Success for Southland

Kirk Larsen.
Kirk Larsen.
A winner trained south of the Waitaki River was guaranteed at Show Day at Addington yesterday.

But those greedy Southlanders decided to grab three more race victories in the process.

The $30,000 South Of The Waitaki Pace went the way of the Kirk Larsen-trained Bettor Ops, who is forging a tidy record for the Branxholme horseman.

The son of Bettor’s Delight and former open-class mare Special Ops produced a smart fresh-up run for fourth at Ascot Park in early October before winning at Gore on October 16.

"He’s been going good so I thought he would be worth a shot," Larsen said.

"After two starts, he was probably going to be spot on for this."

Larsen found a nice spot in the running line, but Bettor Ops’ bid for glory was interrupted when Flashing On galloped in front of him with 600m to go.

"I was a bit worried when that galloped — I was trying to flush Clark [Barron, driver of Rakarolla] out to get going and then it galloped and there was a bit of chaos for a bit."

One race later, chaos at the start of the 2600m c4 and faster trot played out perfectly for Rory McIlwrick in the sulky behind Golden Gate.

McIlwrick threaded through the breaking horses from his spot on the unruly off a 20m handicap, and was one-back in the running line after 800m.

Just a few minutes later, McIlwrick and Golden Gate’s trainer, John Ryan, of Gore, were celebrating one of their biggest moments in racing as the mare sprinted well to score by  of a length over Hey Yo.

"That is probably the biggest kick I’ve got out of racing," Ryan said.

"Everything went our way — you need luck when you come up here and she’s had it today."

McIlwrick placed his seventh win behind the mare right at the top of his list as well.

"That’s right up there and especially for John. I’ve had the odd drive that hasn’t gone to plan and he’s stuck by me. So it’s just great to be able to return the favour a wee bit today.

"She can come off the back of them and really show a good sprint against that sort of quality of horse."

The Southland benefit continued when long shot Luciano, trained by Brendon McLellan at Wyndham,  scored at $91.10 in the Show Day Futurity before Gore trainer Matt Brinsdon’s emerging pacer Captain Dolmio wrapped up an all-Southland early quaddie.

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