Trip south proves worthwhile as Sail drives first winner

Henry Sail did not have to wait long to be congratulated on his first winning drive behind Ebury Street at Cromwell yesterday.

The North Canterbury reinsman made it win No 1 in trainer Tom Bamford’s colours when Ebury Street charged home from off the pace to win race 3.

Those watching on would have seen the reinsman give a salute towards the crowd after the winning post.

Sail was responding to the cheers from a delighted winning owner in Ronnie Dawe.

"Ronnie was standing by the fence and I heard him, so I was just giving it back to him," Sail said.

Dawe is the major owner behind trainer Tom Bamford, who is Sail’s flatmate.

Sail and Dawe headed south to Cromwell with Bamford’s two runners for yesterday’s meeting in Rakero Rocket and Ebury Street.

Though Ebury Street was the clear-cut second-stringer of the team, she brought handy form references to an even race.

"Ronnie and I came down with the two horses. Ebury Street is the stable’s galloping pacemaker and came down as a travel mate for Rakero Rocket," Sail said.

"But she had been going good races. She galloped in her last start but before then she was pushing Jimmy Arma over the line at Blenheim.

"And today was it was a weaker field."

Once Ebury Street swept by her rivals at the end of the long Cromwell straight, Sail realised a harness racing dream by driving his first winner.

"It is a huge thrill."

Sail works with a 1000-race winning driver each morning in David Butt before helping out leading trainers Greg and Nina Hope in the afternoons.

The junior driver was full of praise for all of those who had helped him in harness racing.

"I have learnt a lot off Davey, as well as Greg and Nina.

"Before them, I was with Benny Hill and I did four years with Kyle Cameron who taught me from basically knowing nothing.

"I can’t thank them enough for everything they have taught me."

Sail wore a black armband in his victory with Ebury Street, honouring the late Beverly Jackson who was a great supporter of the Bamford stable.

Bamford made it two from two at the Cromwell meeting when Rakero Rocket won race 6 for driver Carter Dalgety.

The pacer copped plenty of pressure when holding the early lead, but he shook that off when producing a dominant front-running victory.

 - Harness racing will again be held at Cromwell tomorrow. Print deadlines mean tomorrow’s fields are unable to be published in today’s paper.