Manning Makes NZ Cup History

History has been made in racing twice in a week - but this time, West Otago has something to do with it.

Victorian trainer-driver Kerryn Manning was the one leaving a new mark on the annals of racing this week, becoming the first female driver to win the New Zealand Trotting Cup with Arden Rooney, just seven days after Michelle Payne's ground-breaking Melbourne Cup on Prince Of Penzance.

Manning will leave some of her race rivals yesterday wondering what might have been, as she got away with a very leisurely first 1600m by the modern-day standards of the New Zealand Cup.

Manning has won more than 3500 races in Australia, but this win - following up from Arden Rooney's Hunter Cup win earlier this year - means a little bit extra, especially as she created history as the first female driver to win New Zealand's biggest harness race.

Arden Rooney had his origins at the property of Noreen Stiven and her son, John, on the outskirts of Tapanui.

Noreen died in 2012, but her contribution will forever be remembered as the breeder of Arden Rooney.

John Stiven said the son of Bettor's Delight had something about him from a young age, even if the buyers failed to notice his potential at the 2012 yearling sales in Christchurch.

''He was always gorgeous but he had a bit of character,'' Stiven said.

''His full brother made $70,000 the year before and this guy came out of the ring at $19,000 with no bids.''

Stiven thanked Canterbury horseman Grant Payne and his wife, Jan, who bought into the horse after no interest at the sales.

''Grant took up half a share with Mum and it's been an unbelievable story since. She got to know he was a good horse [before she died].''

Merv and Meg Butterworth joined the estate of Noreen Stiven in the ownership before Arden Rooney's second in the 2012 Sires' Stakes final, and took over full ownership after the final.

Arden Rooney had popped up on the radar after his impressive Kaikoura Cup win, where he broke at the start before looping the field and proving too tough.

There were no such problems yesterday, as Manning was able to head straight to the lead.

Manning was surprised to see the other drivers sitting back and waiting for something else to tow them in to the race.

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