By Duane Ranger
Reinsman Adam Richardson stole the limelight at Albion Park on Saturday night.
The 30-year-old equalled a personal milestone, when nailing three winners at the meeting. The previous day he also won twice at ‘The Creek’.
“It was a good night. I’ve driven three winners a couple of times before, but never four. I’ve been driving for 10 years now and still love it immensely. You can never get enough winners,” Richardson said.
Richardson’s hatrick came via the Cristina Monte trained Tulhurst Ace in race one; the Graham White trained Oyster Stride in the third event; and the Denis Smith trained Northern Muscle in race eight.
On Friday he won behind the Denis Smith trained Norahs Fling and the Bianca Hopper trained Wattlebank Flyer in races three and nine.
“I especially enjoyed the win behind the trotter (Northern Muscle). Denis had him spot on and he felt a treat. He was travelling really well throughout,” Richardson said of the 15-race winner.
But it was the impressive Monte trained Tulhurst Ace, that set the tone for the evening.
Starting from the widest second row draw, Tulhurst Ace, patiently sat back before Richardson made his move at the 600m.
“He kept on giving right to the line. The race played into our hands and the quick 28 first quarter set us up for the win. He was still going quite strongly right to the end.
“The horse has found his grade now and hopefully will keep improving as he goes through the classes. He’s a very nice horse, Richardson said.
Richardson, who is a Wagga Wagga native, works a team of four. When he left school he worked for the late Ken Jerrick in his hometown before setting out on a driving career in 2009.
"I used to work a bigger team, but cut back to concentrate on my freelance driving. Nights like Saturday make it worth while.
"You can't beat that winning feeling," he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Jack Butler trained and Brendan Barnes driven Rock With Sam, won the feature event - the $14,000 Silks Trackside C7 and faster pace.
The son of Rock N Roll Heaven, who started from the one draw, trailed Argyle Beach throughout and then gave his nine opponents the cold shoulder via the passing lane.
It was Rock With Sam's 14th career win in 68 starts. He's also placed 27 times and banked $142,709 in stakes.
The $26 outsider recorded his quickest mile rate of 1:54 flat in the 2,138m mobile.
Driver Barnes said the 5-year-old gelding was a smart horse who took advantage of the cushy draw to win by 1.4 metres.
“He did it quite easy because we didn’t expend too much energy in the trail. He’s come back a real nice horse this time in. We are yet to see his best. The Rock N Roll Heavens’ usually get better with age,” Barnes said.
Another talking point on Saturday was Oliver Winkle's slashing 1:51.5 mile rate victory in the seventh event for the C2 and faster pacers.
Trained by Errol Cain, the original driver was listed as Chris Geary, but Paul Diebert secured the seat on Saturday morning.
"Chris was in New Zealand trialing a few horses and got stranded by the bad weather. It was a great pick-up drive. The horse was really flying. He had to be good to beat the former Kiwi, Vasari," Diebert said.
It was Oliver Winkle's 14th win in 118 starts and he's now amassed $82,727 in purses.