Racing: North Otago trainers in the money

Driver Gerard O'Reilly and trainer Warren Bartlett discuss Austin Bromac's win at Oamaru yesterday. Photo by Matt Smith.
Driver Gerard O'Reilly and trainer Warren Bartlett discuss Austin Bromac's win at Oamaru yesterday. Photo by Matt Smith.
Home advantage is hard to beat, and North Otago trainers made the most of their knowledge at the Oamaru grass track harness meeting yesterday.

Big dividends kept rolling in throughout the afternoon, starting with Maybe Flyin winning at $28.90 in the opening event, a non-winners' mobile pace.

The Sands A Flyin mare was having her 28th start, but trainer-driver Ray Needham, who is based at Hilderthorpe, just north of Oamaru, always expected her to get at least one win.

''She's been unlucky two or three times on the way through up to today,'' he said.

''She's taken a wee while but it doesn't matter. She'll go on a bit yet.''

Needham had the mare sitting parked outside the leader for much of the race, but he did not mind her facing the breeze.

''She doesn't pull or anything. She just sits there good and you're always handy when you're turning for home.''

Needham bred the 5yr-old and decided to send the mare, Tinamay, to Sands A Flyin, who made his name as a sire with Monkey King. They were ''good all-round horses and good tough horses'', Needham said.

''Toughness is what you look to breed into them, along with a bit of speed.''

Maybe Flyin's 30th career start may be at Banks Peninsula next Sunday.

Many share in successThere were many owners on course to watch Austin Bromac step out of the maiden grade for Oamaru trainer Warren Bartlett.

The McArdle gelding led early and handed up, before driver Gerard O'Reilly punched the 4yr-old up along the passing lane to win by three-quarters of a length.

Bartlett has trained Austin Bromac for his last six starts, after owners Michael and Sue McGuire offered him a half-share and the chance to train the gelding following

three unsuccessful runs out of John Hay's stable.

Bartlett went about setting up the Deerball Syndicate, which is full of North Otago residents.

''It's a mixture of friends. There are truck drivers, service station owners and all sorts,'' Bartlett said.

Austin Bromac had been edging closer to a win with a last-start fourth at Ashburton, and Bartlett has had to work the big-framed gelding out.

''He's always been all right [but] he's got such a big body, he's taken a bit of organising.''