Terrier provides for unlikely star turn at Rangiora

By Frank Marrion

Converted trotter Terrier and Matt Purvis provided an unlikely star turn in winning a maiden very easily at the Rangiora meeting on Sunday.

A battling two-win pacer at the start of the season, Terrier hadn’t won a race since Nelson two years ago and appeared to be going nowhere, while Purvis hardly drives at all these days and his only previous winner in that role this term was with Fun In The Dark back in September.

But after sitting last until the 600m, Terrier showed a great turn of foot to loop the field before the home turn and in the end won untouched and in a manner which suggested more wins are in store.

This was a somewhat surprising turn of events for trainer John Bartlett after Terrier had been sent north to race out of John and Josh Dickie’s Clevedon barn as a pacer last winter.

“I think a large part of the reason he came up here was as a favour and as a drive for Craig Smith, who was working for us and who knew the owners well,” said John Dickie.

“We discovered that when he went for a jog or a canter, he just wanted to trot and he showed plenty of speed as well.

“He soon qualified as a trotter back in February, but they didn’t pass him as I hadn’t updated my medical.

“Then we got busy with yearlings from the sales and as he just needed the miles in his legs, we sent him home again.”

Back with Bartlett in early March, Terrier took some organizing and qualified in mid April, coming in for solid support on the tote when he made his debut as a trotter at Rangiora a few weeks ago.

He blew the start on that occasion, but Terrier then won three trials in as many weeks, the last of them four days out from his win on Sunday.

“Converted trotters tend to be a bit racey, so I just kept taking him to every trial meeting we could, sometimes giving him two runs in a day,” said Bartlett.

“Robbie Close usually drives for me, but he had another one to worry about, so I grabbed Matt (Purvis) one day and just kept him on.

“He was always there at the Rangiora trials and it’s good to have some continuity.”

Terrier is raced by Bartlett with brothers Luke and Scott Sutherland and their father Colin along with Lee Schwass, who are involved in the Papanui Softball Club.

They’re now looking forward to trip away to the Nelson meeting next month, while Addington races every Friday night in July.

Terrier is the first trotting winner sired by Tintin In America, who does have some trotting blood on his maternal side with a third dam in Now And Zen by Chiola Hanover from Zenover.

Either side of Terrier winning on Sunday, Blair Wilmott won the Amateur Driving Championship as expected, although it was a lot closer than anticipated.

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