Orange reflects on fifth straight premiership season
By Michael Guerin
Blair Orange went within a nose of a perfect end to another premiership season at Alexandra Park on Saturday night.
But he still looks back on season 2022 with some wonderful memories.
Orange and Copy That just failed to cap the season with the ultimate exclamation mark after a slowish start from their 30m backmark saw them a long way off the leaders at the 2400m and even after surging to the lead at the top of the straight he was just grabbed by Alta Wiseguy.
But Copy That owes Orange nothing after he provided him with the highlight of his fifth straight driver’s premiership season by winning the New Zealand Cup again.
Orange ended 2022 on 186 wins, courtesy of a win on Superfast Ninja on Saturday night.
While that isn’t his biggest ever season, far from it, he didn’t spend time on the CD circuit like he has in recent years racking up big numbers but on top of driving consistently well he won the one that matters.
“That was the highlight, winning the Cup is always special,” says the 44-year-old who now has three New Zealand Cups.
He now wants to extend that success to overseas where he will head with Copy That to drive him in both the Ballarat Cup (January 21) and the Hunter Cup on February 4.
“I am really looking forward to getting over there, especially with this horse as he feels like a boy who has become a man.
“I have only driven in Victoria once, in a driver’s series at Horsham, so it will be great to get to Melton and have a look around.”
Orange says driving more regularly in Australia aside he wants to keep driving for good people and repaying the faith they have in him.
“I am enjoying my driving and while Copy That was the highlight little Republican Party has been a really cool horse to partner.”
The other big highlight of the Alexandra Park New Year’s Eve card was Resolve giving champion trotting trainer Paul Nairn yet another major win in Auckland when she led for much of the way in trhe $50,000 Greenlane Trotting Cup in the hands of Matty White, who is making quite a name for himself as a catch driver for South Island trainers.
Hot favourite Charlie Brown was too good in the juvenile event while another all-the-way winner was Harder Than Diamonds who took out a strong intermediate grade pace, her driver Andre Poutama getting a double for the night.