Day At The Track

Chattanoogachoochoo wins last NHT pace

04:40 PM 14 Jun 2013 NZST
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Chattanoogachoochoo - Pictured with Claire McGowan after his debut win

The newest horse on the commentators' blacklist, Chattanoogachoochoo, will go down in the harness racing history books as the last ever winner of the Northern Hemisphere Time Pace after taking out the $30,000 co-feature at Alexandra Park tonight.

"It's a shame the race will no longer be run," said Chattanoogachoochoo's co-owner Reg Storer. "I remember when the race used to be worth $100,000, but the fact of the matter is horses are no longer being bred to American time in New Zealand,"he added.

"Still, we are stoked to have won it with this fella. He is still reasonably immature, but he is going to be a really nice horse."

As for Chattanoogachoochoo's trainers Greg & Nina Hope, well they can thank their son Ben for their 10% share of the winnings.

"I had done car dealings (Storer Motors) with Greg before, and always respected him as a horseman, but I guess our association did grow through our kids Bella (Storer) and Ben (Hope) doing Kidz Kartz together.

"One day I approached Greg at Kidz Kartz and asked him if he had bought anything from the yearling sales,"added Storer. "He said no, my owners are not big at buying from the sales, so a couple of days later I turned up with Chattanoogachoochoo."

Now that Storer has one horse with the Hopes, and quite a successful one at that might I add, he is keen to further his involvement with the stable.

"I'll definitely be sending more horses to Greg and Nina. It's just such a nice and relaxed environment out there, and they have done a terrific job with this horse."

"Their son Ben is also a great wee horseman, and I think he will be a very good driver one day," Storer said.

"I'm also very thankful to Dave & Claire McGowan for the fantastic job they have done at looking after the horse while he has been up in Auckland and also for Tony Herlihy's drive."

Originally called Jefferson Jones, Chattanoogachoochoo, a son of Christian Cullen and Julia R, was passed in at the yearling sales before Storer approached long-time friend Noel Kennard to buy into the colt. So just how did Chattanoogachoochoo end up with that rather bizarre name?

"I hated the name Jefferson Jones, and one day I was driving along and heard the song ‘Chattanoogachoochoo' and decided that is what I am going to call this horse.

"I've got three horses I'm in the process of naming at the moment, so I'd hate to think what they are going to end up being called," quipped Storer.

This re-naming business might be a bit of a lucky omen for Storer. He has previously re-named two handy types in Ross The Boss (10 wins) and Blackjacky (seven wins).

The latter, Blackjacky, finished into third place in the main trot at Alexandra Park, adding to what was a great day for Storer.

Satori, who was the result of a big betting plunge, gave bookies slight heart palpations, but couldn't withstand Chattanoogachoochoo over the final stages, finishing half a length away in second, while daylight of 12 lengths separated them from the third horse Can't Get Enough.

The first three horses are all sired by Christian Cullen.



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