Yorkshire heads south on Sunday
By Jonny Turner
The lure of a penalty free win has progressive Canterbury pacer Yorkshire trekking to Wyndham on Sunday.
The Steven McRae trained 4yr-old heads south after adding to his nearly perfect race record with a fighting win on Ashburton Flying Stakes day.
Yorkshire has looked well up to competing at the New Zealand Cup Carnival in the three wins from just four starts.
The appeal of a penalty free win has outweighed taking the A Rocknroll Dance pacer to the nation’s biggest harness racing stage.
“It is a $15,000 race and penalty free for junior drivers, so it is a good opportunity for him,” McRae said.
“He has won three races pretty quickly, so it he could get a penalty free one it would be ideal.”
“He has shot up the grades, so he will be racing the big fish soon and he will still be a pretty green horse.”
Yorkshire’s greenness was on show in his last start win at Ashburton.
The horse was headed in the straight when his mind was not fully on the race in front of him, before he rallied again for driver Craig Thornley and won.
“Craig said he was as green as anything,” McRae said.
“Coming up to the bend it was a matter of what he was going to win by.”
“The others come up to him and run past him before he went again and he pulled away at the post.”
“He feels like he will run all day - he is definitely good enough.”
Canterbury junior driver John Morrison has been charged with keeping Yorkshire’s mind on the job on Sunday.
The combination of Yorkshire’s greenness and his quick rise through the harness grades means McRae goes in to the 2400m handicap with full respect for his horse’s rivals.
“It is quite a good field – there are two or three that could easily beat him and he could even beat himself.”
Leading Southern pacer Robyns Playboy will chase the first penalty free win of his eight-win career in Sunday’s event for reinswoman Sheree Tomlinson.
The Ross and Chris Wilson trained 4yr-old comes in to the Hunter Family Handicap after producing a big finish to win the Tuapeka Cup.
Robyns Playboy (30m) will give Yorkshire (10m) a 20m head start on Sunday.
Sunday’s race features the return of former smart 3yr-old Mighty Flying Art.
The 4yr-old ran second behind Paddyproudfoot in his only workout ahead of his return to racing.
It is possible McRae may campaign Yorkshire on the Otago and Southland Christmas and New Year racing circuit following Sunday’s race.
However the pacer could also head to the spelling paddock over summer.
“He has only had four starts, but he has been in work eight or nine months, so he will tell us when he is ready for a wee spell,” McRae said.