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Mataura trainer Lyndon Bond thrives on a trip away, and Rebel With A Grin showed his horses do too when winning at Oamaru yesterday.
The 3yr-old rewarded his trainer, who had been patiently waiting for the horse to crack a win after building consistent form, by bolting in by four and a-half lengths in race 5 for driver Nathan Williamson.
Rebel With A Grin had built excellent form leading in to his maiden win, with three second placings before his last-start sixth behind the classy Take A Bet.
The pacer just needed something extra to lift him from placegetter to race winner, and Bond joked that it was good Oamaru grass that was the race-winning ingredient.
‘‘We came up on Saturday night and stayed with Eion Latimer and I reckon it must have been ‘Lat’s’ good grass that did the trick.
‘‘It was awesome — he had been chugging away [but] not quite getting there, so it was great he could finally get a win.’’
Bond put Rebel With A Grin’s consistent form down to the horse developing physically during the racing season.
‘‘He has been a wee horse that doesn’t carry much condition.
‘‘So we have been feeding him up and trying to keep him strong and he has grown another leg, really.
‘‘He is enjoying his work and I think he is just a late-maturing 3yr-old.’’
Rebel With A Grin had worked his way down to 41 points before yesterday’s win.
That meant he had the scope to keep performing after rising in grade following his victory.
‘‘Nathan said the way he felt he is going to keep going forward.’’
Bond said the horse may get the opportunity to do that at a coming Addington meeting.
‘‘He might go up to Adding-ton. We will have a look.
‘‘Crusher Collins is going up for a mobile 1980m race, so he might go — the pair of them are happy together.’’
Crusher Collins finished third in race 3, which was won by Te Horo Dazzle.
Te Horo Dazzle prevailed by just a half-head margin after a home-straight battle with runner-up Break Out.
Crusher Collins was having her first run in almost two months, and Bond said she should take good improvement from it.
Rebel With A Grin yesterday became just the second New Zealand winner for his sire Smiling Shard.
The former star age-group pacer has left seven winners in Australia.
Smiling Shard, who has largely been a commercial flop at stud in New Zealand, has most recently continued his breeding career in country New South Wales.