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2006 NZ TROTTING OAKS - Won by Ella Powell

It's not often Craig Edmonds takes three to a meeting. He hadn't done so for 18 years prior to last Friday night when he loaded Harriet Hughes, Ella Powell and Earl of Mot onto the float and drove to Addington. The fact that all three horses were out of Eilish Mac is quite remarkable, and Edmonds walked away with almost the perfect result when Harriet Hughes notched up victory number five and Ella Powell took out the $35,000 Group 2 NZ Trotters Trust Trotting Oaks.

Ella Powell produced an incredible effort when coming from well back with a powerful finish to win the Oaks in record time, crediting Edmonds with his biggest career win in the process. "It's good to get a victory at any time, but to win two on a Premier Night - well, that takes beating," a noticeably hoarse Edmonds said afterwards. Ella's a lot heavier than Harriet, and takes a bit of work. She hasn't got a lot of speed, but sticks on good."

On lease from breeder Ivan McNicholl, Ella Powell is raced by Edmond's wife Donna, their daughter Jenna and Donna's sister Makere Tahurangi. Both McNicholl and Tahurangi were supposed to be there on the night, but fog in Wellington stranded their planes and they missed out on seeing the victory. Edmonds is seriously considering lining the Earl filly up in the NZ Trotting Derby this Friday night, so if she steps out again it's hoped that the rest of her fan-club will be on-course to witness it.

"I trained horses for Ivan for years when I used to be in Wellington," Edmonds said. "But then about nineteen years ago I took up a job with Air New Zealand, because the kids were little and I wanted something with a bit of security. We transferred to Christchurch, and then the chance to get a wee bit of land came up so we bought Steve Little's old place. One of the main reasons I train is to give Aimee opportunities."

Aimee is the couple's youngest of three daughters, at 19. She started driving last season and won one of her four appearances, and this term she's displayed maturity way beyond her years on the track and saluted the judge five more times. Known as 'babe' around the Edmonds family's Motukarara stable, Ella Powell is normally "my" horse says Aimee. As much as the teenager enjoyed watching the big occasion last Friday night, it wasn't hard to tell that she would have loved being out there herself even more.

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 29Mar06

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