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  • Writer's pictureBrian Cross

Honest mares make it a double at Addington

Updated: May 18, 2022

It was a rare Tuesday race meeting at Addington this week and Ripple Creek well and truly left its mark. Lining up the stable’s in-form mares Rocknroll Diva and Kusanova, trainer Trent Yesberg came away celebrating two convincing wins. Both horses superbly driven, Petra and Nova showed superior gate speed to lead then trail, and it was only different courses down the home straight that set their wins apart.

For the owners of Rocknroll Diva, patience was rewarded at last with a thoroughly deserved win in the Garrards Mares Mobile for junior drivers. The first foal of the Christian Cullen mare Rock Diva and bred by the Yesbergs, Rocknroll Diva is raced in partnership with Melbourne Storm and Kiwi league halfback Brandon Smith, his father Shane and brother Dylan, as well as former top Wellington sporting administrator Ian McDonald.

Now 88, Ian is thoroughly enjoying his involvement from his living room on the Kapiti Coast. “My harness racing interests go back to the 1950’s when I became a member of the Stratford Trotting Club,“ Ian tells us, before being drawn into the background to his QSM for services to sport. “I was club captain of Hataitai Swimming Club (Wellington) for 49 years, where the emphasis was solely on learn to swim.” Ian also travelled the world teaching rugby coaching to the coaches in such places as Argentina, Chile and Singapore.

The Smith family got involved with Ripple Creek through social media when looking for a harness racing interest between footy seasons. That didn’t quite work out, their first horse sidelined with injury and Rocknroll Diva herself having a summer setback. Her current campaign has been worth the wait however, with a string of placings leading up to her deserved win.

“She’s a gutsy and honest mare’” said Trent after the race. “Last week at Rangiora she led from an inside draw and got run down. She seems better with cover, and after her fast beginning tonight Mark Hurrell’s positioning in the trail was just the ticket.”

Rocknroll Diva has had a tendency to run out the bends. Mark took advantage of that by coming outside the leader just as the passing lane beckoned. It was a well-judged drive by an inform junior looking forward to competing in the open ranks.

Two races later last start winner Kusanova lined up in the TK Plastering 'Young At Heart' Mobile pace for older horses. Gavin Smith timed her start from the nine draw to perfection, crossing them all to end up trailing the leader. In a race with no pace on Kusanova used the passing lane to perfection to run away for back-to-back wins and give the team a memorable double on the night.

“Hats off to Addington and HRNZ for scheduling these midweek meetings at this time of year,” said Trent. “It’s great to have these races where horses can compete on their merits in their grade.”


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