Early wedding present for couple

Johnny Key provided Cambridge couple Jane Hunt and Cyrille Leveque with an early wedding present when clearing maiden ranks at Pukekohe today.

Named after the Prime Minister, Johnny Key had hinted a win was close at hand when finishing third at Rotorua a fortnight ago and today he produced the goods when winning the Precinct Realty Maiden by a neck from Amanood Lad.

It was Johnny Key’s ninth raceday start and he could not have picked a more appropriate time to break through for a win.

Hunt, who trains Johnny Key, and Leveque, the successful rider, will be married on Sunday and a few members of the wedding group were on hand for today’s win.

“Cyrille’s Mum and sister have come over from France for the wedding and they were at the races,” said Hunt. “They had never seen Cyrille win a race and they were so excited. Cyrille’s mum started crying. She was that happy.”

Also on hand at Pukekohe was Hunt’s stepfather Andrew Burton, who owns Johnny Key and is part of the syndicate which races the son of Lucky Unicorn.

The win was Hunt’s third training success. Her previous two wins as a trainer had come with Khaption and both times Leveque was the rider. Khaption credited Hunt with her first win when scoring at Te Rapa on July 7, 2010 and the other win was a first-equal in a steeplechase at Hastings on May 26 last year.

Hunt is also an amateur rider and she has experienced a win in that role. She was successful on Toogoodtobetrue at Ellerslie in September 2008.

Because of the upcoming amateur riders events and the jumps season, the couple are putting on hold their honeymoon.

“We’ll wait until the end of the year,” said Hunt. “We’ll be busy enough after the wedding with horses to break-in and pre-train.”