Day At The Track

Another Safari could prove to be just that!

01:25 PM 19 Mar 2015 NZDT
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Safari 1.jpg Living Angel- 290303.JPG
Safari
Living Angel winning at Moonee Valley
Photo courtesy HRV

It is the best move I have made...

That’s the call from harness racing owner Charlie Debono when discussing his decision to send promising pacer Another Safari to power couple Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin.

Debono co-owns Another Safari with his son, Brett.

Since joining the duo’s stable Another Safari has won five of his seven starts, with a second and fourth also to his credit.

The pacer’s latest victory came at Maryborough yesterday when he outstayed his rivals in 1:59.6 with Gavin Lang in the cart.

“They are doing wonders with him,” Debono declared. “I couldn’t be happier.

“He got crook on me as two-year-old and didn’t really recover from it even at three.

“He had the better part of a year off and has now only come good again this season.”

With no major targets in mind for the four-year-old, Debono stated he will leave all plans up to Stewart and Tonkin.

“I’ve got no schedule for him,” Debono said. “It’s up to Emma and Clayton.

“They’re doing a great job and there is no point in me interfering…that’s why you send them horses.”

By former tough pacer Safar – which was also trained by Stewart and Tonkin – Another Safari is from Debono’s former top mare, Living Angel.

A member of the Peter Manning team, Living Angel won 23 races, including the Ararat, Echuca, Stawell and St Arnaud Cups.

At stud, Living Angel boasts two starters for two winners, with Debono training the mare’s first winner, Teejay Cullen.

To Debono’s dismay, the gelding was limited to 28 starts, which netted five wins and three placings.

While he is happy to have Another Safari at the Stewart/Tonkin base, Debono also enjoys training as a hobby.

“I like to have one or two in work,” Debono said.

A passionate industry supporter, Debono’s introduction into harness racing was unusual to say the least.

Spending his younger days “riding hacks” around Melton, Debono first crossed paths with standardbreds when he noticed a trainer preparing one of his stable members and basically thought the man in question had lost the plot.

“I was riding hacks at the time and we would go all over the place, but I saw a bloke going around and around in circles and I thought he was crazy,” Debono said.

“As it turned out that bloke was Frank Scicluna in his Kams Revenge days and little did I know how good she was.”

Debono then received the misleading advice that eventually changed his life and passion for the industry.

“I had a mate of mine come up to me in the late 1980s when the country was going through the recession, and he said I should buy a harness horse as they are giving them away,” Debono declared.

“So I went out and got a colt, which I named Amanadas Bear, and have been hooked since.

“He never won a race, only running a few placings, but it was enough to get me right in.

“I soon bought more horses and have had a lot of fun.

“I like to do a bit of the training myself and now I’m the crazy bloke who goes around and around in circles as I work my horses.”

  • PAUL COURTS

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