Eyre I Come gives owner Grant Hatton first Group One

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Eyre I Come furthered his rise among the top trotters in New Zealand and provided co-owner Grant Hatton with a notable first in the $80,000 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship at Addington on Friday, March 7.

“It was great for Grant (Hatton) and Merv and Meg Butterworth (co-owners), ¬†especially Grant, as it was his first Group One and with a horse he always believed in,” said trainer Mark Jones.

Eyre I Come, stepped up for a Group One win in the $80,000 Fred Shaw Memorial NZ Trotting Championship at Addington on Friday, April 7, 2017.

It was a challenging night of mixed emotions for the Overport Lodge trainer.

He reined stablemate Master Lavros to a game third.

He felt he was on the winner at the 700m but 100 metres later the giant trotter faltered for a few strides then picked himself up again and tried to give nothing away.

Master Lavros finished the race to the bitter end but Mark was soon aware the 2014 Trotting Championship winner had run his last race .

Meanwhile, Eyre I Come’s regular driver Blair Orange produced another gem behind the capable but also injury-plagued stablemate.

After showing gate speed from a favourable alley, Blair took a trail behind early leader Daryl Boko, then was travelling sweetly three back when Master Lavros rolled to the top with 1700m left.

Blair found a winning run one off in the run home to wear down Wilma’s Mate in the shadows of the post and in a NZ record run of 3:12.6 for the mobile 2600m.

Grant Hatton.

The time was 0.2 of a second inside the previous best set by Springbank Sam at Omakau in 2016, with Master Lavros being the second previous holder of the record at 3:13.1.

Mark Jones wasn’t surprised by the record.

“I don’t read anything into times now with the crazy times everything runs,” he said.

Mark always felt Eyre I Come was potentially headed for the top, but there have been a few speed bumps along the way.

“I thought on his Cup day win a few years ago he was a Group One winner but soundness has been his issue,” Mark said.

“He’s still day-to-day but will head back to Auckland for the Rowe Cup,” Mark said.

Eyre I Come, developed by North Canterbury trainer Dave Gaffaney and after four starts, was recommended by Mark to Melbourne’s Merv and Meg Butterworth, and other long time stable client Grant Hatton, as a potential good long-term trot prospect.

He looked destined for the top when winning the intermediate trot at the 2014 NZ Cup meeting but then went winless for just over a year.

Meg and Merv Butterworth.

He’s come back super this term after a good layoff.

The Trotting Championship win lifted his seasonal earnings to $82,442 from six wins in 11 starts.

His first big scalp came over Everybody Knows and Master Lavros in the Group Three $23,000 Teltrac Communications Ltd Summer Trotting Free-For-All at Addington on February 17.

His career record now stands at 38 starts for 10 wins and seven placings for $143,224.

A 6YO Majestic Son gelding, Eyre I Come is the first live foal from Landoras Special, a daughter of former Dominion Handicap trot winners in Sundon and Landora’s Pride.

Springbank Eden, the second foal from Landoras Special, has also won 10 races but from 50 starts for $69,427.

Mark purchased Ohoka Ruler, a brother to Eyre I Come, for $25,000 at this year’s NZ Premier Yearling Sales.

Meanwhile, Mr Hatton’s top pacer Saveapatrol suffered a slight setback on his comeback trail at the Addington trials on March 28 when he lost a shoe.

He subsequently had a few easy days and wasn’t forward enough to take his place in the feature pacing free-for-all at Addington.

By Jeff Scott