Pre-election win for Racing Minister

By Jonny Turner

The equine version of Racing Minister led the way for his political namesake when scoring an overdue and deserved win at Winton on Thursday.

Trainer Doug McLachlan’s Racing Minister did exactly what Winston Peters is trying to achieve on the campaign trail leading in to this year’s national election – fight hard and win.

Though there is one fundamental difference between the two Racing Ministers’ races – the harness racing version ran his race effectively came under the to the country’s previous politician system – a first past the post contest.

Even though Peters faces a slightly different challenge to win back his place in Parliament – through New Zealand First gaining 5% of the party vote or having one of his party mates win an electoral seat under MMP – McLachlan thinks his horse has set a pretty good example for his namesake.

“It might be a bit of an omen for Winston in the election,” the trainer said.

“Get headed and then coming with a late finish to fight back and win.”

News of Racing Minister’s win filtered up to Peters when he was campaigning in Northland on Thursday.

Peters said he missed the race “as he’s been hard on the campaign trail.”

The Deputy Prime Minister added he would “certainly be following the horse from now on.”

Racing Minister was named by one of his co-owners, Dave Morrell.

Morrell said he received a “good luck” text message from New Zealand First list MP and Southland electorate candidate Mark Patterson ahead his horse stepping out on Thursday.

Though Racing Minister has shown himself to be resilient like Peters, the horse had not been able to break through for the same kind of victories his political namesake has in his career.

But after notching 10 placings in his 25 previous attempts, Racing Minister finally clinched his first victory in wet conditions at Winton for driver John Morrison.

McLachlan said his pacer’s win was not a case of the stars aligning for Racing Minister leading in to the Winton race.

“This week we have had a bad week with the training track being under water.”

“We did put sliding blinds on him today and Johnny said it did sharpen him up.”

“He used to have to wear a murphy [blind] and I think that didn’t help him a few times when he couldn’t see other horses coming.”

Racing Minister was bred by Grant Sim’s Southland Standardbreds Ltd.

The son of former leading sire Live Or Die came to be in McLachlan’s stable after he caught the trainer’s eye.

“I was dropping another horse off at Grant’s place one day and I said to him do you think we could get a halter on that black horse.”

“When we did I said do you think he would get on the float and he went straight on.”

With plenty of strong placings in good times under his belt, McLachlan thinks Racing Minister should not have any worries stepping out of maiden class in his next start.

Though if he gets beaten he will get plenty of more opportunities.

Peters does not have the same luxury, his political future hangs on him coming away with a win on election day on October 17.

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