Day At The Track

Mitchell edges towards 100 training wins

10:28 PM 25 Mar 2008 NZDT
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Todd Mitchell
Todd Mitchell

The Purdon/Payne juggernaut tolled on at headquarters last week. Mark Purdon drove stable runner Mercurio to impress last Tuesday then on Saturday night the stars came out to play. Firstly, Auckland Reactor exploded away from a smart 3-Win field before Sir Clive kept his unbeaten run in tact with an all-the-way win against his fellow two-year-olds.

Steven Reid kept up his impressive stable strike rate too. Four wins came the way of the Pukekohe trainer in the past week. Three at Hawera, including a double to Slipinn as well as the impressive win of Bailey’s Dream in the Renwick FFA.

Cambridge horsemen Todd Mitchell enjoyed overdue success with Vinnie Barberino in the last race at Cambridge on Thursday night. That win took Mitchell to 96 training wins. The 100 milestone is in sight and a likely target by season’s end.

Otago training stalwart Ali Malcolmson recently brought up a big milestone. Malcolmson has enjoyed a good run of success in recent months and all that culminated in training win 300 with Mutineer back in December.

Champion trotting trainer Phil Williamson is getting dangerously close to 200 training wins. He sits on 193 at present. 178 of those wins stem from his trotters.

Now more than ever women are making an increased impact. The following is a work-in-progress list of the leading women trainers in harness racing.

We have more research and work to do on it but these are the initial numbers we crunched earlier.

Leading Woman Trainers at 24 March 2008

atherine Butt ** 407

icky Chilcott 246

ulie De Filippi ** 145

ichelle Wallis 133

enice Swain 123

eanne Edwards 88

usan Branch 64

ally Fenning 61

yn Smith * 60

ue Martin 59

yn Neal ** 56

lare McGowan ** 54

ina Hope ** 49

lenys Chmiel ** 43

egan Irvine * 43

orraine Nolan 42

atrina Price ** 39

oy Millar 39

ianne Wood 36

aulette Screen 36

elinda Holmes 33

* Denotes all wins in partnership

Some wins in partnership


eter Ferguson (93) continues on his merry way to the Streamline Freight Drivers’ Premiership, picking up seven wins over the weekend. A double at Cambridge on Thursday was followed with a trio of wins on Saturday at Hawera, which was backed up two further wins on the second day of the meeting.

The all-time single season record of Maurice McKendry of 161 is still a long way off but Ferguson has a grand opportunity to jump a long way up that all-time leader board.

The biggest total in the last 11 seasons has been Colin De Filippi’s epic 121 when battling Mark Jones for the premiership.

For those that follow the Southland scene, one of the statesmen of harness racing in the south, Alex Milne, is just three wins of 400 driving successes.

Alex has had a rough run lately with some race falls but the approaching 400 milestone no doubts as a spur.


As Dexter Dunn (79) continues on in his record-breaking quest there were other young driving getting the job done.

Nathan Williamson (47) was the highlighted driver this week as he picked up two wins (plus one on Tuesday) but more importantly the Group 3 First Sovereign 4YO Trotters Championship on Springbank Richard.

Canterbury junior Charles Driver enjoyed tremendous success at the recently concluded Hawera meeting. The 25-year-old junior, in his first season of race driving racked up a double on day two of the meeting, which followed a win on Kenny Maguire on day one.

At the same Hawera meeting Simon McMullan dove his first winner, a nice one, on promising three-year-old trained by his employer Steven Reid, Another Matter.

Trainer Teaser:

Who is the now international sporting coach that was once a professional harness racing trainer?

Andrew Morris, HRNZ

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