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Forget the Highlanders — Otago’s squaregaiting squad is the province’s team to follow after it produced brilliant results over the weekend.
Forbury Park trotter Have No Fear was not scared to show off his class when producing a faultless and impressive debut at Addington on Friday night.
The Darryn Simpson-trained 2yr-old’s win on debut came six races after Oamaru trotter Cracker Hill confirmed his place at the top of the country’s 3yr-old trotting ranks in the Sires Stakes Trotters Prelude for trainer-driver Brad Williamson.
The run of trotting winners from blue and gold country continued at Wyndham Cup day on Saturday, when Williamson drove Humble Lad to win the feature trotting event in his father Phil’s colours.
Katiki Beach trotter Count Eyre went on to win a minor event for trainer Ricki Allen to keep up Otago’s domination of South Island trotting races over the weekend.
Darryn Simpson went into Friday night’s 2yr-old trot quietly confident of a good run from Have No Fear after the horse gave him a good feel in a recent Oamaru trial.
"It was a big thrill," the trainer said.
"He went real nice at Oamaru and after that we were thinking he might be pretty hard to beat," the trainer said.
The Oamaru trial had just three starters, and came after Have No Fear competed against just one other rival in his previous hit-out.
The Father Patrick trotter showed no signs of inexperience, producing a highly professional performance on Friday night.
Given the race was the horse’s first serious test on a race track, Have No Fear should derive a lot of improvement from his win.
"It was big effort, because it was his first start under lights and it was a big trip up there for him," Simpson said.
Have No Fear, who was bought for $32,000 at the 2019 national yearling sale by Dunedin owner Garry Clarke, has put himself in contention for the Harness Jewels with his victory.
The trotter has shown Simpson he has plenty of talent right from the get-go.
"He is a pretty nice horse, he has always shown a bit right from when we got him."
The Sires Stakes Championship at Addington will be his next big assignment.
Cracker Hill backed up his win in last month’s Hambletonian Classic in the Sires Stakes Trotters Prelude on Friday night.
The 3yr-old will now be set for an epic showdown and rematch from last season’s Harness Jewels with Bolt For Brilliance.