Purvis-White combo smokes them in Stratford Cup

By Brigette Solomon

Southern raider Smoke On The Water claimed the 2024 Taranaki Steelformers Stratford Cup at Hawera for Canterbury-based trainer Matt Purvis.

“We’re stoked with him and we couldn’t have asked for a better drive,” says Purvis.

“This was what we came for and it’s great when your plans work out and you have a bit of luck on your side.”

Driven by Matthew White, the gelding stepped away well from his 10 metre handicap, and after avoiding the galloping Idolou, settled in for cosy trip in the trail behind the leader Hooray Henry. Proviseur moved to pressure the leader with just over 800 metres to travel keeping the race at an honest tempo despite the strong head winds down the back straight.

When reaching the passing lane Smoke On The Water sprinted well to win by 1.25 lengths.

“My Dad and a couple of his friends, Graeme McMaster and David Lawn, bred and race him and it’s great they’ve got a good one in Smoke On The Water,” says Purvis.

“He will back up on Sunday in the Hawera Cup.”

“He took off bucking and kicking when I put him in the paddock tonight so the run doesn’t seem to have taken too much out of him!”

The placings were filled by Fernleigh Cash and Cos I Can.

Jay Abernethy scored a training and driving double, the first win with Lightning McQueen in Race 1, the Hot Fridays Bar & Eatery/Rowan Farms Handicap Trot. The four year old mare stepped quickly to lead and remained there from start to finish winning comfortably by four lengths ahead of Mr Monty and Trifolium.

“I didn’t think a win would be too far away with her,” says Abernethy.

“While she lacks some speed she has good manners and is very quick to step away.”

Onetangi Girl was Abernethy’s second winner of the day taking out Race 5, the Carrfields Livestock/Uhlenberg Haulage Ltd Mobile Pace. From a starting position of two, Abernethy dropped in to trail the leading Perun.

There was little pace in the race early and Abernethy capitalized on his easy trip in the trail to sprint to up the passing lane win at odds of $40.90.

“We’ve upped her work the last few weeks and she’s responded well to it,” says Abernerthy.

“Her owners are from Waiheke Island and they rung to say there will plenty of celebrating going on in Onetangi Bay tonight!”

The second heat of the Hygain Revell Douglas Memorial Series was won by Monika Ranger driving the David Butcher-trained Caulfield in Race 6. Ranger is the series leader having won the first two heats with the third head at Hawera on Sunday.

The local trainers of Central Districts also took out their share of races winning four between them.

Those winners were:

Race 2 – Johnny Who trained by Stephen Doody
Race 3 – Lord Delmar trained by John Gommans
Race 8 – Uncle Drew trained by Wendy Devenport
Race 11 – Run Mason Run trained by Willie Fleming

Racing continues at Hawera on Sunday.


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