Day At The Track

Winner couldn't even be given away

05:48 AM 25 May 2017 NZST
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Andrew Bublitz
Andrew Bublitz

Andrew Bublitz and Shapeshifter have issues – so much so the Cambridge harness racing trainer recently wanted to give the 4-year-old Shadow Play mare away for free.

“We don’t get on. Our personalities clash. I even offered to give her away for free recently but no-one would take her. And now that’s she’s won my wife (Libby) won’t let me sell her. She wants to use her as an amateur horse,” Bublitz said.

“In saying that I am allowed to sell to Australia the wife said,” he added.

Bublitz notched up his first training success of the season when Shapeshifter and Dylan Ferguson won the second race at Manawatu Raceway on Tuesday) - the $8,000 Paul Claridge Maiden Pace.

It was Shapeshifter's first win in nine starts and Bublitz's first training success since the best horse he has trained - Robert The Bruce - won at Manawatu Raceway in February last year.

"This win means more than any race stake to me. It's the first time Libby and I have owned and bred a winner. I'm very proud of that, considering I wanted nothing to do with this horse a couple of weeks ago," said Bublitz.

Ferguson situated Shapeshifter three back on the outside and then pounced at the top of the lane. They held on to beat a fast-finishing favourite, Itsokbeingbetter (Stephen Doody).

Shapeshifter was the $7.20 fourth favourite and paced the 2000m mobile in 2:32 even (mile rate 2:02.9) and came home in 61.1 and 30.4.

"We didn't really deserve to win that race because Dave's (Marshall) horse got pushed back and rattled home late to get within half-a-head of us.

"I'm sure that if he didn't cop that Itsokbeingbetter would have beaten us by two lengths, but I'll take it because it's a very special training, owning and breeding victory," said Bublitz.

Shapeshifter is the first foal out of Bublitz's one-win Dream Away mare, Bonnie Maguire. The broodmare has left three foals and is currently in foal to Sweet Lou.

Bublitz said he never gave Ferguson any driving instructions, except to just ‘drive what’s in front of you’.

“I’m not the sort of person to hand out instructions to drivers because so much can happen at the start and during a race. She did go into yesterday’s race with a nice third at Cambridge last week though.

“She will start again at Manawatu tomorrow and that will be her third start in a week. I’ll see how she’s come through the race but I think she’s up to it, even from barrier six,” Bublitz said.

“I think she can place on Thursday,” he added.

Bublitz believed Shapeshifter would be better suited to a bigger stable.

“I think her personality would suit lots of horses around her. We just don’t get on, but now she’s won I can’t see my wife letting her go. It’s just a matter of wait and see I guess,” Bublitz said.

The Leamington horseman also has Shapeshifter's little 2-year-old half sister, Lady Liberty (by American Ideal) in work.

"I'll be looking to qualify her soon," said Bublitz, who owns his own transport company.

Bublitz has been training since 1991 and has conditioned six winners from 127 starters,. He's also had 19 placings and netted $49,657 in career stakes.

He has trained two winners twice in a season - in 2015-2016 and 2010-2011.

The second day of the Manawatu Harness Racing Club’s meeting Thursday will operate a $40,000 Pick6 from race two on.

By Duane Ranger

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