Grand National Festival of Racing - Day 3 Review
It's A Wonder beats the conditions
- After spectacular winter weather for the first two days the third day of the Grand National Festival of Racing was subject to atrocious conditions. Cold, rain, and a strong easterly wind prevailed all day.
- In the conditions the best way to keep clean was out in front and so it was for IT’S A WONDER in the days feature the Racecourse Hotel and Motor Lodge Grand National Steeplechase. Under Shaun Phelan the Harvey Wilson trained nine-year-old gave a dashing display to become the 19th horse to win the Koral and Grand National double. GARGARIN finished strongly for second ahead of MR ENTHUSIAST.
- THE GORDONIAN gave at least three years to the field but that made no difference to the eleven-year-old who ploughed through the conditions to win the Christchurch Casino Winter Classic. Winter Cup winner DEZ took second and NOMEN LUDI third.
- The unlucky runner in the Winning Edge Presentations Winter Cup was RED SIERRA and the David and Emma Howarth trained mare was a deserved winner of the open sprint the In Memory of “Doods” Premier over the 1400 metres.
- Long-time supporter John Wheeler trained the quinella on the opening race the Speight’s Premier Hurdle. ABACUS ridden by claimer Tim Johnson defeated QUAFF with MESMERIZE third.
- Given the conditions the most apt sponsor on the day was HeatStore with GALWAY GARRY getting a double for the Festival for Riverton trainers Kelvin and Aimee Tyler and Riccarton Park apprentice KOZZI ASANO.
- The final race on the programme recognised the end of a decade long era of commentator Mark McNamara. Brian and Shane Anderton produced SLAMMER in the hands of stable apprentice Corey Campbell to take the honours after a presentation had bene made to Mark. Matt Cross succeeds Mark form the next racemeeting following in the footsteps of Dave Clarkson, Reon Murtha, Darrin Tyquin and McNamara.
- Kozzi Asano was the only jockey to ride two winners and finished the Festival win four winners tied with the incomparable Chris Johnson.
- The third day count in the North versus South battle was again 6 to 4 but this time in favour of the South but ended in a 16 to 14 count to the northern competitors.
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