Day At The Track

Poker Storm trumps them - at 220/1

06:57 AM 02 Jan 2020 NZDT
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12-year-old Poker Storm
12-year-old Poker Storm
Stacey Lear Photo

There was no bluff about evergreen veteran pacer Poker Storm when he played a winning hand to get the cash at a recent Launceston harness racing meeting.

The 12-year-old paid three figure odds across most betting outlets with a stake-high $220 for a single win unit on the NSW TAB.

But the victory didn't come as a surprise to his trainer Adrian Duggan, or the passionate owners.

"I don't bet, but his owners always have a couple of dollars on him, so that's great for them," Duggan said.

While the NSW TAB was the standout, those players who put their chips on the pacer to trump his rivals, collected $187 (SuperTAB), $106 (UniTAB), and $100 in his home state.

"It's definitely not every day that you have that happen - but he also didn't deserve to be those odds, either. He's been racing really well," he said.

Poker Storm hadn't won since March - but has been enjoying Tasmania's Discretionary Standing Start racing and had weighed in at all but one of his previous five starts, hence the quiet confidence in the Duggan camp.

Annette and Chris Rockliff, Jacob Duggan and Nathan Rockliff were all smiles after their old warrior scored a memorable long-shot win 

"He's an out-of-the-draw horse in the stands, but if he's off the second row he usually goes away all right," Duggan said.

Poker Storm (Trump Casino-Cameo Mist (Lucky Cam) and Duggan have been a racing combination for almost as long as is possible in harness racing.

The ownership group is based at Devonport, on the north coast, but, after he was broken in, they elected to send their two-year-old to the southern area of the Apple Isle, to Duggan at Brighton.

And while others have come and gone, Poker Storm has been there ever since - for 10 years, nearly 200 starts, 23 wins and $170,000 in stakes.

Duggan admits unashamedly, Poker Storm's the favorite.

"He's just a lovely horse to have around. Hardly a lame day in his life and he's just one of those horses - he's not very big, but he's a warrior," he said.

"He's very straightforward, very athletic and he just loves what he does. He's like most horses I suppose - if you keep him happy, he is very easy to get on with."

Poker Storm crosses the line to win at start number 199

Duggan trains a team of 11 or 12 with the help of his stepfather Phillip Young, his wife Amanda and their 14-year-old son Jacob, who's just recently become licenced.

"Poker Storm's been around nearly as long as Jacob has!" Duggan laughed.

"He doesn't actually remember a time when we didn't have the horse - and he's doing quite a lot of the work with him now, too, so the win was a big thrill for Jacob as well.

"Nathan (Rockliff) and Peter (Webb) are just the sort of owners you love to have. They are very loyal to me and have three horses here at the moment.

"They love the sport and old Poker Storm has done a great job for them, but the minute I think it's time to pull the pin they'll be okay with that.

"At the moment though, we're just enjoying racing him and while they keep programming the discretionary races and he gets handicapped fairly, we'll keep him going round," he said.

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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