You kind of knew Jay Abernethy was in for a big couple of days on the grass tracks last week when he trained and drove Meander In Pegasus to win the first of nine races at Thursday’s Hawera Harness Racing Club’s meeting.
He also drove Ard to victory for Doug Gale in race four. Then three days later both horses also won at the Wanganui Trotting Club’s meeting.
In fact Meander In Pegasus and Ard were one of six winners for the Papakura horseman at Wanganui – career best for the talented 31-year-old.
‘I’ve driven four winners at a meeting a few times but this is by far my best performance at a meeting yet. I had eight drives so to win six of them and finish second by half a head in another, is very satisfying. It’s still sinking in really,” Abernethy said.
He paid a tribute to friends and fellow trainers Adrienne Matthews and particularly Doug Gale for keeping the faith in his driving abilities.
“They have both been very loyal and when I can’t drive they put my brother on. I had my first drive for Doug when I was a junior and that must be about a decade ago now.
“I’ve driven about 100 winners for him but a lot more losers. I’m grateful for his loyalty and pleased for him as well. He had two winners at Hawera and then another four at Wanganui including Mach Cruiser in the Cup. That was a great training feat,” Abernethy said.
In fact it was a bit of an ‘Abernethy’ benefit on both days of the Central Districts meetings.
As well as Jay driving two winners at Hawera, younger brother Sailesh also won behind the Gale trained Belle Arising and the Adrienne Matthews trained Shestherealdeal.
They had a connection to every winner at Wanganui except the Scott Dickson trained and Andre Poutama(j) driven Sambuca Joe in the last race.
Here’s how The Wanganui results panned out for the Abernethys:
RACE 1: Sailesh drives Macy Star to victory for trainer David Cambie.
RACE 2: Jay drives Heart’s Delight to win for Matthews.
RACE 3: Jay drives Franco Lennon to win for trainer Gale.
RACE 4: The Jay Abernethy trained and driven Meander In Pegasus makes it two wins in three days. RACE 5: Abernethy’s Irish import and employee – Sean Kane drives $54.70 shot Aces N Eights to win his first race since arriving back in New Zealand. That’s the Irishman’s second win in NZ now and he’s here for another summer.
RACE 6: Jay drives Ard to win for trainer, Gale.
RACE 7: Jay drives Brainstormer to victory for trainer, Gale.
RACE 8: Jay wins the 2014 Wanganui Cup with the Gale trained fourth favourite Mach Cruiser.
Abernethy has now driven 360 winners and won $2.74 million in stakes since first sitting in the sulky in 2002. He’s also had 103 training victories since 2007.
“I’d rate this right up there with winning the 2006 Australasian Junior Driving Championships. But I still rate it a team effort and none of this would have happened had I not had good staff to support me,” Abernethy said.