First winning drive of special significance for Douglas

It was not just the thrill of winning that Hayden Douglas will remember after he notched his first winning drive at Ascot Park yesterday.

Win No 1 was made more memorable for the junior driver as it came with Magic Sign, trained by his father Jeremy.

The pacer took full advantage of the perfect trip in the trail Douglas secured him in race 6.

Winning with an old stable favourite in Magic Sign added another layer to a special and memorable victory.

"He is a horse we have had for three odd years now and he’s got fantastic owners," Douglas said.

"He almost feels like a family horse. The owners are fantastic to us and I am just honoured that they put me on."

Magic Sign is raced by the Setarip Syndicate, the oldest harness racing syndicate in New Zealand.

Douglas admitted he had taken more than a passing glance at Magic Sign’s race replay in the hours following the race, as the elated junior driver lapped up the thrill of his first win.

"I have already watched the video about 10 times and I am not going to stop now.

"It is a pretty awesome day and a pretty cool horse to do it with."

Douglas has always had a keen interest in harness racing and in recent years the idea of becoming a driver has become a realistic goal to chase.

"In my teenage years, I was focusing more on football and other careers, but in my early adult years Dad has built a team down here at Ascot Park.

"As soon as he got me down to the track I have just fallen in love with it again. You can’t keep me away now."

Harness racing is not Douglas’ fulltime job, but he is keen to fit it around his work commitments as much as possible.

"I am a contract engineer at Fulton Hogan and I try to fit the racing around that.

"Obviously I help out my old man and I do a bit of trackwork for Kirstin Green and Tyler Dewe.

"They have all been good to me and taught me plenty over the years."

In winning, Douglas not only joins his father as a racing winner.

The junior driver’s sister Melissa is also a winning thoroughbred trainer.