Day At The Track

A good bet

09:22 AM 28 Mar 2017 NZDT
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Callenberg at Motukarara last month.jpg
Robert Dunn colours

A small place bet on a horse at a low-key country meeting in the North Island led Ashburton owners, Stuart and Liz Leadley to buying boom two-year-old pacer, Alta Maestro.

The Ashburton dairy farmers are dabbling more and more into the world of harness racing but haven’t had the best of luck with injuries curtailing many of their promising horses. 

Owners, or part owners, in Alta Las Vegas and the very talented Franco Christiano, the Leadley’s weren’t looking to buy at the Yearling Sales when Alta Maestro was set down for sale. 

Robert Dunn had rung me and said he’d spotted a colt, who was simply stunning,” Leadley said.

“He also said he was a brother to Alta Las Vegas, but I said to him that we weren’t going to be buying that year and that was that.

“On the Sunday before the sale there was a race meeting in the North Island a horse called Alta Teresa was racing and I said to Liz that I was going to have a bet on the horse and if we collected off it that we would buy the colt. 

“It ran third and I made a very small profit, but we rang Robert that night and said we would buy him.”

The move has turned out to be one of the most fortuitous ones the Leadley’s have made since getting into horse ownership with Alta Maestro making an immediate impact when stepping out onto the track. 

The Robert Dunn trained pacer has now won three of his four career starts and last Thursday night at Cambridge set a New Zealand record for a two-year-old pacer over 1700 metres when smashing his rivals by four and a half lengths. 

The showy colt paced the distance in 1:59.7 and the Leadley’s were on hand to witness it. 

“He was very impressive, it was great to be able to be there to watch him go.

“Robert speaks very highly of the horse, he told me one day he thinks he might just be the brainiest horse he’s ever trained to which I said to Liz must mean we own Mr Ed. 

“Hopefully this is just the start of it for him though.”

In winning, Alta Maestro qualified himself for the $150,000 Sires’ Stakes Final in May at Alexandra Park in Auckland. 

The Leadley’s rarely miss one of their horses racing and Stuart said they loved the being able to go and enjoy watching their horses race. 

“That’s our life at the moment, following race horse and rugby. Probably in the wrong order though.”

Alta Maestro winning at Cambridge

Matt Markham

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