Orange back in winning form at Manawatu

By Brigette Solomon 

It was like he'd never been away.

At Palmerston North yesterday the country's top driver Blair Orange did what he's done on many occasions in the Manawatu and that's rein home a treble.

“It’s been quite a while since I’ve driven at Manawatu so it was nice to make the trip up and get three winners,” says Orange.

Orange's last winner on the track was with Beach Party in March last year.

The first of Orange’s wins yesterday came with the Stephen Doody trained Mr Monty in Race 1, the Outback Trading Handicap Trot. The five-year-old gelding stepped away quickly to lead where he remained throughout and despite the second placed Our Pegasus Pearl closing fast, Mr Monty managed to hold on to score his maiden victory by a half head.

The same trainer and driver combination were in the winner’s circle once again after Blue Chip Lou won race three, the Doug Bradley Painters Mobile Pace.

“She’s a nice filly who is quite well bred,” says Doody.

“She’s quite big so we’ve allowed her a bit of time and she’s benefitted from her first run at Cambridge.”

It was the three-year-old filly’s first win at just her second start and she enjoyed a perfect trip in running with Orange finding the one out one back position behind the race favourite Semba. Upon straightening Blue Chip Lou managed to wear down Semba to win by a narrow margin.

Orange’s third driving success was with Superstar Legend in Race 6, the Kevin & Shirley Farrier Mobile Pace. Trained by Michael House, the mare was sent forward to lead and Orange dictated the race to win comfortably by one and three quarter lengths.

“I was confident going into the race with Superstar Legend today,” says Orange “while my other two winners for Stephen Doody weren’t certainties they got the job done and I think we could partner for another good day tomorrow.”

David Butcher also scored a driving treble yesterday taking out Race 2 with Manchester In Time for Fred Mitchell, Race 7 with Eastwood Dream for James McDonald, and Race 8 with Barbarossa for Mike Berger.

Racing continues at Manawatu Raceway tomorrow.

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