliantly from his 10m handicap.
In the remaining 3000m of the 3200m feature, the pacer’s rivals never got a look in.
“He probably lacks a bit of real high speed but he keeps rolling and that suited him today.”
With just ten starts to his name, there is clearly more to come from Wheels Of Fortune.
The pacer is one start away from being in contention for the New Zealand Country Cups Championship, plus he has the Southern Country Cups Final in his sights now.
“He’s a pretty laidback fella and one day the penny will drop,” Hay said.
“He’s done a pretty good job without it dropping, I think he’s a nice horse in the making.”
Wheels Of Fortune is raced by Peter Cates along with his daughters Jo Lovett and Nicky Copland.
Hay was thrilled to be able to win a third Wyndham Cup for Cates on Saturday’s big day of celebrations.
“Peter really likes Wyndham – he’s had a long association with the Hunter family so he would have got a great thrill watching at home.”
Cates had previously enjoyed Wyndham Cup success with McKnight in 2005 and with the David and Catherine Butt trained Bondy in 2007.
The Hunter family were among the founding members of the Wyndham Harness Racing Club and it was appropriate that Peter Hunter was in the winner’s circle at the club’s centennial meeting.
Hunter drove the Warren Bryant trained Cash Affair to victory in race 2.
“I was at the centenary last night and it was a great night,” Hunter said.
“It is special being here today and to get a winner is pretty cool.”
Wyndham reinsman Craig Ferguson enjoyed an outstanding day at his hometown’s 100-year meeting, producing a winning treble.
After wins with Tayla Me and T Bone Rawhide, Ferguson combined with Da Vinci who was extremely impressive in Saturday’s Southern Supremacy Stakes Heat.
Forced to sit parked throughout after a chaotic start, the three-year-old held out runner-up Boris O’Kane in a thrilling finish.
“It is probably the toughest he has had to do it, but to his credit he stuck on,” Ferguson said.
Boris O’Kane impressed with his big effort to run a narrow second to Da Vinci when overcoming an early gallop.