The Croupier rewards Matheson's tested patience with Forbury Park win

Trainer Shane Matheson with his Forbury Park winner, The Croupier. Photo: JONNY TURNER
Trainer Shane Matheson with his Forbury Park winner, The Croupier. Photo: JONNY TURNER

The Croupier rewarded Northern Southland trainer Shane Matheson after testing his patience when winning at Forbury Park on Thursday.

The 4yr-old produced the fastest last 400m of the night when notching his second career win with Ellie Barron in the sulky.

Matheson said the Roll With Joe pacer displays a unique character and temperament in training that would test any trainer's patience.

"...he bucks and kicks - he is not nasty, he is just naughty.

"He is like a naughty little five-year-old kid.

"He just needs to grow up and mature."

The Croupier keeps Matheson on his toes by throwing new surprises at him every day.

"Every day you take him out he will do something different.

"You can put a blind [on] and he will run away from it - we have had poles on him, everything.

"We have got him where we have got him now, and we just go with it."

The Croupier does not just limit his naughty antics to his home stable.

He also brings them to the racetrack.

"Ellie even said during the run he was gawking around, and he galloped three times in the preliminary."

Matheson said he expects The Croupier to tone down his wicked ways over time.

And as time wears on, he also expects the horse to develop further physically and become a serious racehorse.

"It is all in front of him - all we are doing now is educating him for next year."

The Croupier impressed with his good form at the start of this season before Matheson sent him for a spell.

The 4yr-old is raced by his breeder, Philip Hewitson.

Matheson said the progeny of the pacer's dam, Sam's Beach Babe, were a pointer to The Croupier getting better as he gets older.

"The breed hits its straps at 5, so we are not even worried about him as a 4yr-old.

"Vanhalem and Freyberg had their best years ... at 6.

"Freyberg was only a c3 here, and he went on to run in the Interdominions."

Thursday night's win was The Croupier's fourth run back from that break, and Matheson said the horse was still working towards returning to peak fitness.

"We tipped him out and gave him a big, big spell ... It is going to take him a bit to get him back to his best."

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