By Michael Guerin
Even from the master this was something special.
Because while Canterbury trainer Paul Nairn has had more lucrative victories than Habibti Ivy’s fighting effort in the $100,000 Anzac Cup at Alexandra Park tonight, few have been more satisfying.
The former high class three-year-old was the forgotten horse of New Zealand trotting just two months ago, after issues kept her away from the track for over 18 months.
But not only has she returned unbeaten in five starts, she is now a group one winner after just 14 starts, with the promise of so much more to come.
“That was pretty special, to win a group one at her first real attempt at open class,” said the quietly spoken Nairn.
“I knew she was good but I thought she might be a little bit below her best tonight so that was brave. And she has had those problems in the past so it is special to see her reach her potential.”
Nairn has made a career out of the unusual, his old school and sometimes radical methods consistently turning out open class trotters from remarkably small numbers.
Habibti Ivy is the latest and with her gate speed and the beautiful long stride so common in the stock of her champion sire Love You, she is ready to make up for lost time.
Love You’s triumph for the night was complete as he also sired Anzac Cup runner-up Lemond and three-year-old Sires’ Stakes winner Enghien.
The trotters went a long way to upstaging champion pacer Lazarus, who had little more than a jog in the park to beat stablemates Waikiki Beach and Golden Goddess in the Taylor Mile.
He worked to the front quickly and scooted his last 800m in 54.5 seconds to win his penultimate race for the season, the last coming in next Friday’s Messenger Pace.
And earlier his juvenile filly stablemate Elle Mac suggested she is the most advanced of her crop coming from near last to smash her opponents in the $110,000 Caduceus Club Classic.
Approved By Dean Baring www.harnessbred.com
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