Squeeze is on for Orange
By Michael Guerin
The equation is getting pretty simple for Blair Orange.
With his first national driver’s premiership already secured Orange needs nine wins in eight meetings to break Dexter Dunn’s New Zealand record 229 victories in a season.
A win a meeting and Orange shares the record, one better than that and the record is his.
“I suppose it sounds simple but obviously fields are getting smaller and it is just a matter of getting on the right horses,” says Orange. “It is in the back of my mind of course because I have got this close but what will be will be.
“I’ll just take it one meeting at a time and if I can have a meeting where I win two or three that will take some pressure off.”
That could even come at Forbury Park tonight, where while Orange only has six drives because two of the races are for junior drivers in the NZ champs, he has several winning hopes.
“A lot of these horse are the same ones racing each other every week and I have a few who can definitely win,” says Orange.
He rates Jamies Bad Boy in race seven his best hope with a good draw and some consistent recent form.
“And the way Dusky Eyre (race three) won last week he has to be a good chance too.” Madaboy (race one) and Armstrong (race five) are also rated winning hopes while Evangeline Franco at least has some winning form going into the last race.
A victory or two tonight could take Orange a fair way toward the record this weekend as he races at Addington tomorrow and Ashburton on Sunday.
But he has stopped short of calling in any favours in the record chase.
His former boss Mark Purdon has Shez All Rock all but guaranteed a win in a non-tote Breeders Crown heat tomorrow night and Orange could have easily picked up the phone and asked to take the champion filly for a spin as payback for years of service to the All Stars.
“But I wouldn’t do that. If I am going to get the record I wouldn’t want to do it that way,” he says. “I’d like to keep going the way I have been going and obviously getting on the best horses I can but not like that.
“And I am pretty sure Mark will be keen to drive her anyway,” he laughs.