Day At The Track

Old timer still striking gold

03:00 PM 05 Jul 2019 NZST
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Andrew Grogan, harness racing
Andrew Grogan, James Herbertson and Nuggetpan – with stable helper, "Chook" in the background

A rising 12-year-old is providing a Central Victorian harness racing couple with plenty of thrills – and still more to come, judging by his latest performance.

Brown gelding Nuggetpan, raced by Andrew and Anne Grogan, of Pyramid Hill, 90 kilometres north of Bendigo, notched up his 12th victory from 105 starts with a boil over win on Tuesday at Echuca.

“Before the race I thought the ‘old boy’ might be able to sneak a place because he did draw wide out in the six alley. I was probably just hoping more than anything,” Grogan, who also trains the pacer, said.

“He’s still got the ability to dash home if the races are run to suit,” he said.

And true to form, Nuggetpan (The Wrath Of Pan-Fly Home (Torado Hanover) absolutely sprouted wings over the final 80 metres to dive bomb the well-supported pair in Idealagain and Im Monica. The winner paid $17.70 on the tote and his late lunge was enough for an official half-head margin.

Grogan said the splits of 29.6, 30.9, 30.9 and 28.3, which equated to a handy mile rate of 1.58-4, suited his pacer nicely.

“He was perfectly handled by James Herbertson who showed a lot of patience to hold him up until the final corner and then fly home,” he said.

It was a race-to-race double for the young Ballarat dynamo who scored previously for trainer Robert Walters with nine-year-old gelding Run Myles Run (Life Sign-Pristine Ivy (Butler B G).

The Grogans have owned Nuggetpan since he was a rising three-year-old.

“Mary-Helen Pearce bred him and after the floods back a while ago now, she was cutting back in numbers, so I bought him. He was unbroken so I had the job of breaking him in, which I don’t mind,” Grogan said.

The youngster was then sent to spend some time with well-known horseman Nick Youngson, near Wedderburn.

“Just so he could get among other horses and with some different scenery. I’ve always believed it does them good to go somewhere else for awhile,” Grogan said.

“He has been a great horse for us because apart of the dozen wins, he’s been in the placings on 30 occasions. I think he’s now won over $77,000.”

Grogan said his training routine with Nuggetpan involved a lot of slow work.

“There’s a heap of lignum bushes on the property and he enjoys ducking in and around those. Then there’s some gallop work to keep him on his toes,” he said.

“He hasn’t any issues and providing he’s racing competitively we’ll keep him going. It’s so hard to find those that don’t mind putting in and he’s a trier that’s for sure. He just tries his heart out.”

Grogan was always going to end up in horses as his father Frank was heavily involved.

“Dad had the lot. He was into gallopers, trotters and hacks. There was always plenty of them about,” he said.

“Then a brother of mine, Kevin, who was a shearer, got interested in the horses too. Dad talked him into being a farrier and he was held in high regard in Melbourne for years. Now his son Michael is also into it and doing really well.

“I didn’t mind the shoeing side, but I’ve got a hip injury, so I now leave that to the youngsters.”

Grogan said he was also training a three-year-old, but it was “on thin ice at the moment”.

“I think Nuggetpan is probably a hard act to follow,” he said.

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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