Better To Be Bad gets a well-earned dry-off after her
post-Waimate Cup hose down by trainer Steve Ashton and his
wife, Christine, following the mare's win in the $14,000
feature yesterday. Photo by Matt Smith.
Portobello trainer Steve Ashton has no hesitation in
naming yesterday's Waimate Cup winner, Better To Be Bad, as the
best horse he has trained.
Ashton has lived in Portobello for about 35 years and has
been training for the last 25 of those, picking up multiple
wins with Sunnivue Son and Sunnivue Impulse. Sunnivue Ted
completed a dream day for Ashton yesterday, when he won the
feature trot immediately after the Waimate Cup by 1 lengths.
Better To Be Bad, a Badlands Hanover mare, was not quite the
finished product when she first started racing for Ashton and
co-owner Miles Notman, along with co-owner and breeder Gavin
''It took about five starts for her to learn how to race and
from there on, she's gone from strength to strength,'' Ashton
The 5yr-old was having her 16th start yesterday, and it was
clear any racing immaturity was behind her as she cleared
away from Live Lea to win the $14,000 feature by 2 lengths,
storming home in 28.2sec over the final 400m.
''I expected it with the way she had been working, but you
just don't know with racing,'' he said.
''She's got a big future.''
The heat at Waimate has altered Ashton's plans for the near
future with the mare.
''If it wasn't as hot today, I would have gone to Wairio [at
Winton] next week, but it's just too hot.''
A change of environment and gear worked a treat with Armadale
VC, who justified his favouritism in the Royal Tavern Pace.
The 5yr-old Washington VC gelding was with Leo O'Reilly for
his first 11 starts, and Nina Hope, who co-trains with
husband Greg, said the beach training had suited Armadale VC
- even if he did not show it at first.
''We've given him a couple of trials, and he's just gone good
- nothing too startling,'' she said.
''We put the the sliding blinds on him today, and that seemed
to help him.''
Armadale VC pushed forward from the tail of the field at the
1000m mark and slotted into the one-one when Beaudiene
Beckham came round to give him cover. Ricky May, recording
one of his three wins for the day, pulled Armadale VC out in
the straight to wear down leader Flyalong Falcon.
The Hopes will probably include Armadale VC in the team of
horses they take to the West Coast for the Christmas circuit.
By Matt Smith.