Simsfield Hardtimes lowers season’s fastest time
Simsfield Hardtimes and driver Kirista Rabain got the new year off to a flying start at the National Equestrian Centre on Monday.
Aaron Sims’ harness pony posted the season’s fastest time of 1.01.2 competing in the Free for All division in a two-horse heat with mare Double Time.
The time also equalled the gelding record Simsfield Hardtimes shares with War Machine and was only a fifth of a second shy of the overall track of 1:01.1 held by retired mare Google Me.
“We had the rail first heat, the weather was good and he was feeling good warming up so they basically went for it,” Sims told The Royal Gazette.
“Kirista drove a very good race and pushed him from start to finish. He finished way out in front and when they called the time it was pretty exciting to hear.”
Driver Rabain said the ride felt faster than the actual time recorded.
“He felt so strong and gave more every time I asked,” she added. “Aaron has done some homework with him to make sure he’s performing his best, and that’s the best he’s felt all season.”
It is the second time Simsfield Hardtimes has tied the gelding record and flirted with the overall track record.
“He’s still got a bit to go for him to be in his best condition, so once we get there he may finally get the record,” Rabain added.
Simsfield Hardtimes also claimed victory over Double Time in the second and final heat between the two rivals and the time Sims put into training his pony ultimately paid off.
“We never got to race Boxing Day, so we went to the track throughout the week and gave him a good training trip and he felt really good,” he said.
“When we trained at the track he felt really good and Kirista was pretty excited, so we went for it and almost succeeded.”
The Mello family’s War Machine also recorded a clean sweep of victories in the remaining Free for All heats over rival stallion Special Gold and posted the day’s second fastest time of 1:02 flat with driver Philip Correia in the bike.
Mare Inwood’s Progress and gelding Rockeyed Optimist split the two heats contested in the Junior Free for All with drivers Kamali Tucker and Maurice Raynor.
Also impressing were mare Shady Maple and geldings Itsallboutme, Pokies Fly By and Special Tux that all got a leg out of their respective time bars.