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Amaretto Sun gets Dominion


Senior trainer Ken Ford rated it better than winning a New Zealand Cup after grand-daughter Sheree Tomlinson saluted with family horse Amaretto Sun in the Gr. 1 $300,000 Haras Des Trotteurs Dominion Handicap at Addington on Friday.

Amaretto Sun stormed through from three back on the markers for junior driver Tomlinson to win at bolters odds of 90-to-one.

Sheree Tomlinson, aged 19, in only her second season as a junior reinswoman, notched her first Group 1 win and in doing so created history by becoming the first female to win the time-honoured trot feature, first run in 1911.

“He felt good in the running and has so much speed. It felt amazing,” Tomlinson said.

“It’s very special and very emotional,” she said.

Tomlinson gained her first win with another trained by her grand-father in Little Mo at Oamaru on January 21 last year.

After moving to Southland to develop her driving career, Tomlinson drove 24 wins last year, finishing third on the junior premiership, and is second to Matt Anderson this year.

It was an emotional Dominion moment for the Ford family, who had to withdraw stablemate and former age group star Marcoola from the Dominion after he was found to have bled in Tuesday’s NZ Trotting Free-For-All and won’t race again this season.

Ford, who moved from Kaikoura to West Melton in 1984 and has rarely been without a useful winner since, bred and races Amaretto Sun, last year’s Ordeal Cup winner, with wife Diane.

“He went no good in last year’s Dominion and we found he had a bone chip.

“He had an operation and then had to have it done again, so we lost a lot of time with him,” Ford said.

Amaretto Sun was the runner-up in the Ordeal Cup, second-up this spring, but his other efforts had been mixed, hence the boilover odds.

Ford first became interested with the straight-out trotters through his grand-father Wattie Ford, who trained trotters at South Bay at Kaikoura and had that won a few races called Happy Sandy.

“So many people have helped me, like the Shinn brothers, Ian and Malcolm, Jim Dalgety, Noel Borlase and Peter Smith,” he said.

“Peter Smith gave me Kahlum, the mother of Lyell Creek, before we knew how good he was.”

Lyell Creek (t, 1:52.4, US), a former three-time Dominion Handicap winner and winner of 56 races for $2.9 million, is a half-brother to Laurel Creek, the unraced Wingspread dam of Amaretto Sun.

“We had a Love You colt out of Laurelson, a sister to Amaretto Sun (Sundon-Laurel Creek), born the other day too,” Ford said.

Amaretto Sun’s sire Sundon won the Dominion in 1990.

It was a quinella of Kaikoura connections in this year’s Dominion, with runner-up The Foot Tapper, who led early, then trailed, co-bred and co-owned by Kaikoura’s Mark Smith.

Monty Python, with a good run the outer, finished on for third, with second favourite Bordeaux, who improved three wide from the back from the 1300m and looked likely striding to the lead early in the run home, being swamped to run fourth.

Favourite Great Things Happen worked to the front with Gavin Smith trying to run the sprint out of most down the back, however Tuesday’s winner had no answer in the run home, tiring to run 11th.


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