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Hunter’s rare salute was to honour stable supporter and prominent breeder and owner Barbara Fahy, who died last Saturday.
Fahy and husband Brendan have been prominent and popular breeders and owners, racing a long list of prolific winners from stables across Southland.
Hunter, Kirk Larsen and Ellie Barron each wore black armbands in honour of Fahy, whose funeral was on Wednesday.
Hunter said it was a special moment to be able to salute while wearing the back armband in Fahy’s memory.
"The Fahys have been great supporters of ours, the Barrons and the Milnes," Hunter said.
"It was great to be able to win with the armband on for Barbara. She and Brendon were my very first owners more than 20 years ago.
"And I got my first winner with them with Only The One at a Tuapeka meeting at Forbury."
Fahy is survived by her husband and sons Brett, Nigel and Shaun Fahy, and daughter Rachael Sinclair.
Although the Fahys are not associated with Wattlebank Lass, Brett said his family got a big thrill out of watching Hunter win while honouring his late mother.
"It was great. I don’t think I have ever cheered so much for a horse that wasn’t ours."
Wattlebank Lass is raced by his Roxburgh breeders, Bill Bain and grandson Ryan Bain, in partnership with Hunter and his wife, Jo.
The Bain and Hunter combination went within centimetres of a second win on the Ascot Park card when Bunter’s Dream was beaten by two nose margins in an exciting finish to race 7.
Bunter’s Dream had to settle for third after the judge announced I’m Watching You, trained by Hunter’s brother, Hamish, as the winner.
The anouncement ended an agonising wait for junior driver Tom Nally, who notched his first win in the sulky with I’m Watching You.
"When I heard we had won it I was shaking, to be honest," Nally said.
"It was a huge thrill."
Nally built up his interest in harness racing educating young horses with his grandfather, breeder and owner Vin Nally.
"We used to break in horses and take them around to Hamish’s place."
"One day Hamish offered me a job and it has sort of gone from there."
Nally had a solid grounding driving at trials and workouts before beginning his career at the start of the new season.
"Hamish brought me along quietly. I had two years at the trials and workouts just building up."
Nally now has his sights on a career in harness racing, concentrating firstly on establishing himself as a reinsman.
The junior driver admits he is hooked on working with horses and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
"I bloody love it."