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Trotter sets track record at second start

By Duane Ranger

The future looks very rosy for the Donny Smith trained Sir Fahrenheit.

The Redcliffe horseman only received the well-bred six-year-old from New Zealand less than a month ago – and this week he broke the Albion Park 2,647 metre standing start track record for trotters.

The six-year-old Pegasus Spur gelding started from the 20m handicap and out-stayed his seven rivals by 4.9 metres in 1.59.8.

That shaved a tenth of a second off the previous mark set by Majestic Courtney on June 29 last year.

The was just his second start in Australia after finishing third on April 14, also at Albion Park.

“He’s a very promising trotter who’s adjusted very well to this warmer climate – it’s a bit colder in Christchurch,” Smith said.

“I don’t know what it is lately, but he’s just improved out of sight since he got here - he eats everything in sight.

“I’ve done a lot of gig work with him and he’s really taken to it, there wasn’t a mark on him when he came to us.

“He is in perfect condition and I think the owners (Tumby Park) are going to have some fun with him.

“I know he is from a very good trotting family in New Zealand, which took time to develop but all going well he will also get even better with age.”

Albion Park

RIO COBRA SULKY TROTTERS DISCRETIONARY HANDICAP 2647m

Sir Fahrenheit is the eighth and most successful (to date) of 10 foals left by the 1998 Sundon mare, Scuffle.

Scuffle, in turn was the youngest of six foals out of one of New Zealand's best trotting mares of the 1980s - the late Tussle.

That 1976 Tuft mare won 38 of her 111 starts, placed in 30 others and banked $562,175 – an enormous sum for that time. 

The remarkable mare, who passed away on November 1 2011 at age 31, was a multiple New Zealand recorder holder.

She won two Inter-Dominion heats in Australia, as well as the 1985 Rowe Cup, the 1986 Dominion Handicap, and the 1987 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Addington.

She then went on to win three races in her last season of racing as a 12-year-old.

Remarkably, Tussle didn’t win her first race until she was a six-year-old at her 12th start, something that was music to Smith’s ears.

“This fella is only six, and the way he feels he should get better with time,” Smith said.

“I haven’t trained many trotters in 20 years of training - It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just not many have come my way.

“Claudys Fancy (17 wins) was probably my best before this fella came along, and the only other trotter I’ve got is Springbank Eden for 16 wins.”

Sir Fahrenheit, who was known as Mr Fahrenheit in New Zealand, won eight of his 44 starts in his homeland, placing on nine other occasions for $60,191 in purses.

His career started with a debut fifth at Motukarara on March 26, 2017, and ended on a high in his last New Zealand start on March 1 at Addington Raceway.

That day he scored for his Templeton trainer Leonne Jones and driver Robbie Close by more than three lengths.

He then came to Australian shores 12 days later.

Tuesday’s record breaking time was also a career best – 2.1 seconds quicker than what Sir Fahrenheit had achieved in three years of racing in New Zealand.

“I’ll race him throughout the winter and see how he progresses from there,” Smith said.

“The race record is nice but his welfare and progress mean more to me, and if I do things right he will get better.”

Sir Fahrenheit was astutely driven by 16-year-old Angus Garrard, who believes Sir Fahrenheit is destined for the top grade.

“He’s a very nice trotter with a stack of ability, I think he’s certainly got the ability to win a race like the D.J. Alexander and could even be good enough to mix it with the top-line trotters interstate in time,” Garrard said.

“To run that mile rate for the long trip only second-up from New Zealand is really impressive - and he did it quite comfortably as well.

“Scarily he still feels like there is some improvement to come and in time he’ll certainly match it with the best trotters in Queensland at least.

“Good horses like that make life easy for me, I’m so thankful to all the owners and trainers like Scotty Whitton and Donny who give me the opportunities.”