NZ record for pacing-bred trotter

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

She may have been bred to pace, but Double Delight is showing plenty of class as a trotter.

The daughter of Captaintreacherous picked up her first Group One victory and extended her undefeated streak to three when winning the Gr.1 Montana Food & Events 2YO Ruby (1609m) at Cambridge Raceway on Sunday.

In a hotly contested start, Double Delight was posted three-wide early before trainer-driver Tony Herlihy was able to find the back of Mystic Max, who had the coveted one-one position.

Race favourite Highgrove had to do a mountain of work to reach the lead down the back straight after racing three and four-wide, and his efforts told when turning for home, breaking stride and opening the race up to his pursuers.

Double Delight was able to follow Mystic Max into the race and powered home out wide to win by three-quarters of a length over the Michael Purdon-trained colt, with a further nose back to Mr Love in third.

Herlihy was over the moon with the result, his third victory in the race after Merckx (2008) and Bolt For Brilliance (2019).

“We ended up getting quite a good trip and followed Michael Purdon’s horse (Mystic Max) into the race,” Herlihy said. “Highgrove made a mistake at the top of the straight so that put us in with a decent chance.”

With her winning time of 1:58.4 for the mile, Double Delight set a new age group New Zealand record for trotting fillies over the distance, surpassing Jo Anne’s previous mark of 1:58.5, which has stood for the last 20 years.

Purchased by Herlihy for $40,000 out of Tardina Stud’s 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred Yearling Sale draft, Double Delight was initially tried as a pacer, but Herlihy said she didn’t want a bar of it, preferring the trotting gait.

“We certainly tried her as a pacer a couple of times, but she didn’t like it at all and she just loves trotting,” he said.

Herlihy decided to continue with her as a trotter and was pleased with the progress she has made in her juvenile season, winning her two prior starts to the IRT Harness Jewels.

“I have been rapt with the way she just kept training down and training on,” he said. “She has come a long way this preparation and has just kept stepping up.

“I know it was a bigger ask today against those South Island two-year-olds, but she did us proud.”

Sunday’s win was also a great result for Tony and Anne Parker of Tardina Stud, having bred the quinella.

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