Day At The Track

"Attitude” ensures victory

09:23 AM 19 Jun 2017 NZST
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Steve Phillips
Steve Phillips - 'The Godfather' of New Zealand Amateur Driving

Poppy Drayton’s fiery family traits could be seen in the winner’s circle shortly after the 3-year-old filly notched up her second career win at Cambridge Raceway last Friday.

The Steve Phillips trained daughter of Bettor’s Delight led all the way in the fifth event for the R51 to R55 pacers at Waikato Harness Racing’s penultimate meeting of the season.

"She was really full of her herself when Sailesh (Abernethy) brought her back. Anne (wife and co-owner and breeder) couldn't get near her to get her photo taken with her. She just didn’t want to be there.

"It's a trait which has been passed on down through her family. She can be a bit scary at times. Shannara (dam) and Chloe Hanover (grand-dam) both had an attitude as well," Phillips said.

"In some ways it's good because it's what can make good fillies and mares," he added.

When Phillips saw that Poppy Drayton had drawn one in the $7,000 Fairview Motors Cambridge Pace, he thought Abernethy would lead with her, or at least be near the pace.

“Sailesh rated her extremely well. She was allowed to bowl along setting her own terms in front. It was a lovely drive,” Phillips said.

Poppy Drayton paced the 2200m in 2:46.7 (mile rate 2:01.9) and came home in 59 even and 28.3.

She bolted in by four-and-a-half lengths and was the $3.90 second favourite.

The brown filly is the only horse Phillips currently has in work. The former accountant and now 'Godfather' of amateur harness racing in New Zealand, has now trained two winners from seven starts this season.

The other win also came via Poppy Drayton and Abernethy at Alexandra Park on April 7. They paced the 2200m mobile in 2:46 even that night.

Poppy Drayton could now follow in the footsteps of the former Phillips trained Windinherhair, who won eight races here and three more in Australia between February and August of 2014.

“We will see how this filly progresses in the next few weeks but Australia could be an option if she keeps performing well.

“We did the same with Windinherhair and that proved beneficial. Nicole Molander trained her for us and ‘Poppy’ could go there too.

“We brought Windinherhair home and retired her to the broodmare’s paddock. Anne and I are breeding from her now,” said Glenbrook-based Phillips.

Poppy Drayton is the first foal out of the 2006 Elsu - Chloe Hanover mare, Shannara, who won five races and $27,617 for the Phillips'. Shannara in turn was was the fifth of 10 foals out of Chloe Hanover (11 wins, $93,076, 1:57.3).

Footnote: Five members of the Butcher family lined up in the last event on Friday with 'Uncle' Philip causing an upset win behind the Mike Berger trained $21.30 outsider, Dun It Bad.

His nephew Zac finished third behind the Ray Green trained Linc's Rule; Zac's brother Ben was fourth behind the Paul Green trained Sasha Banks; their father David finished eighth on the (David) Butcher trained Midnight Murray; and David's nephew Stephen was seventh behind the (David) Butcher trained Miranda Maguire.

Harness Racing Waikato’s last meeting of the season will be on Sunday July 16.

Duane Ranger

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