Day At The Track

Skye Bond stable has a night out

09:50 PM 13 Feb 2018 NZDT
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Saturday night's Village Kid Sprint and Pacing Cup
Saturday night's Village Kid Sprint and Pacing Cup

Someone once said that a week is a long time in politics, but Forrestdale trainer Skye Bond and stable driver Ryan Warwick could be forgiven for thinking that 24 hours is a long time in harness racing.

The stable sent five runners to the Albany Cup meeting on Friday, February 2 and managed two second and two thirds; and to cap off a bad night the truck broke down on the way home from the Great Southern.

Fast forward 24 hours and Warwick headed off on a much shorter trip to the Northam Cup meeting with three runners hoping that the bad luck from the Friday night was consigned to history.

The three-year-old Bettors Delight gelding broke its maiden status in the opening race and the night began to look a whole lot better when Better B Chevron showed blistering gate speed to lead throughout to win the Village Kid Sprint.

After Warwick was able to steady the pace in the middle stages, Better B Chevron showed Village Kid like speed to run the last half-mile in a scintillating 55.8 seconds to hold on and win from Runrunjimmydunn and Madame Meilland.

With the memories of Friday night rapidly fading, Warwick took advantage of the front-line handicap and urged Tas Man Bromac to the lead in the $30,000 Grafton Electrics Northam Cup.

Once in charge Tas Man Bromac always look comfortable and although the final margin was just a half-head the gelded son of American Ideal won impressively from Major Catastrophe and Major Rush.

Warwick has always enjoyed success at the Burwood Park track having driven some 136 winners there and Tas Man Bromac gave him his second win in a Grafton Electrics Northam Cup after he won the 2016 running with Our Ideal Act.

Needless to say the trip home from Northam was much more upbeat that the previous night’s return home from Albany.

Warwick chasing a second win in Dempster Memorial this Saturday. In 2016 he drove McClinchie to victory in the Peter Dempster Memorial after having won the Northam Cup earlier that same year.

Warwick will be hoping history to repeat itself this Saturday night when the Northam Harness Racing Club stages the fifth running of the Dempster Memorial just a fortnight after Warwick won the Northam Cup with Tas Man Bromac.

The race honours Grass Valley farmer Peter Dempster who was President of the Northam Harness Racing Club from 2000 to his untimely passing in December 2012.

Peter Dempster may have appeared quiet and unassuming but he was incredibly passionate about trotting and got things done with a minimum of fuss as evidenced by his beloved Northam club being the site of the State’s first undercover stabling complex on a racecourse.


While farming was his work Peter’s passions were flying and horses and there was no better evidence of this than the Dempster family’s annual holidays in Mandurah. Peter’s daughter Amy recalled this week how their annual holiday resembled a re-enactment of Noah and the ark.

“Dad used to pack up the horses, all their gear, feed and carts and load them into the float along with a couple of parrots, two dogs and a couple of cats,” she laughed.

“I think the horses enjoyed the holiday as much as Dad did as he would take them swimming as part of their training which he wasn’t able to do on the farm”.

While he may have been on holidays the farm still had to be looked after and Peter would fly himself home a couple of times a week to check on things.

The Dempster family farm is still home to eight of Peter Dempster’s retired pacers although Amy admits they have to be taken to a farrier to have their feet trimmed, a task which Peter always did himself.

“Dad used to breed his own horses to race and he would wait until mum was away before he would sneak the mares down to the stud in Baldivis to have them inseminated,” Amy laughed.

“I think Mum used to let Dad think he was putting one over her as she always knew when the mares were in foal”.

Alan Parker

Reprinted with permission of The Avon Advocate

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