Notable night of doubles at Alexandra Park

By Michael Guerin

On a night of doubles at Alexandra Park on Thursday perhaps the most unusual one belonged to owners and breeders Les and Marion Pettifer.

The Pettifers are no strangers to success in racing, as both owners in thoroughbreds but for any even longer period in harness racing, where Les has been a successful trainer and the couple have bred and owned many winners.

They added to that record not once but twice this week with two of their juvenile pacers who used to be boxed next door to each other but are now winning a country apart.

The Pettifers bred both Vegas Strip and Tualou and both showed good enough ability to race as early season two-year-olds for Pukekohe trainer Brent Mangos earlier this year.

Vegas Strip even went to Addington where he finished fifth in the Welcome Stakes when not at his best but was sold to the Bond stable in West Australia soon after, with the Pettifers retaining a share.

Vegas Strip made his Australian debut at Bunbury on Tuesday and led and won easily at $1.22 to record the first leg of a juvenile double that Tualou completed at Alexandra Park on Thursday night.

Still in Mangos’s care, he was sent straight to the front in the two-year-old race and never looked back, winning from Seaside Rose and Le Major in what should prove a good form race.

“Les and Marion have had horses with me for years and actually had this horse’s dam (Ask Again) with me after we bought her off Dan Cummings.

“So they deserve all the success they get.”

While their double was spread across Australasia and two days, the training double for Jason Teaz came a lot closer together when he prepared both a trotting and pacing winner on Thursday night.

Teaz started his big night when Ultimate Moment won the trot in the hands of Peter Ferguson and the same pair then combined to take out the night’s feature pace Brookies Jaffa downed favourite Fernleigh Cash.

It was career win 11 at start 99 for Brookies Jaffa, one of the unheralded heroes of winter racing in the north as he lines up often and barely goes a bad race.

Also securing a double with junior driver Crystal Hackett as she continued her crazy form over the last five weeks, during which time she has been the most successful driver in the country.

She reined trotter Ilsas Son to win the opener, his fourth win on end, while Hackett produced a no-panic drive to get favourite Third Time home in the last.

But while her form in the sulky has been outstanding it came with a twist this time as her mother Michelle Wallis also reined one of her stable in Springbank Mason to win the main trot on Thursday.

Harness racing is full of family doubles and father and sons driving winners on the same card is not unusual, or even fathers and daughters.

But if you start making a list of all the times in New Zealand harness racing a mother and daughter have driven winners on the same night, you could spend a very long time coming up with a very short list.


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