Reid breaks driving drought with Group Two victory
Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Steven Reid made a rare appearance in the sulky on Friday night and he made it count, steering home Shes No Lady to victory in the Gr.2 Delightful Lady Classic (1700m) at Alexandra Park.
The South Auckland horseman hadn’t saluted the judge since 2018 and while he was delighted to break his driving drought he was more excited about getting the win for Woodlands Stud.
The stud farm bred the filly and races her under their Woodlands Partnership Syndicate, which consists of a number of high profile athletes, including former All Black captain Kieran Read.
“I have trained for Woodlands a little bit in the past, but I have never driven a winner for them,” Reid said. “I know fillies are a big thing for them, so to train and drive a Group Two winner for them was a really good moment.
“It cements the relationship hopefully. They have stuck by me and I returned the favour tonight.”
While pleased with the win, Reid said his presence out on track was only a matter of circumstance, having become a bit disillusioned with her starting manners.
“She ran a really good second first-up,” he said. “Zac Butcher drove her in her next start and she didn’t school up behind the gate, she galloped out. He hopped off and I let Todd Mitchell drive her last week and she pretty much did the same thing again.
“Kelly Blakemore said to me after the race last week that I should drive her. I had a bit of a theory to getting her away, so I spoke with Andrew Grierson (Woodlands Stud principal) and we decided I should drive her.”
Reid put his theory into practice and it paid off, with the daughter of Sweet Lou beginning well from gate two.
“My whole focus before the race was about getting her to pace and be with the field as the gate left,” he said.
“I just went up and put her straight onto the gate before we started moving and that really seemed to help her.
“I wasn’t thinking she was going to be a realistic chance of winning, but when I got out into the running line over by the 800m she was travelling really well.
“She is extremely genuine and she is a good stayer. I knew they had burnt a bit of gas early and when she started to come into it at the 400m I thought she could definitely run a place.
“Then they came back to her in the last wee bit and she just kept going.”
Although buoyed by his success on Friday night, Reid is not overly keen to make a regular return to the sulky.
“I ran into Andrew Grierson as I was leaving and he said to me that I have got to stay driving her now,” Reid said.
“We are targeting the Jewels with her and I don’t really know that I want to be driving in the Jewels.
“I don’t really want to get into the driving side, I think my days of that are really done.
“I don’t mind driving the odd nice one or something like tonight.”
Meanwhile, Star Galleria will head to the spelling paddock after his unplaced run in the Gr.2 City Of Auckland Mobile Pace (2200m).
“I was very disappointed with his run,” Reid said. “He trialled amazingly two weeks ago but something happened between that trial and last week and he went awful.
“We did a blood on him and his blood was not 100 percent, but we treated him.
“That performance on Friday night is not even close to how good he is, so he is going to go to the paddock and have six to eight weeks off.
“We are going to be coming back at a time where there may not be a lot of opportunities for him up here, so we will just have to assess what we do.
“I will talk to the owners about it in the next couple of days and make a call.”