The North Island's leading harness racing training partnership is set to split, but not before giving punters plenty more to think about this winter. The Graeme Rogerson-Steven Reid partnership, which has trained 85 winners this season and sits second on the national premiership, will finish at the end of the season.
Reid is leaving the two-stable partnership which has been based between Hamilton and Pukekohe to go back to training solely under his own name.
Both men confirmed their split to the Herald this week, with Rogerson saying he has not decided whether to take another trainer into partnership.
"I have a few options and I might even stay training just by myself," said Rogerson.
"But things are looking good, we have had a good few weeks and I have a lot of nice young horses to go on with."
Reid says the timing is right for him to return to training in his own name and concentrating on one stable of horses, rather then dividing his time between two properties.
That will mark his second major change of circumstances in the past 18 months after he parted with his former main owner Robert Famularo last year, losing the services of Monkey King and Baileys Dream.
But he can be rightly upbeat about the future, being recognised throughout the industry as one of our most astute horseman.
Reid has already won a national premiership in 1998 and is relishing the new challenge.
"I have room for owners and horses and the next couple of seasons I am going to really go for it and I think it will be exciting."
Ironically, the split has become public just as the stable has returned to form, with the past fortnight seeing the winners rolling in after a quiet autumn.
The slump could be blamed on bad luck and horses reaching their mark but a slight tweaking of the training has also played its role in the return to form lately.
That means the stable is worth following tonight, and none more so than Dead Calm in the feature pace.
The 4-year-old is a rugged stayer and at his peak in January he looked capable of working his way toward open class.
He hinted at a return to that form with a good fourth last start and began well in his only standing start.
"I think he is close to a good thing the way he went last week," said Reid.
Rogerson was also enthusiastic about Dead Calm, while adding Flying Pocketlands (race four) as another leading chance.
One of the highlights will be the 2-year-olds warming up for the NHT Sales Series Pace next week, headed by impressive last-start winner Malak Uswaad, which means Black King in Lebanese.
He showed a touch of class beating older pacers on debut and should take great benefit from that but does meet some handy types, including fellow debutante winners Nicky's Passion and Carabella.
Tonight's meeting also features several young pacers dropping back in grade from the Jewels last Saturday, with the best placed of them being Suidelike Meisie and Talaspring in race four.
The fillies have two of the north's best junior driver's behind them tonight with Suidelike Meisie's gate speed meaning she gets the nod.
* The Graeme Rogerson-Steven Reid partnership is to end on August 1.
* Reid, a former premiership winner, will return to training under his own name in Pukekohe.
* Rogerson has yet to decide whether to take a new training partner.
* The pair both fancy Dead Calm at Alexandra Park tonight.
By Michael GUERIN (Courtesy Of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD)