500th race start for veteran pacer
By Adam Hamilton
History will be made at Albion Park in Queensland on Tuesday.
Remarkable veteran pacer Lancelot Bromac will be the first horse – thoroughbred or standardbred – to have 500 race starts.
The Stewart Dickson-trained 13-year-old steps out at 4.52pm NZ time in the fifth race at Albion Park – fittingly named the Happy 500th Start Lance Pace over 1660m.
And the old boy isn’t spluttering to the milestone, either.
He’s run second at two of his past three starts, including last Tuesday in a similar race at Albion Park.
Late last year he eclipsed the Kiwi-bred Destreos’ record for the most starts by an Aussie pacer at 486.
Lancelot Bromac’s 499 starts have landed 33 wins, 72 seconds, 61 thirds and $376,652 in prize money.
Young gun Angus Garrard has been his regular driver since late last year.
Garrard was just eight years old when Lancelot Bromac had his first start at the now defunct Gold Coast harness track way back on May 11, 2012.
Almost a decade has passed since.
“He’s been such a big part of my life,” Dickson said. “I’ve had him since day one. I bought him for $5000 from Tony Price, who was a huge owner-breeder at the time, and he said ‘pay me when he’s won a race’, which only took three starts.
“He really is part of the family and I see him most mornings when I walk out the back door because he’s trained out of a paddock.
“He’s never had an injury and I think he’s only had one spell of two weeks in that whole time. Even then, he was standing at the gate all the time wanting to get back into it.”
Dickson said the milestone doesn’t mean the end for Lancelot Bromac.
“No, he’ll tell us when he’s had enough and there’s no signs of that yet,” he said. “Like any horse, he’s had his ups and downs with form, but he’s racing well and giving his all still.
“He went 1min53.8sec early in his career and he’s lost a bit of speed, but he ran second in 1min56sec the other day so he’s not far off it.
“Wouldn’t it be a fairy tale if he could win his 500th start.”