Day At The Track

MacKenzie and Phelan shine at Cambridge

09:50 AM 02 Dec 2016 NZDT
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Scott Phelan,harness racing
Scott Phelan
HRNZ photo

Rod Mackenzie has Fizzi Lizzi absolutely fizzing at present.

The 67-year-old Tuhikaramea cattle dealer has now trained the McArdle mare to consecutive feature race victories at Cambridge Raceway in the last fortnight.

That happened when Fizzi Lizzi and James Stormont triumphed at Cambridge Raceway last night (Thursday) in the.$7,500 O'Connor Warren Insurance Brokers Handicap for the R56 and faster pacers.

Fizzi Lizzi, who started from a 10m handicap with her R76 rating, was the $5.60 third favourite in the six-horse field.

But the 6-year-old has no right to be winning one race let alone the six she has already racked up from 28 life-time starts.

“She has had breathing problems for much of her career and since I put the Cornell Collar on her she has come right, especially her last four starts.

“She could have had an operation to see if it could be fixed, but I went for the collar option instead. Stunin Cullen had the same problems and he wore one throughout his career and won more than $1 million,” MacKenzie said.

Fizzi Lizzi has now won three of her four starts this season, but it was a bold Stormont drive that got the mare home this time round.

The Pukekohe reinsman sat fourth along the markers early before going to and sit parked at the bell. Then at the 400m Stormont said let’s go and that’s when Fizzi Lizzi said goodbye.

That move was the winning of the race. She had four lengths up her sleeve at the winning post, pacing the 2700m stand in 3:26.5 – 1.6 seconds quicker than when she won two weeks earlier.

Her winning mile rate this week was 2:03 even and she came home in 57 flat and 27.6.

“The win means she will now have to take on the better quality horses at Alexandra Park but that’s fine, she’s won three races there and is a new horse this season.

“The way she won last start I thought she would be tough to roll again. She’s got the speed to do a good job. As you can see she can run a slick quarter,” MacKenzie said.

He then paid a tribute to his life-long friend Graeme Rogerson.

“I’ve known Graeme since I was about two. We were both bought up at Te Rapa and then we shifted to Tuhikaramea about the same time 35 years ago.

“We are neighbours now and he let’s me have run of his place and his track. He has state-of-the-art facilities there. I don’t think you would find a better training facility in New Zealand,” MacKenzie said.

“I just want to thank Graeme for the continued use of his track and property,” he added.

MacKenzie only ever has two horses in work, the other being the two-win pacer, Saucy Rebel.

He said the best horse he had trained since taking out his licence in 1982 was Fizzi Lizzi’s older half-sister, Averill’s Quest (by Badlands Hanover).

“She won nine races and more than $100,000. This one isn’t bad but she’s got a wee way to go to catch up on her half-sister,” MacKenzie said.

He has now trained 68 winners from 494 starters in his career. He’s also placed 117 times and last night’s victory took his career stake earnings past the $506,000 mark.

Meanwhile, the individual highlight of the meeting came from Clevedon reinsman Scott Phelan who drove more than a third of the card to victory.

His first win came via the Arna Donnelly trained Sexy Rexy in race one, and then two races later he and the Steve Telfer/Chris Garlick trained Sir Richie won and went a slick 2:41.5 to score.

Phelan’s third win came behind the Tim Vince trained Drover’s Eyre in the fifth event.

“It was a good night at the office. I had six drives and also finished third in the last race (Olivia’s Secret). They all won quite well. I was especially pleased with the way Arna’s trotter won from his unruly mark.

“He’s lightly race and felt like he might have a bit of a future,” said Phelan who will have a big month driving No Doctor Needed at the Auckland Cup Carnival.

Phelan has now driven 14 winners this season ($128,404) and all-up has reined home 411 career winners ($4.2m) since first jumping in the bike back in 2000.

Duane Ranger

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