Day At The Track

All is shipshape for Raymond

04:00 PM 08 Aug 2019 NZST
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Raymond Woods.Harness racing
Raymond Woods (left) with his son Jason and driver Michael Bellman after Arggghhh’s win at Warragul
Matt Walker Photography

When enthusiastic harness racing hobby trainer Raymond Woods was faced with naming a young pacer, he didn't have to worry too much.

Woods, who lives at picturesque Yering in the Yarra Ranges, 40 kms north-east of Melbourne CBD, was given the perfect answer, thanks to his son Jason, and granddaughters Emily and Yuki.

"They'd been watching a thoroughbred race in America on YouTube and were quite taken by the way a legendary race-caller was emphasizing the name of a galloper called 'Arggghhh'," Raymond said.

"So we decided to submit it in the list of our preferred names, not thinking we had any chance, and to our surprise we ended up with it," he said.

And while the deeds of the American equine Arggghhh are difficult to research, his namesake in Victoria in the form of three-year-old pacing gelding is going along nicely.

At his latest run at Warragul on Monday afternoon, Arggghhh (Rock N Roll Heaven-Kateeshar (Grinfromeartoear) was most impressive in taking out the Warragul Downtowner Pace for competent freelance reinsman Michael Bellman.

The pacer raced wide early before slotting in outside the leader. Arggghhh enjoyed the tempo hotting up over the last half, with splits of 27.7 and 28.8, and pulled away to score convincingly by nearly 12 metres in a handy 1.56-9.

"He's a nice little horse. We've made a few gear changes along the way and they're going to have a heap of fun with him," said an elated Bellman, who is nearing 100 driving wins for the season.

Arggghhh goes to the line an easy winner at Warragul

Arggghhh was purchased after the completion of the annual yearling sales for $18,000.

"I was happy to go home with an empty float, but Jason is a farrier by trade and was a bit taken with him," Raymond said.

"He decided to wander around and have a look at the horse after he was passed in, so after some negotiations we got him."

The pacer has proven a good investment, having won nearly $40,000 in just 21 starts.

"Jason ended up with a 50 percent share for agreeing to do all the shoeing and providing agistment - I often tell him he's the highest paid farrier in Australia!" Raymond said.

"I thought the horse was a bit small, but he's grown into a nice size. He's a very laid-back type now; you could drive him on cotton. We are planning to have a Melton run on Friday week in a $10,000 3yo event so let's hope we get a good draw."

Raymond, who had a career in the police force, working up to the sergeant post at Lilydale, said he first become interested in harness racing nearly 40 years ago.

"I always liked having a bet, and one thing led to another, and I got to know trainer Rod Dally who had horses at the South Croydon complex," he said.

"Well he put me on a horse that needed to have fast work, and absolutely frightened the daylights out of me. I had never sat behind a horse before.

"But it didn't put me off because I've had one or two horses going around virtually ever since. I'm based at South Croydon which is terrific with a track of about 780metres.

"I've asked people for advice and picked up things along the way. Although I really would have loved to have worked in a top stable for six months."

The Woods family has enjoyed success over the years with bay mare Gumbatte (Walton Hanover-Our Regale (Lord Module) perhaps being a standout with nine wins and 20 placings back in the early 2000s.

"She finished 4th in the Vicbred Super Sires 4yo Mares Group one. Jodi Quinlan drove her and she started from outside the back row. She seemed to get bad draws a fair bit," Raymond said.

Arggghhh has been most promising. Apart from the recent Warragul win, he won an APG consolation at Melton and scored at Cranbourne, as well as recording eight placings.

And following along in his footsteps, and in keeping with the pirate theme, is a 2yo filly named Argh Me Hearty, also owned by Raymond and Jason.

Argh Me Hearty (Roll With Joe-Miss Astronomical (Astreos) was another purchased at the yearling sales and from just four starts, has recorded a win at Kilmore.


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura


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