White claims Harness Million double at Addington

By Jonny Turner

Matty was the man, banking two Harness Million titles on a huge night of thrilling harness racing at Addington on Friday night.

Matthew White enjoyed one of his biggest nights in the sport when he reined home highly impressive Harness Million winners, Coastal Babe and Paramount Kiwi.

The Northern horseman took no chances with either, sending Paramount Kiwi forward to lead the Harness Million 2YO Trot before employing exactly the same tactics behind Coastal Babe in the NZB Standardbred Harness Million 2YO Fillies Final.

The similarities between the two powerful winners don’t stop there because physically they are only just getting started.

“I think that is the big thing with Coastal Babe; she is just getting stronger all the time,” White said.

“She is a really happy horse, and she was happy to roll along in front tonight.”

“It has been a great night, I am absolutely rapt.”

When Coastal Babe stamped herself as clearly New Zealand’s best two-year-old pacing filly, it brought a sense of relief to trainer Steven Reid.

Reid admitted the filly’s recent Group One win in the Caduceus Club Fillies Classic has lifted Coastal Babe’s profile and brought extra pressure with it.

“It probably wasn’t as exciting as the Caduceus because she is establishing herself as maybe the best filly, and with it comes extra pressure.”

“I felt pretty relieved when she crossed the line.”

Paramount Kiwi left his rivals in the dust when powering to an impressive win in the NZB Harness Million 2YO Trot, handing White the biggest win of his training career.

The victory would ordinarily make the trotter the horse to beat in the remaining spring two-year-old trotting features.

But his rivals are off the hook, with White choosing to spell Paramount Kiwi with a view to his next campaign.

“He will go to the paddock; it is the best thing for the horse,” the trainer said.

“It is tempting to carry on but the Northern Trotting Derby is early in the year and the Harness Million for three-year-olds is too.”

“He’s done a super job and we want to look after him.”

Cold Chisel took out the NZB Standardbred Harness Million two-year-old pacing colts and geldings final before Don’t Stop Dreaming prevailed in what Addington racegoers were calling the race of the night, the Airpark Canterbury Flying Stakes.

Sizzling early speed from Wag Star and Coney Island Lou set up an outstanding contest, with the lead pair only run down late in a thrilling finish.

With the chasers spread across the track, ultimately it was the favourite Don’t Stop Dreaming who claimed victory in a thrilling finish.

The three-year-old had to be good to win after coping with a check before the home turn.

“There was a bit of a skirmish, and I had to check him quite quickly,” Mark Purdon said.

“But once he balanced up he really sprinted and he tried hard.”

The Mark and Nathan Purdon barn picked up another feature race title when Oscar Bonavena charged home to beat the favourite Muscle Mountain in the Group Three Canterbury Park Trotting Cup.

The victory continued the outstanding form of driver Olivia Thornley, who drove a patient race, making full use of the trotter’s scintillating speed.

The only negative on an incredible night of harness racing was the failure of the TAB’s website and mobile app which went down, leaving many punters frustrated through the night.

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