Bulls’ trainer turning out in force
Gale hoping to provide another winner at Te Awamutu like last year’s Black Chevron
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.
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.