Day At The Track
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Former New Zealander Geoffrey Clout first got interested in harness racing as a teenager and over 20 years on, he's making up for lost time. Clout is based at Tyabb on Victoria's picturesque Mornington Peninsular and recorded his first victory as a trainer early last month with four-year-old mare My Superannuation. The pair then repeated the dose at Cranbourne last Sunday. To watch a video replay click here. "Her latest win was a big surprise. I still can't believe it, but perhaps she's turned the corner. She went way better than I thought she would," Clout said. Clout grew up near the Hutt Park Raceway in Wellington on the south-western tip of the North Island of New Zealand. "We were just a few hundred metres from Hutt Park, and my brother Phil and I went walking down to the raceway one day with our mother," he said. "We got to know a few of the guys there, including trainer Robert Woolley, and we ended up regularly giving them a hand before and after school. "It was a lot of fun and looking back on it, I'm pretty sure it kept us out of trouble. "I got a trainer's licence as an 18-year-old when I was over there. You had to go to what was called a cadet school at Cambridge and complete stablehand training blocks over two years," he said. "That was over 20 years ago, but the timing to train horses myself was never quite right. I never lost my interest, but I had to be patient!" Clout, who runs his own solid plastering and rendering business, said for a long time he didn't have land to pursue his harness racing interest. "But virtually as soon as we bought our 10-acre block, I started looking for a broodmare to get involved. And it obviously happened quickly because we've been in our house for five years and the first horse we bred is now a four-year-old!" he said. "I got my NZ licence transferred across at the start of this season and thought I'd give it a go with taking over her training. Simone Walker had her as a two and three-year-old and did all the early work." Clout kicked off his training career with an impressive second placing at Yarra Valley in early December. It was nearly four weeks before the pair reappeared to post the first of two Cranbourne victories. Clout said My Superannuation had tied up badly after her first run and he then had to modify her feeding and training routine. "We've only got a small 350 metre jog track on our property, so I float into Cranbourne, which is half an hour away, probably two or three times a week just to work the horse," he said. "I've got to know trainers like Dylan Stratford, Rick Cashman and some others who have been fantastic, so I've had heaps of valuable help along the way." My Superannuation (Mr Feelgood-Honeyrose (Partywiththebigdog) is handled by much-travelled junior concession driver Kyal Costello. Clout recently produced another horse to the races in three-year-old Tyabb Wonder (Mr Feelgood-Ezy Lady (Nuke Of Earl). The brown filly wasn't on her best behavior and finished unplaced after galloping in the run. "I sort of rushed her into the races. It was like the last throw at the stumps because both of the horses have been turned out now-my wife Rosie is expecting our second child," he said. "She is actually due this Saturday so there's more exciting times ahead," he said. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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