Vivid Night a sentimental winner at Manawatu
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
A horse steeped in Central Districts racing was a welcome winner of the Season Opener Handicap Trot (2500m) at Manawatu Raceway on Monday.
Bred by former Bulls trainer Trevor Harris and raced by his estate, Vivid Night is trained at the Palmerston North track by Stephen Doody and was marked a $38.10 outsider by bookmakers.
The six-year-old Majestic Son gelding had done little to persuade punters in his direction, having placed in just one of his previous 10 starts, and failed to flatter in his first two starts this preparation.
However, he began well from the frontline for driver Andre Poutama who kept a solid tempo up front, which had the field strung out for the entire 2500m journey.
Vivid Night was never headed and ran out a comfortable 2-1/4 length victor over Play Footsie, with a further two lengths back to Full Of Hope in third.
Poutama was pleased to get the win for Vivid Night’s connections on their home track after a frustrating period with the gelding.
“I was pleased by the way that he did it. He has been a bit frustrating for the owners, so it was good that he was finally able to get the win for them,” Poutama said.
“It is good coming back home and getting results like today, especially for owners that I have known ever since I was a little fella.”
Poutama said keeping Vivid Night up to task throughout paid off and it may be a tactic adopted in the future with the gelding.
“We have tried to drive him pretty and that doesn’t seem to work,” he said. “He was getting a little bit rocky every time he eased up, so I opted to keep him running the whole way.”
Vivid Night’s racing career was on thin ice prior to Monday’s win, and while he is set to continue his career on the track, Poutama said he will have to improve his manners to feature back in the winner’s circle.
“The thing that lets him down is his manners,” Poutama said. “They were going to pull pin with him, but this meeting wasn’t far away so they will carry on with him a little longer now I am picking.
“They got a bit of a thrill out of today and it was good for him to do it on their home course.”
Vivid Night hails from Central Districts harness racing stalwart Duncan Neilson’s breed, being out of his five-win mare Emilia, who Harris purchased, along with her dam Breanoram, following Neilson’s passing.
Neilson had plenty of success breeding from Breanoram, with the Greener Pastures mare leaving five progeny to have won at least five races, including Emilia, Kristine Winz, Toibin, Daibin, and Supper Waltz Wilson, who went on to win the Group 3 Jim McNeil Memorial Final (2609m) at the Gold Coast.
“They have carried on with him because he is the last one from that family,” Poutama said.
Later on the card, Doody secured a double on the six race card when Bettor Grunter took out the $3K Junior Driver Championship Commences 15 Nov Mobile Pace (2000m).