Unique shoeing change does the trick for Rebma

06:57 PM 06 Jan 2014 NZDT
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Rebma - pictured winning on the first day of the Nelson carnival

Imagine putting your shoes on back-to-front and then being asked to stretch out better than what you ever have.

That’s exactly what West Melton trainer Ken Ford asked of his trotter Rebma just prior to attacking the two-day Nelson meeting at Richmond Park on Friday (January 3) and Sunday (January 5).

Ford, who does a lot of his own shoeing, got his mate and Rolleston horseman Derek Jones to turn Rebma’s shoes right around.

Result – two easy wins on both days of the meeting.

“Derek has done a great job shoeing him. The horse did have a quarter crack and now that problem seems to be behind him. I was very impressed with his runs at Nelson. The reverse shoeing did the trick alright,” said Ford, who watched the meeting on TV from his Canterbury home.

Ford’s daughter Amanda Tomlinson took four racehorses, seven Kidz Kartz ponies, and three children north to attend both the Nelson and Blenheim meetings.

She also did the driving behind Rebma on both days.

Up until Rebma’s two Nelson wins, the 5-year-old gelding had won three of his 31 starts. Ford said a mix of both shoeing and maturity had ensured Rebma’s fourth and fifth career wins.

“He’s a son of Armbro Invasion, so he was always going to take time. I think he has the potential to be a Rowe Cup or Dominion horse one day. I’m not saying he can win those races, but he’s certainly got the potential to line up in those big Group One events,” Ford said.

Both days Tomlinson quietly worked Rebma into his races and then cruised past his opposition to win by 1-1/2 lengths and 4-1/2 lengths respectively.

On day one Rebma won the $8,000 Maxi C1 and faster trot in 3:06.7 (2400m stand), trotting his last 800m and 400m sectionals in 58.8 and 29.6 seconds. His winning mile rate was 2:05.1.

Then on day two the gentle bay cleaned up the $8,000 Nelson Building Society C1 and faster trot in 3:58 even (3000m stand). He sprinted home in 61 and 32 and scored with a 2:07.6 mile rate.

He started from 10m behind on Friday and then 30m on Sunday.

“He’s such a lovely horse to have around. You can do anything with him. He’s so kind and gentle that even the kids can fast work him at home. We love having him around. His lovely nature makes him a bit special,” Ford said.

Rebma is ‘Amber’ spelt backwards. He was named after Tomlinson’s champion equestrian horse, which competed with Tomlinson in several New Zealand Show Jumping Championships.

“She was killed the night Rebma was born. The old girl was 36. That was sad but this fella has proved to be a worthy replacement,” said Ford.

Rebma will race at the Waterlea meeting in Blenheim this Friday and Sunday before returning to his Canterbury base.

He is owned and was bred by Ford and Tomlinson.

For the record: Forty three-year-old Tomlinson, who was an accomplished equestrian rider before venturing into harness racing, also played open side flanker for New Zealand in the first ever Women’s Rugby World Cup. Her daughter, Kerryn has won two New Zealand Kidz Kartz Cups, including this season’s edition of the great little miniature pony race.

By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

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