BETTOR’S STRIKE GALLANT 2ND IN EASTER CUP
Sleepy Tripp, after tracking Bettor’s Strike on the outer over the last 1300m, had the last say to win the $80,000 The Stallion Station Easter Cup at Addington on Saturday, April 3.
Last year’s NZ Derby winner again showed class for Rolleston co-trainer-driver Mark Purdon to grab the lions share of the prize by a short neck.
Sleepy Tripp is yet another harness racing rags-to-riches story.
Owners Terry and Adrienne Taylor, former dairy farmers in the Bay Of Islands or Whangarei for 30 years, before relocating to Oamaru, then Pleasant Point, South Canterbury, nine years ago, purchased Sleepy Tripp’s dam Fancy Fitch, in foal to Mystical Shark, for only $1200 at a mixed stock sale.
Photo: Sleepy Tripp, with co-trainer-driver Mark Purdon, winners of The Stallion Station Easter Cup
However, the first twist in their new ownership of Fancy Fitch (Fitch II-Happy Widow) came when they realised the subsequent Mystical Shark foal had switched mothers when grazing at stud.
Fancy Fitch, from a half-sister by Smooth Fella to 1970 NZ Harness Horse Of the Year Bonnie Frost (1969 NZ and GN Oaks winner, also runnerup NZ Derby, and 3rd in the GN and Victoria Derbys), returned to their property with Franco Smoothie.
The mix-up wasn’t discovered until Franco Smoothie (Holmes Hanover-Smooth Performer) was ready to qualify. He won two races in NZ for Burnham trainer Bruce Negus, before being sold to North America.
The Mystical Shark foal subsequently died without making it to the trialling stage.
They then bred Dead Or Alive (by Live Or Die), who won five for the Negus barn at two and three before he was sold to Australian interests.
Fancy Fitch was then sent to former champion youngster Courage Under Fire to come up with Sleepy Tripp.
Under the direction of Mark Purdon and Grant Payne, Sleepy Tripp has now won 11 and been 8 times placed from 25 starts for $522,171 in stakes.
Bettor’s Strike was gallant in defeat, working three wide in the open over the last mile as he moved to be parked over the final lap.
He wore down Baileys Dream for 2nd in a four-way finish with necks separating the first four.
Baileys Dream had sprinted to wrest the lead from Second Wind at the 1200m, with Second Wind also fighting gamely along the sprint lane for a close-up 4th.
Bettor’s Strike, who shared the 15m mark with Baileys Dream and Awesome Armbro, was race-timed in 4:01.8 for the 3200m. Sleepy Tripp, off the front, ran 4:03.
The leaders poured the pace on over their last mile in 1:56.2, running their last 800m in 55.9s and final 400m in 27.7s.
Trainer Cran Dalgety couldn’t fault the effort of Bettor’s Strike.
“When Baileys Dream pressed to the lead a lap out, leaving us parked, it wasn’t looking so good.”
“He’s definitely been able to rough it better now after having had that Grand Circuit racing. A few months ago he couldn’t have done that,” he said.
Cran is already looking forward to Bettor’s Strike returning next term.
“Its a blessing having the Interdominions at Addington next year. Hopefully we’ll have another big season.”
Bettor’s Strike, who had earned around $142,054 going into November’s NZ Cup, has had his career earnings having soar to $818,760 this season.
By Jeff Scott