Day At The Track

Pink to go green and gold

04:59 PM 17 Jul 2019 NZST
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Pink to go green and gold,Harness racing
HRV Trots Media

Some of the most famous colours in Australian trotting will come out of the closet when Pink Galahs contests tomorrow's The Maori Legend at Stawell.

Trainer-driver Matt Craven will don the green and gold worn by champion Maori's Idol - the horse the race is named after - when he chases glory in the $14,000 feature.

Pink Galahs' co-owner Caleb Lewis is married to Laura (nee Healy), who is the daughter of Bryan and granddaughter of Ric. The Healy family bred Maori Miss, the mare who instigated arguably Australia's most famous trotting breeding line which includes the famed Maori's Idol but also Maori Mia, the great-great granddam of Pink Galahs.

Lewis said Craven will wear the actual jacket carried by Sumthingaboutmaori throughout her triple Group 1-winning career.

Sumthingaboutmaori, another descendant of Maori Miss, won 31 of 75 starts including races at the elite level in 2003 and 2004.

"I was with the father-in-law (Bryan) the other day and he asked me if the two-year-old was running in the race. And then he said 'it would be good if you wore the colours'," Lewis recalled.

"He gave me the Maori's Idol colours to wear. I have got the original ones but they might blow apart in the wind. These are actually Sumthingaboutmaori's colours."

Lewis said it would be a "massive thrill" to win the race that meant so much to the family.

"Just for the breeding and trotting industry - the Maori breed has done so much for it," he said.

Pink Galahs looks one of the main players in Thursday's feature, having won a heat of the Alderbaran Park Vicbred Super Series (two-year-old fillies) before running third in the Group 1 final behind Jaxnme.

Lewis said the daughter of Skyvalley was in good order ahead of Thursday's assignment.

"She made a mistake in the (Vicbred) final just after the start, happened to get herself back down and made up a massive amount of ground to run third," he said.

"She just needs to get a bit of luck. She's drawn inside the second row. If she gets a bit of luck early, well hopefully she can get through a bit of traffic and be thereabouts.

"It is two-year-old trotting so you've got to bite your tongue and hope everything goes right."

If successful on Thursday, expect one of John Williamson's classics Galleries of pink galahs - the inspiration behind the horse's name - to be playing at Lewis' hotel in Portland.

"I'd be happy to play it - no worries," he said.

"My grandfather, who got me into trotting, when I was a really young kid we used to go around in his ute and he'd always have John Williamson going on the radio.

"Most of my horses are named after songs - that year of two-year-olds I named after John Williamson songs."

Pink Galahs is likely to run second favourite behind Peter Manning-trained Dublin Chubb, which has drawn outside her on the second row.

Dublin Chubb was second favourite in a heat of the Alderbaran Park Vicbred Super Series (two-year-old colts and geldings), but galloped on numerous occasions and finished last.

The Maori Legend is race six on a 10-event card at Stawell and will start at 2.15pm.


Tim O'Connor

HRV Trots Media

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