Day At The Track

'Freebie' wins again - after 3 1/2 years

03:00 PM 13 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Reece Moore with the aptly-named Thelonghaul,Harness racing
Reece Moore with the aptly-named Thelonghaul

Enthusiastic Mildura harness racing trainer Reece Moore knew that the odds were stacked against him when he took on a veteran pacer around six months ago.

Thelonghaul was 10 years old, he was out of work and hadn't had a racestart for more than two-and-a-half years - but Moore did get Thelonghaul for free!

"There wasn't too much in his favor," Moore admits.

"But he was by a sire I have a lot of time for in Blissfull Hall and he wasn't costing me one cent," he said.

It took Moore another three or four months to jog up the aptly-named pacer, before taking him to the trials.

And just 20 days shy of being off the scene for three years, Moore finally got his "gift" horse to a race meeting at Mildura.

Thelonghaul (Blissfull Hall-Everlong (Safely Kept) finished eighth beaten 46 metres - but the next week improved enormously to run third.

Eleven starts after his return to racing - and three and a half years since his previous win in Adelaide - Thelonghaul rewarded Moore for his faith with a victory at Boort last Monday afternoon.

"I thought a few of his recent runs were good, particularly his previous start when he ran fourth at Mildura. He got held up and wasn't beaten far," Moore said.

Talented Ballarat reinsman James Herbertson worked to the lead in the early stages at Boort and then rated the old timer to perfection. They scored easily by 11 metres.


James Herbertson scored a comfortable win on giveaway gelding Thelonghaul at Boort – the pacer’s first victory in more than three years

Moore said he initially became keen on the horse after being told the owners only wanted a couple of hundred dollars.

"Then I later found out they were giving him away for free. I rang up and one of the owners was overseas and hadn't signed the transfer papers. So, I sort of forgot about it and then they rang four or five months later to say they had all the paperwork complete," he said.

"I was full up then and really didn't want to take the horse, but thankfully I did!"

Moore was born in Kalgoorlie, but was living on Queensland's Gold Coast when he became interested in harness racing.

"I think I was sitting in a pub having a 'parmie' watching the trots on television. I thought being a race driver would be a good job because they travel about and get paid!" he said.

"Soon afterwards I found out that Dean Braun was wanting a stablehand at his stables down near Geelong.

"Despite never ever having even put a bridle on a horse I applied. So I then drove all the way down by myself to Victoria. I have no idea why Dean took me on because I was certainly a work in progress!"

Moore said after obtaining his driver's licence, he won at his first attempt with a Braun-trained horse at Terang.

"Dean was great. He inspired me and gave me good advice, including you can never stop learning in this sport!"

Moore has certainly taken that on board and is always keen to listen and learn - and Thelonghaul provided due reward for his perseverance and patience.

"It was the first time I'd raced at Boort. I seem to have a bit of luck when I travel, but I only nominate if the weather is okay and if I know I can be competitive," he said.

"I'm really enjoying it at the moment and I'm keen to get more of the older-type horses and rejuvenate them.

"I take them down to the river near Mildura most nights for a half-hour swim and a walk around. It's a change of routine and I think it's good for them mentally."

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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