Day At The Track

Top Otago trainer scores first driving win

06:33 AM 15 Jul 2013 NZST
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Graeme Anderson & daughter Sheree
Graeme Anderson & daughter Sheree
Southland Daily Times

Few salutes have lasted as long as Graeme Anderson's at Oamaru yesterday, but the statuesque pose in the sulky was hiding some nerves.

Anderson was having just his second drive of the season in the amateur ranks - only his fifth raceday drive overall - and he had made sure he had every possible chance of a win by entering Montecrengle as a $5000 claimer in the amateur drivers' 2600m mobile pace.

Almost everything went to plan for Anderson and the Christian Cullen gelding as he sent the 6yr-old to the lead from the mobile arm and said goodbye to his rivals with 400m to go.

The only hitch in the plan? Montecrengle was claimed by Craig Kennett, of Waimate, meaning Anderson did not get to take the horse back home last night.

''I was under a bit of pressure from some of my owners and friends because the horse looked a good thing,'' he said.

''The old joke was only a bad drive could get it beaten.''

It was far from a bad drive though, as Anderson picked up the lead quite easily and ran the field ragged, pacing an impressive 3.15.4 for the 2600m.

''He had to lead. He was the best horse by a long way and we did a few little things during the week which helped him.''

Anderson will be sad to see the pacer go, after connections of the stable claimed him for $10,000 in early May.

''It's a shame to see him go in some ways, but when they go 3.15 on a cold day here, it's a pretty good time for an old claiming race.''

Montecrengle earned $7081 (including driving fees) in his six starts for Anderson and co-trainer Amber Hoffman.

''We get $5000 back, so the purpose has been served, really.''

Anderson was wondering if the amateur driving caper was worth it after his previous drive in the pouring rain at Oamaru last month.

''I had that one on Graceandtemika a couple of weeks back which really was an abysmal effort and I was going to retire after that.''

Rocky Road may be on move

Rocky Road's future could be smoother than his past, following his second win from as many starts yesterday.

The Bettor's Delight 3yr-old had proved a problem child before he debuted in style at Forbury Park 10 days ago, and the driver change for yesterday's 2000m mobile pace at Oamaru hinted at where his future may lie.

Canterbury driver Anthony Butt took the reins with a view to the gelding joining brother Tim Butt's stable in the near future and took up the lead with 1400m, going on to win by three-quarters of a length in 2.29.6.

While the sale is far from confirmed, Anthony Butt liked what he felt when holding the reins behind the Neville Cleaver-owned pacer and will give his recommendation back to his brother.

''He's pretty green and pretty relaxed, but he did the job well,'' Butt said.

''He's a nice horse - you'd think in another six months' time, he'd be better again.''

The Butts are turning the purchase of tried horses into an art form. Hunter Cup winner Mah Sish is the most notable of their purchases to go through the grades.

Much like Rocky Road's trainer Nathan Williamson, who had to deal with several injury problems over a year before finally qualifying the black gelding at Forbury Park last month, the Butts have been patiently waiting for the last foal of Jenna's Beach Boy mare Roxy O'Neill to appear.

''About last September, a [contact] saw him at the trials, but he's just had a few problems and hiccups, so it's been a waiting process.''

Williamson's father, Phil, and brother Brad combined twice on the card thanks to heady drives by Brad Williamson behind the two trotters.

He found a small gap to squeeze Left Right Andcentre through in the non-winners trot, while Alexandra Leaving was too smart in the 1-5 win trot.

Phil Williamson said Alexandra Leaving had earned a good spell and would not be seen again at the races until after Christmas.

''She's a good mare and she'll do a good job. We think a bit of her,'' he said.

''Her mother [Cabaletta] won seven races and it wouldn't surprise me if she [Alexandra Leaving] won seven.''

The Williamsons have had the Majestic Son filly since she was weaned from Cabaletta, a half-sister to Allegro Agitato.

''She's taken a little bit of making. As she gets stronger, she's going to get a little bit better. ''Expressionist is also heading to the paddock after 12 months in work for Roxburgh trainers Geoff and Jude Knight.

''He's been racing well against really good horses, and we've kept him going to try and get his free win [every second win as a 3yr-old is penalty free],'' Geoff Knight said.

''He's going to go out for about 10 weeks and we'll bring him back for Roxburgh [in January].''

by Matt Smith (COURTESY OF THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES)

 

 

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: