Day At The Track

Ameigo wins and Stunin first winner

08:40 AM 09 Oct 2017 NZDT
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Armbro Ameigo,Harness racing
Armbro Ameigo winning at Ascot Park
Photo by Bruce Stewart

Ambro Ameigo has been with a few trainers but none more patient than Knapdale horsewoman Kath O'Connor.

She's had the Armbro Invasion gelding for three seasons now and everything went right yesterday at Ascot Park when the seven year old won his first race at start number sixteen. 

"A couple of trainers had tried him, sacked him and he was going on the truck to Gore. My daughter Serenity works at Macca Lodge. She liked him and we thought that if he couldn't make it as a trotter he might make a nice hack," she said.

So Kath rang the gelding's breeders Maurice Horton, Ray Paterson and Henry Ford to see whether she could take him on.

"They were thrilled. Maurice still thanks me for saving him and we've become really good friends." 

In yesterdays race Ambro Ameigo began well to lead early before Cuddly Trouble took over. At the 500 metres driver Robin Swain came away from the trail and was up challenging Cuddly Trouble. Ambro Ameigo trotted down to the line to beat a late finishing Our Budd by a length and a quarter. 

"Rob (driver Robin Swain) drove him very positively. He stepped good and did everything right.

Returning to the birdcage - Photo Bruce Stewart. 

At his last start he got knocked over. The time before that at Invercargill be was a bit sore in the feet so we've put pads on. He's a super sensitive horse. We've had good weather down here and the tracks have been hard. That's what tripped him up last time so that's why we've gone back to the pads."

O'Connor says that when she got the gelding, he lacked confidence.

"He's a girls horse and loves his pats and kisses. That's what turned him round. It taken a long time just to win his trust."

He's only the second horse O'Connor has trained. The first was Ronnoco which she won three races with (as a trainer).

O'Connor's cousin, the late Brian O'Connor, trained horses in the Dunedin area for many years and Kath has taken over his colours.

"I said to Brian when he was alive, one day I'll nab those colours and it's his cart that we use too. Brian loved his trotters so he will be thrilled." 

O'Connor grew up going to the races at Forbury with her father and when she moved to Southland the late Colin Baynes was her neighbour at Knapdale.

"I worked for him for twenty years. Robin (Swain) taught me how to drive and it went from there."   

Ambro Ameigo is a very well related gelding. He's out of the Simon Roydon mare Princess Afton which is a half sister to Frances Jay Bee the winner of six races and the dam of One Kenny (19 wins), One Under Kenny (11 wins) and millionaire trotter One Over Kenny (32 wins and $1,098,007). Princess Afton is also a half-sister to Raymauwarrhen Sun the winner of twenty two races.

Andrew Stuart has a three year old colt by Monkey Bones out of Princess Afton called Kenny Del and she's about to have a foal by Superfast Stuart. 

Meanwhile Eye Candy became the first winner for Christian Cullen sire Stunin Cullen.

The three year old filly trained by Paul Court held on to win by a neck to beat Delightful Deal.

Returning with Blair Orange - Photo Bruce Stewart.

Eye Candy has a strong Southland connection being out of Have A Look whose dam Private Encounter was bred by Brian Church and Betty Lee. Private Encounter is a half-sister to Pacific Playgirl which won two races here for Wyndham trainer Gordon Lee before winning a further 16 in Australia. 

Stunin Cullen which stands at Pinelea Farm in Canterbury has 84 live foals and nine qualifiers. A handful of those qualifiers have recorded placings on race day. 

Bruce Stewart
Southland Harness Racing

Ambro Ameigo winning his race

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