Bulls’ trainer turn­ing out in force

Gale hop­ing to pro­vide an­other win­ner at Te Awa­mutu like last year’s Black Chevron

Waipa Post - - Sport - BY COLIN THORSEN

All things go­ing to plan, Bulls trainer Doug Gale will again have a truck load of starters for the Grass Track Har­ness meet­ing at Waipa Race­course on Sat­ur­day.

Gale pro­duced the win­ner of the Brown & Pen­nell Te Awa­mutu Grass Cup Hand­i­cap Pace 12 months ago. Black Chevron, driven by Jay Aber­nethy, held on to beat race favourite Classie Amer­i­can (Dy­lan Fer­gu­son) by half a length.

Nei­ther the 2018 Cup win­ner or run­ner-up will be among the Cup field this year.

Te Awa­mutu pacer Classie Amer­i­can, win­ner of the 2018 North Is­land Coun­try Cups Cham­pi­onship, was sold last month and on the last flight to Aus­tralia be­fore Christ­mas. The five-year-old has yet to start for trainer Grant Dixon whose com­plex is si­t­u­ated just out of Bris­bane.

For­mer owner/trainer of Classie Amer­i­can, Ron Richard­son, will have trot­ter Cruise Alaska start­ing at Te Awa­mutu.

Richard­son said he was de­lighted with the run of Cruise Alaska when win­ning first start at Auck­land on De­cem­ber 15. Start two was not as im­pres­sive, the trot­ter be­ing dis­qual­i­fied after gal­lop­ing. Black Chevron has been sub­se­quently sold to an Amer­i­can in­ter­est.

Gale will, how­ever, be rep­re­sented by an­other one of his Bulls team, Got A Mo­ment, in the Te Awa­mutu Cup, pro­vided the pacer has come through his start in the Te Aroha Cup un­scathed.

Gale was in­ducted into the New Zealand Trot­ting Hall-OfFame in 2014 for his 608 train­ing vic­to­ries since 1988. Any trainer who con­di­tions more than 500 win­ners in his or her ca­reer au­to­mat­i­cally be­comes an in­ductee. He now has 5577 life­time starts for 601 win­ners, 614 sec­onds and 597 thirds for stakes of $5.4m. He’s also trained a fur­ther 49 more with Wendy Wil­liams from 2007-2009, and 25 with Mau­rice Calder from 2000-2001.

His best sea­son was in 1998 when he trained 59 win­ners and net­ted $616,343 in stakes. That was a year after his great­est tri­umph — Kate’s First and Peter Fer­gu­son win­ning the Auck­land Cup by a head from Brab­ham.

He also trained Five Star Anvil to run sec­ond be­hind Rus­s­ley Ras­cal in the 2010 Wood­lands North­ern Derby, and Mo­tor­ing Anvil third be­hind Holmes D G and An­nie’s Boy in the 1998 New Zealand Derby.

Gale trains his team from Scott’s Ferry Beach, near Bulls. His base is just 30 min­utes from the Manawatu¯ har­ness rac­ing track in Palmer­ston North.

“I have al­ways been a beach trainer. In fact my ca­reer started off in the 1980s when train­ers like Peter Wolfenden, Frank Cooney and Mike Ni­cholas would send their horses to me to have them swum and beach trained.

“It saved them from turn­ing them out. I also had a pool which helped me get a few,” the Grey Lynn-born and Mt Al­bert Gram­mar ed­u­cated horse­man said.

An Auck­land Univer­sity grad­u­ate, for­mer school teacher, and rac­ing sube­d­i­tor with the New Zealand Her­ald, Gale said he al­ways loved the trots and yearned to work in an out­side job.

“I have no in­ten­tion of re­tir­ing. I may have slowed down a bit, but it is still my am­bi­tion to win a derby. I’ve gone close, plac­ing sec­ond and third.”

Te Awa­mutu trainer Mur­ray Lo­gan will start Toro De­lago on home turf, back­ing up from plac­ing third at Te Aroha on Sat­ur­day.

Toro De­lago kick-started this cam­paign plac­ing sec­ond at Cam­bridge, then bat­tled for sixth against a lot faster and stronger field next start at Cam­bridge.

After rac­ing only once as a three-year-old, Toro De­lago im­pressed win­ning twice on grass last year.

“He was de­hy­drated early last year but once we got that sorted he started rac­ing con­sis­tently,” said Lo­gan.

Toro De­lago’s dam Shirley won three races when trained by Lo­gan. Other Lo­gan win­ners have been Lady Car­lina (2), Alba Toff (4) and Vi­colo Way (3) in NZ and (6) in Aus­tralia.

Photo / Race Im­ages

Ron Richard­son Te Awa­mutu-trained Cruise Alaska, pic­tured win­ning race seven at Auck­land on De­cem­ber 15 when driven by Peter Fer­gu­son, will start at Te Awa­mutu on Sat­ur­day.

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