Winning streaks continue for Stormont and Herlihy

By Michael Guerin

James Stormont’s stellar start to the new season continued at Alexandra Park on Friday but it is the lack of reinforcements he is worried about.

Stormont made it four winners from just 11 starters in 2022 when Molly Belle grabbed American Muscle on the line in the opening race of the night to record her second career win.

The victory capped a huge month for one of the most under-rated families in New Zealand harness racing as Molly Belle’s granddam Howz Lucky just keeps producing winners through her daughters, most notably Great Southern Star winner Majestuoso.

Stormont has been a huge part of the family success through his association with the Tims family who own so many of them, including having bred another of those four winners so far this season in Kelvinz Luck.

Considering he only has a team of 9 or 10 in work Stormont is doing a wonderful job this term but he says it is more the stable runners peaking at the same time rather than any dramatic changes he has made.

“It has been very satisfying because you always like to win for owners,” he said.

“And I do think Hey Bartender, who has only had two starts for a win and a luckless fourth, is a pretty good horse so he is one to watch out for.”

Stormont says his lack of young stock is a concern as he looks further down the track and he tried to remedy that at the Karaka yearling sales last week but the one he really went after was also on the Stonewall Stud shopping list and there was only ever going to be one winner in that battle.

“It is hard to get the young ones you want but it means we have room in the stable for horses anybody brought home from the yearling sales.”

While Stormont continued his sizzling summer so too did Tony Herlihy, who produced a gem of a drive not to mention a pretty handy training performance to win the first fillies heat of the Young Guns with The Notorious R B G.

The home-bred daughter of He’s Watching went from the outside of the second line to four back the inner, then the one-one and later roared around the field from three back on the outer so saw plenty of Alexandra Park during her victory.

She won like a good horse for Herlihy who has already won a juvenile race with Seve this season while Bolt For Brilliance and Last Tango In Heaven also won big races last week to cement Herlihy in the premiership top 10 with a stunning strike rate.

More importantly The Notorious R B G is owned by Herlihy’s wife Suzanne and daughters Angela and Racheal.

Keeping the family happy aside, The Notorious R B G won like a very good filly and while it is only the first chapter in a very long season for the baby girls it was a hell of a performance as juvenile races at The Park are rarely won from the outside of the second line.

The night was wrapped up by southern visitor Beach Ball continuing Kevin Chapman’s great record when he sends horses to Alexandra Park as he bolted away with the night’s main pace, a nice early trial for the Northern Derby next month.

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