Walkinonsunshine's Group 3 - "a real thrill"

By Michael Guerin

Tom Bagrie had a very good excuse for missing one of the biggest wins of his training career at Alexandra Park on Thursday night.

The Canterbury trainer’s talented filly Walkinonsunshine bolted away win the $25,000 What The Hill Northern Trotting Oaks, racing six lengths clear after leading throughout on the rain-soaked night.

The Group 3 was notable for the first career defeat of High Energy, who settled back and never got warm until late but the way the winner effortlessly trotted 2:45 for the mobile 2200m the hot favourite would have needed to be right at the top of her game to give her a start and still be able to beat her.

Bagrie wasn’t able to be on track to see the Oaks win though as he and his partner Bonnie are expecting their second child, who is nine days overdue.

“So we watched it on the couch at home together and it was a real thrill,” says Bagrie.

“It would rate up there with a Southland Oaks I won as the biggest wins of my career.”

Walkinonsunshine had always shown Bagrie plenty of ability but has been luckless in her career.

“I trained her dam Blackjacky and she started out pacing but lost interest in it and I decided to try galloping in her work but when I did that all she wanted to do was trot.

“This filly has trotted right from day one and we think she is pretty good.”

Bagrie spoke to winning driver Tony Herlihy after the Oaks and the pair concurred the Northern Trotting Derby is the logical next target for the daughter of Creatine.

While High Energy lost her unbeaten record for trainers Mark and Nathan Purdon their three-year-old pacing filly Millwood Nike maintained hers with an easy win in the Magness Benrow Sires’ Stakes Heat.

After being trapped wide for the first 400m Millwood Nike strode to the front and was never tested to win by two and a half lengths in a 1:58.8 mile rate for the 1700m mobile.

That takes the daughter of Captaintreacherous to 13 unbeaten starts and $527,217 in stakes with still so much of her three-year-old career still to go.

Other notable wins on the night were former Aussie trotter All Cashed Up overcoming a 30m handicap in the main trot, no small feat over 2200m, while Punk Rocker made it two wins from as many starts in a fast run R47-58 for trainer-driver Sheryl Wigg.

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