Day At The Track

John reaping rewards for his dedication

11:00 AM 22 Apr 2020 NZST
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John and Paddy Meade celebrate the win of debutant I Stand Alone,Harness racing
John and Paddy Meade celebrate the win of debutant I Stand Alone
Terang HRC

As trainer of over 40 years, John Meade doesn't easily get carried away about the prospects of his harness racing charges - but he can be excused for having a wry smile on his face at the moment.

Meade, based at Cudgee which is halfway between Terang and Hamilton in Victoria's Western District, is certainly seeing deserved reward for effort come his way with his team of square gaiters.

"I'm having some fun-and getting a bit of my hard earnt back," Meade laughed.

"I think a few of them are blessed with good ability. And along with that, they just don't like losing," he said.

But Meade has been around long enough to know when his enthusiasm is warranted, and that moment came recently at Terang when he produced a five-year-old trotter on debut.

Bay gelding I Stand Alone (Danny Bouchea-Diamond Insitu (Cr Commando USA) is the younger half-brother to Meade's Great Southern Star champion Sparkling Success, and understandably, the debutant created plenty of buzz in the lead-up.

"He's a lovely big type of horse and so easy to train. But it has been a long haul with him because he's had some serious issues," Meade said.

"There's been many people go over him and I've spent a lot of money with bone scans trying to track down the problem and one vet suggested I turn him out for four months," he said.

"I found a muscle man who had a bit of a go and did seem to do some good. He's still not quite right and goes rough now and again, but the muscle issues seem to have been the problem."

Sent out as a cautious 5/1 chance in the Cobden AB Trot, I Stand Alone wasn't bustled out of the gate and after taking time to balance up, Meade had no hesitation in driving him to outside the leader Down Under Earl (Jackie Barker).

I Stand Alone's more-fancied stablemate Wisp Of Smoke (Jason Lee) worked around at the bell, and when the leader kicked on the home corner, there didn't appear to be any threats-that was until Meade revved up I Stand Alone, who put in big strides to grab an eye-catching victory on the line.

"I saw that Wisp Of Smoke wasn't going all that good, so pulled out and gave my bloke a few taps to put pressure on the leader. With a trotter you just don't go 'whack' because it's the easiest way to bust them up," Meade said.

"I think there may be a card game where you win by going backwards. But there's only one way to win out on the track in my opinion, and that's by going forward. I believe when you are up there, if you sit quietly the others have to go around. They have to use petrol to do that."

I Stand Alone won officially by a head over Down Under Earl, with a similar margin back to Namoscar (Ashley Ainsworth).

Watch the replay here.

Meade said I Stand Alone was the third foal he'd bred from Diamond Insitu and he was now the third winner-the other two being Sparkling Success ($423,000) and Diamond Wes ($22,700).

"It's pretty exciting that they have now all won races. And we have four more from the mare. There's a three-year-old filly and a two-year-old colt, both of which go along nicely. We also have a yearling colt and a foal on her, and she's in foal again," he said.

"Not many trotters win first-up. I've perhaps had only one other over the years so, yes, that was a special victory by I Stand Alone."

Meade said he was thrilled to receive many congratulatory messages and especially a call from Father Brian Glasheen, known as the Pacing Priest, due to his love of the sport.

"He told me he didn't think I was going to get away with them at the start with the horse going a little rough. But he said I'd kept him in his gear and got the win. He was delighted."

Meade said his star trotter Sparkling Success (winner of 17 races from 39 starts) would be nominated for a race at Terang in seven days.

Sparkling Success has impressed in his two race starts since a 17-month lay-off and is bound to further improve with racing.

The gelding, bred by Meade and his wife Mary, was ready to show USA fans his style in October 2018, with a run in the $US 1M Yonkers International Trot in New York being pencilled in. However, on the eve of flying out, the champion suffered a near front suspensory ligament injury and didn't make it.

"His legs are fine now, and he seems to be working well. If the standing start Terang race goes on he will be 40 metres behind. He mightn't be 'Mickey mouse', but he won't be far off," Meade said.

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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