The Brian Hill-trained Sunchita and Blair Orange winning the Tommy Behrns Handicap Trot at the Nelson Harness Racing Club's winter meeting at Richmond Park on Sunday. Right: Owner-trainer Brian Hill and his daughter Kristie and wife Cheryl with their star trotter Sunchita after winning the Tommy Behrns Handicap Trot. Photos: Simon Bloomberg.

Sunchita wins race in the rain at Richmond Park

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Waimea West owner-trainer Brian Hill had one of his most memorable days at Richmond Park when he completed a double with his talented trotter Sunchita at the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s winter meeting on Sunday.

Brian lined up Sunchita to emphatically win the Town and Country Vets Handicap Trot in a record time on the first day of the meeting on Friday and she backed up again on Sunday to take out the Tommy Behrns Handicap Trot.  Maddison Hill, who recorded his fourth career win from 78 starts on the first day of the meeting, was also bred by Brian and is owned by Brian’s daughter Kristie and John Donaldson and Chris Chalmers of Christchurch.

Sunchita has now won six races and just over $44,000 in stakes for Brian, who co-owns the six-year-old Sundon mare with Kristie. Although Sunchita has always shown plenty of speed, Kristie says the trotter is only just starting to fulfil her potential and they are now considering an Auckland campaign next month. “She has always had so much ability but often ruined her chances by breaking in the running,” Kristie says. “We have made a few adjustments to her gear and her farrier Brian Biggs has done a great job on her feet and that seems to have made all the difference.”

Kristie has enjoyed a successful association with Sunchita’s family, recording her first winning drive on Sunchita’s dam, Carmenchita, at Nelson in 1999. Carmenchita’s first foal Ruby N Diamonds won three races for the Hills while her fourth foal De Real Diva has won one race and there could be more to come as Brian and Kristie also have a two-year-old full-brother to Sunchita and a weanling half-sister by Great Success at their Waimea West property.

Richmond trainer Ian Thomas recorded two placings with his pacer Taittinger Rose finishing second on the first day and then third in the BMMT Mobile Pace on Sunday. Richmond’s Tom Fox and Brian Johnson’s Iwannabebig finished fourth in the Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Winter Cup Prelude on Friday and fifth in the Cup won by Fifth Edition on Sunday.

Fifth Edition started as favourite for the 3000 metre feature race after charging home for second in the Prelude on Friday. After leaving his run a little late in the Prelude, driver Dexter Dunn made no mistake in the Cup hitting the front with 2000 metre to run and winning by three and a quarter lengths.