By Duane Ranger

Three horsemen shone at Alexandra Park last night – one a ‘Hall-of-Fame’ trainer; the second the North Island’s top junior driver; and the third captured his first winner since March 31, 2005.

Both Barry Purdon and his employee, junior driver Sean Grayling bagged three winners each on the nine race-card, while Peter Brown’s last night as a Pukekohe resident saw him nail his first race-night training victory in 11-and-a-half years.

Purdon and Grayling teamed up to win the first event with $2.30 favourite Loveonthelawn and then five races later repeated the dose with $4.70 third favourite, Laredo Torpedo.

Purdon’s number one stable driver Zac Butcher returned from Addington to drive $1.80 favourite Arden’s Choice to win the last event, while Grayling’s third winner came thanks to the Ray Darby trained $23.60 ninth favourite Bro Fawkes S in race five.

All three of Grayling’s wins came via the passing lane. He now sits second on the national junior driving premiership with eight wins – nine behind Mosgiel’s Rory McIlwrick.

David Butcher brings Lockyer back to scale after a great win in the Auckland Co-op Taxis Mobile Pace.
David Butcher brings Lockyer back to scale after a great win in the Auckland Co-op Taxis Mobile Pace.

But it was Brown who stole the limelight in race four with a 5-year-old pacer named Lockyer bred and owned by his wife, Roslyn

David Butcher sat parked early before finding the lead down the back straight the first time with the brown gelding. They loomed up in the home straight and were even headed at the 150m, but fought back strongly to win.

It was the son of Shadow Play and OK Saieda’s first win in four starts. He has placed twice as well and went into last night’s 2200m mobile a $4.80 third favourite.

“It’s a nice way to leave Pukekohe after it has been home for the last 28 years. The horse’s win was very timely. We will be shifting to Cambridge tomorrow (Saturday). It’s time for a change.

“It was a win we have been waiting a wee while for because when he was one he took a long time to recover from being gelded. That set him back a couple of a seasons and then he got a virus last year,” Brown said.

However the Franklin businessman was quick to point out that he did train a winner in Dave and Clare McGowan’s name while he was away with his wife on their 25th anniversary.

“Now A Christian won for us at Cambridge Raceway in August 2010. It’s not in our name but I remember it clearly. Wow I’ve been married for more than 30 years now. That was six years ago,” 52-year-old Brown said.

Brown specialises in the flooring, carpet and vinyl trade and has just the one horse in work.

“I’m just pleased to see that he has reached his full potential after his setbacks. It’s now a matter of building his confidence and letting him gain valuable race-day experience.

“My daughter Sarah has done a bit of work with him as well so it was a family victory. We have four children and two of them are involved in the industry,” Brown said.

Lockyer was named by Brown’s wife after the legendary Queensland and Australian rugby league star.

“I’m a huge New South Wales fan and Ros named him to annoy me I’m sure,” he joked.

Lockyer qualified 4.1 seconds behind the required time at Pukekohe in June last year. He has had 10 workouts/trials and four tote races to ready him for last night’s break-through win.

Lockyer won the $8,000 Auckland Co-Op Taxis Up To R49 Maiden Pace by a head, pacing the 2200m mobile in 2:46.2 (mile rate 2:01.6) and home in 56.9 and 27.6.

“It’s all about getting racing into him now. Hopefully he will line up in the supporting races over the Auckland Cup Carnival,” Brown said.

(As seen on the Harness Racing New Zealand Website).