Hands and heels: Griffith skips clear in trainers’ title

LUKE Griffith took a big step towards winning another country trainers’ premiership with his win at Tamworth yesterday.

The Scone trainer, who won his first NSW country trainers’ premiership last season when he notched his second Hunter and North West Racing Association premiership, recorded his 34th win of the HNWRA season with Pauline’s Passion in yesterday’s TD’s Paint Right F&M Benchmark 55 Handicap (1400m).

The bay mare won the fourth race of her 20-race career when she beat stablemate Sutton Luke by a length. Rod Ollerton’s Incisive was a nose away third.

Griffith is hopeful of notching a second country trainers’ title as well as a third HNWRA title at the end of next month.

“It would be nice to win it again,” he said.

“I’m in front again by about five after that,” he said of a country title which has him a handful of wins ahead of Lavington trainer Brett Cavanough.

He received a telephone call from Cavanough before yesterday’s Tamworth meeting joking about their premiership tussle.

“He said he’d had two winners at Wagga the other day too,” Griffith said.

“He’s a good bloke. We had a laugh about it.” 

Griffith then headed to Tamworth where Pauline’s Passion excelled with young coastal jockey Matt McGuren aboard.

“She had a beautiful run in transit,” McGuren told Griffith as he unsaddled.

“She’s a consistent little horse,” Griffith added.

“She got back at Cessnock the other day on a heavy track where none of the backmarkers were getting home.”

She finished fifth in that 1570m Class 3 but was better placed yesterday to beat stablemate Sutton Luke and give Griffith a six-win lead in the HNWRA trainers’ premiership.

He leads Greg Bennett, Sue Grills and Paul Perry by six wins with Paul Messara a further three wins adrift in fifth.