Sell trains first winner on home track

By Jonny Turner

Timaru horsewoman Vicki Sell scored her first win as a trainer when her consistent pacer Mr Midnight won on his home track on Sunday.

Sell enjoyed success as an owner and breeder when her 7yr-old ran to his ninth career victory in rating 51-55 company in the hands of junior driver Sarah O’Reilly.

Sell has been involved in preparing Mr Midnight for all of his career victories, but got official credit for the first of them on Sunday.

The Phar Lap Raceway trainer was a longtime employee of the horse’s previous official trainer, David Mitchell.

With more of her horses progressing towards the races, the timing was right for Sell to apply for her own training licence.

“I worked for David for fifteen years before he moved up to Christchurch,” Sell said.

“I have a few young ones coming through, so I thought it was about time I got my licence.”

Starting work for Mitchell a decade and a half ago was the starting point for Sell developing a passion for harness horses.

Sell’s new venture as a trainer means her interests have expanded to her breeding, owning and now officially preparing her own horses.

“I have always loved the horses.”

“It was just something I got in to and I loved it.”

Sell scored her first training win with just her ninth starter. 

The trainer said she was confident she could soon notch her maiden win leading in to Sunday’s meeting as Mr Midnight had worked his way to a competitive place in the rating system.

“I knew he was back in his grade and it wasn’t going to take too long.”
“He’s usually pretty consistent when he gets back in the right grade, he normally gets a win pretty quick.”

Some smooth early manoeuvring from Sarah O’Reilly helped secure Mr Midnight’s victory.

The junior driver pressed forward at the start, but was unable to take the lead from Rollova and Bob Butt.

O’Reilly then eased Mr Midnight in to the trail behind the leader.

After being shuffled three back on the inner, Mr Midnight let down with a big finish to score after dodging the galloping Hands Up Jack. 

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