Te Awamutu Cup to No Doctor Needed
NZ HARNESS NEWS
No Doctor Needed made an overdue return to the winner’s circle with victory in Thursday night’s $12,000 Te Awamutu Cup at Cambridge Raceway.
As the four-horse race was being run, the Deputy Prime Minister and Racing Minister, Winston Peters, was in the bowels of the main stand answering questions about the much-vaunted Messara Report.
But junior driver Jack MacKinnon wasn’t watching, he was coercing No Doctor Needed to a narrow win in the night’s feature.
It was a sluggish win from the best-performed pacer in the race, who now has over $320,000 in the bank from 16 wins and 26 placings.
Race outsider Lincoln Road, also by far the least-experienced horse in the race, gave favourite punters a big scare down the straight when he drew level with the $1.40 pop via the passing lane.
But MacKinnon extracted the necessary out of the veteran to win by a head.
“He went really good. He switched off down the straight, but he did what he needed to in the end,” said MacKinnon.
No Doctor Needed was excellent running a last half in a tick over 53 seconds in his resuming run at Alexandra Park, but managed to get beaten by Jo’s Dream, who had a head start on him.
But from even marks tonight, the plan was to go forward and set a stronger tempo. And it worked.
“They can be tricky these small fields. But he got around them easy enough and then got a good run in front.
“He has won in front before, but he does wait for them, so he’s better coming off the speed.
“I thought with Lets Elope fresh up over 2700 and Jo’s Dream on level marks and usually being a follower, the front was the place to be when she was slow away.”
Jo’s Dream ultimately floundered and was disappointing in running last.
MacKinnon, who now works for No Doctor Needed’s trainer Steve Telfer, says he doesn’t expect to retain the drive when holidaying regular David Butcher returns.
“I think David will drive him, but I’ll put my hand up though. A horse like him makes the job a lot easier.”
Telfer confirmed post-race that No Doctor Needed would stay in Auckland for the upcoming Spring Cup and Holmes D G, but a potential clash with Perth star Chicago Bull on October 26 is up in the air.
“We haven’t decided yet, and I’d prefer to stay up here for that, but I do know the owners enjoy racing at Kaikoura, which is two days later.
“I’ve left it to them decide and we’ll do that closer to the time.”
Earlier on in the night, local horseman Gary Gillies, fresh from a long stint in Queensland, drove his first New Zealand winner in over seven years when winning the amateur drivers race with Waingaro Mara.
And junior driver Dylan Ferguson came away relatively unscathed from a spill at the top of the straight in a maiden pace, when his charge, Rose Ryal galloped and locked wheels, tipping him out.
The same race was marred by the terminal score-up gallop of white-hot favourite Arden Voyager, who took no part in the race as a $1.50 elect with bookies..