By Duane Ranger
Monday’s Hawera Cup winner, Imajollywally, will progress on to the North Island Country Cups Final at Cambridge Raceway on ANZAC Day.
The 7-year-old Armbro Operative gelding has come through his two-length victory over the Series top qualifier, Fleeting Grin, well – and the $25,000 Final is now his immediate goal.
“That’s my first Country Cups win since Ideal Success won five Cups in a season a couple of years ago. At the moment Imajollywally is probably the stable star.
“He’s the loveliest pacer to drive and has quite high speed for an older horse. He jogged it yesterday, which was a surprise as the track was pretty testing,” Donnelly said.
The Cambridge trainer and driver settled Imajollywally fifth along the markers from their 20m handicap in Monday’s $12,000 South Taranaki Club Hawera Cup for the R60 and faster pacers.
They then tracked Everything and Nicky Chilcott down the back straight before pouncing out of the one-one at the top of the straight to run away and win in 4:37.
The Parawai Cup (Thames) runner-up recorded a 2:21.4 mile rate for the 3150m stand. Imajollywally also came home in 61.6 and 29.7 on the trying surface.
He has now won 11 of his 83 starts and placed in 14 others ($75,786) for his owner/breeder C. Good.
“Wally pulled up great and I’m looking forward to the Country Cups Final on our home track. I’m also hoping Eldolar will make the field,” said Donnelly.
Eldolar finished with five points in the Series, but notched up his fifth career win (all this season) at the Hawera meeting on Saturday.
Junior reinsman Mark Johnson drove Eldolar to a head victory over Everything (Nicky Chilcott) for trainer Donnelly in the $9,000 Egmont Tyre Service R59 to R80 pace.
Meanwhile, Saturday night’s Easter Cup place-getter ($4.50) and 2014 Victory Derby winner – Maxim – should be tough to beat in the 2017 North Island Country Cups Final.
The Brent Mangos trained and driven 6-year-old only had two starts in the 13-race Country Cups Final Series and won them both.
They were the Wanganui Grass Cup on February 12 and the Franklin Country Cup at Alexandra Park 10 days later. Maxim was the only pacer to win two North Island Country Cups this season.
The classy Bettor’s Delight gelding got 10 points for each of those wins, and finished fourth highest qualifier in the ‘summer series’ behind Fleeting Grin 39, Everything 36, and Imajollywally 22.
North Island Country Cup winners this season were:
December 28: Te Awamutu Grass Cup – The John & Josh Dickie trained Joanednobettor (Josh Dickie).
January 15: Rotorua Grass Cup – The Michelle Wallis & Bernie Hackett trained Full Speed Ahead (Todd Macfarlane).
January 21: Parawai Grass Cup – The Steve Telfer & Chris Garlick trained Sir Richie (Maurice McKendry).
January 27: Wellington Grass Cup – The Andrew Stuart trained Pay Me Visa (Kyle Marshall).
January 29: Otaki Grass Cup – The Nicky Chilcott trained and driven Everything.
February 5: Tauranga Grass Cup – The Chris Webber trained Fleeting Grin (Peter Ferguson).
February 9: The Manawatu Cup – The Mike Berger trained Lusty Mac (Philip Butcher).
February 12: Wanganui Grass Cup – The Brent Mangos trained and driven Maxim.
February 24: The Franklin Country Cup (Alexandra Park) – The Brent Mangos trained and driven Maxim.
March 2: Taranaki Grass Cup – The Tony Herlihy (MNZM) trained Walkinshaw (Scott Phelan).
March 5: Stratford Grass Cup – The Nicky Chilcott trained and driven Everything.
March 31: Palmerston North Gold Cup – The Mike Berger trained Bettor Spirits (Philip Butcher).
April 17: Hawera Grass Cup – The Arna Donnelly trained and driven Imajollywally.
Tuesday April 25 (ANZAC Day): The 2017 North Island Country Cups Final worth $25,000 at Cambridge Raceway.
The top qualifiers for the North Island Country Cups Final (with points) are:
Fleeting Grin 39, Everything 36, Imajollywally 22, Maxim 20, Full Speed Ahead 18, Bettor Spirits 15, Sir Richie 15, Pay Me Visa 14, Beyond the Silence 10, Joanednobettor 10, Lusty Mac 10, Mo Casino 10, Walkinshaw 10, Extra Guinness 8, Kenrick, Eldolar 5, Major Classic 4, Dikerry 3, Hudy Haxwell 3, The Tracker 3.
Approved By Dean Baring www.harnessbred.com
Driving The Future Of Harness Racing