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Late Surge Propels Coville To Challenge Win


Published: January 15, 2012 11:08 pm ET

Last Comment: January 17, 2012 11:47 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Up-and-coming reinsmen Todd Budd and Cody Henry gave veteran driver Darrell Coville a run for his money in this year’s Rookie Vs. Champ Driver Challenge during a frigid -18 degree Sunday evening at Rideau Carleton Raceway, but a late surge awarded Coville the challenge title and trophy.

The challenge pitted the pair of rookie drivers up against the 57-year-old Coville over the course of a full 15-race card in a battle for the most points based on placings. Originally, the showdown was to take place between Coville and 2011 Coville Cup Senior Division winner Budd, however, this year the NCRHHA also afforded the Junior Division winner Henry the opportunity to compete in the challenge. Both Budd and Henry had won three races apiece to capture their respective Coville Cup divisions last August before advancing to Sunday’s challenge.

While 21-year-old Henry and 25-year-old Budd earned one victory each during the Rookie Vs. Champ Challenge, Coville secured this year’s title with three wins.

Henry kicked off the card with a victory aboard the Ben Paquette-trained Pans Dire Aurevoir to take the early lead in the point standings. The reinsman, who hails from the well-known Ontario harness racing Henry clan, split horses down the stretch to score the 2:00.1 one and three-quarter length triumph with the popular three-year-old gelding, who broke his maiden for his new connections while making his first start since early August 2011.

Coville then countered with the Gary McDonald-conditioned Lindys Dynasty, who rallied three-wide around the final turn off cover for a 17-1 upset in the second race. The six-year-old trotter won by a length and a half in 2:04.3.

Henry and Coville battled back and forth for the lead while picking up points for top five finishes early on.

The trailing Budd, son of noted trainer Bill Budd, later got into the action with the streaking Arch Villain, who battled with the early leader before kicking away down the stretch for the three length tally in 1:58.1 in the seventh race. The favoured five-year-old gelding notched his fourth win in a row for trainer John MacMillan.

By the midway point, Henry held the lead with 107 points while Budd tied up the competition with Coville in second, each sporting 80 points apiece.

Coville, who managed to avoid injury when his eighth race mount lost his footing behind the gate and pulled up, pushed ahead in the standings with another victory in the 11th race behind the lightly raced five-year-old trotter Mcsween. The Robert Chamberland trainee swept to command after the opening quarter and turned back the first over attacker to win in 2:02.2 by one and a quarter lengths.

Coville sealed the deal with one more triumph in the finale aboard the Michael Armstrong-conditioned EC Speedy Jet. The grey eight-year-old gelding zipped up the pylons down the stretch to score the mild 9-1 upset in 2:00.2 by two lengths.

Budd managed to edge ahead of Henry for runner-up honours during the final half of the program.

To view results from Sunday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Sunday Results - Rideau Carleton Raceway.

January 17, 2012 - 11:47 amDarrell still showing the

Ted Decker SAID...

Darrell still showing the youngsters the way. Can drive a horse with the best of them.

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