Reid a happy man
By Michael Guerin
Steven Reid is happy being harness racing’s David, able to occasionally slay Goliath.
And Reid almost did that twice at the Jewels on Saturday, winning one of the $150,000 pacing divisions with Utmost Delight and only field position costing him doing it again when Star Galleria went down narrowly to Eamon Maguire.
Reid left Cambridge a happy man, knowing his Jewels double had only been denied by the most powerful stable New Zealand has ever seen, the Goliaths of the All Stars.
“How could I not be happy?” said Reid.
“The mare went super to win her race while I think reverse the runs and Star Galleria could have beat Eamon Maguire.
“So for a guy with a small team we had a great day and Utmost Delight’s win might have been my first group one since Gold Ace so I’m pretty stoked.”
Reid and rival Cran Dalgety with Pat’s Delight in the three-year-old race were the only pacing trainers able to slow the All Stars, who won six races, most of them by big margins.
Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen were the deserved stars of the show after a tough, interrupted week, their mammoth harness racing machine honed down to peak performance.
But while Reid has been at least remotely close to where the All Stars are, having won a premiership beating Purdon 20 years ago, he says he is happy living in the giant’s shadow.
“Things have changed a lot for me since those days and I don’t have the owners for a big team any more and wouldn’t want to train one anyway.
“I find it less stressful and my attention to detail is better this way and I can train the horses I want.
“And having these two horses means we can have a real presence at the major carnivals next season.”
Utmost Delight is the 13th foal of the fantastically flawed mare Victor Supreme. She used to be talented yet weak but the Bettors Delight influence has seen her strengthen with every campaign.
“She has turned into a lovely mare and while we will probably stick mainly to mares races next season she might be good enough to be a Cup horse.
“Star Galleria will almost certainly bypass Australia over the winter and be set for the New Zealand Cup.”
The two Delights -- Utmost and Pat’s -- were rare points of difference as the All Stars were at their ruthless best in the majority of Saturday’s races.
Shez All Rock, on loan to them before heading back to Australia, finally broke the Aussie invite duck with a whirlwind performance in the three-year-old Diamond and she might be one of the most talented fillies seen in this part of the world.
But her juvenile stablemate Princess Tiffany was just as crushing in the opening race, coming from last to blow her rivals away.
Driver Tim Williams used Another Masterpiece’s draw to win the juvenile male pace while Eamon Maguire was fast enough to hold Star Galleria at bay as Rasmussen won a driving game of cat and mouse.
Now the super stable will need to sit down in the coming week and decided which horses press on to Victoria and the Breeders Crown riches and who heads to the paddock as they call time on another premiership season during which they have won a record $4.4million domestically and plenty of Lazarus loot in Australia.
What they have achieved this season, even with plenty of lows among the highs, has been remarkable in not just its brilliance but its sustainability.
But as Reid, Dalgety and Paul Nairn showed on Saturday, even giants are beatable.