Thrills and spills as improving pacer Simply Sam rockets home again for excited owners
Priscilla Edmunds is no stranger to racing good horses but even she was impressed by Simply Sam’s breath-taking finish to win at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
And the exciting night was capped for Edmunds, 79, when Lincoln Farms’ boss John Street later passed on to her the winning trophy.
Edmunds has just a 10% share in the partnership that races Simply Sam but she’s just the kind of small investor that Street delights in seeing enjoy the thrills of harness racing.
And Friday night’s event literally had all the thrills and spills for just as Simply Sam arrived 100 metres out with his now trademark late burst, the driver of leader Take The Miki fell out the back of his cart.
Steven Reid was lucky to escape injury when his seat collapsed - while fellow drivers Sailesh Abernethy and David Butcher manage to take evasive action, Ben Butcher on the tailed-off Enjoy Me didn’t see him lying on the track and ran right over the top of him, crashing heavily.
While ambulance and track staff attended to the stricken drivers, who escaped with bad bruising, Edmunds was celebrating with some of her fellow owners.
Edmunds, who most recently has had shares in three horses with Stonewall Stud, incuding 5% of eight-race winner Alta Wiseguy, said she had been round horses all her life.
Her father J C Edmunds owned 1967 Franklin Cup winner Southern Silver who scored from a 24 yard handicap for driver Peter Wolfenden and trainer Roy Purdon.
“I used to drive horses round Jim Smith’s training track and he won seven races for me with Tradeland, six in one season alone (1973).”
Edmunds said she loved how Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green let her walk Simply Sam round the stable block at Alexandra Park.
She was attracted to the horse after watching him run fourth on debut in January last year.
The horse’s progression since then hasn’t surprised Green who said last night that he kept getting better and better.
“He’s got to do a little more before we label him for Queensland Derby but that’s still on the radar.”
Driver Maurice McKendry was again taken by the horse’s speed, describing his win as even more impressive than at his previous start.
While it looked like Simply Sam was in trouble after showing no gate speed, getting back in the field, and still having only three horses behind him approaching the home turn, McKendry wasn’t panicking.
“It might have looked like he was going nowhere at the 500 but they were really ripping into it then.
“And when I pulled the plugs he came alive, he really swelled up. They were coming back to him turning in and it’s lucky there was a bit of a gap for us.
“He’s got a really good sprint on him and he’s getting better.”
Simply Sam gathered in the leaders so quickly at the 100 metre mark, he was two lengths clear at the post, clocking 2:43.4 in the squally conditions.
The American Ideal three-year-old, who cost just $25,000 as a yearling, is raced by Edmunds, John and Lynne Street, Robert and Donna Best, Kim Miller and the South Island’s Red And Blue Syndicate and Green Machine Racing Syndicate.
* Stewards adjourned an inquiry into the crash and the use of Reid’s whip in the run home. Take The Miki received a graze on his off hind leg and Enjoy Me had grazes on her off fore fetlock and near stifle. Trainer Steve Telfer advised the mare would be retired to stud.
More news in Harness
Unlucky Argyle deserves to be rewarded at Albion Park tonight - just no bad luck please
Ray looking forward to Lincoln Lou and fully oxygenated Frisco Bay at Cambridge on Friday
Why Lincoln Farms had to buy lot 68 - his older brother Lincoln Lou is ready to rock
At last, Argyle gets the pole on Saturday night and Mark reckons it’s his big chance to salute
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”
Race 5: Commander Lincoln
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”
Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”
Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”
Race 9: Frisco Bay
“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”
Mark Dux’s comments
Saturday night at Albion Park
Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time
“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”