Allen heads to Timaru with spring in his step
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
It’s not every day Ricky Allen gets to race for a $20,000 purse with his trotter Cody Banner, but he will get that chance at Timaru on Sunday courtesy of the Spring Rewards initiative.
The pacing-bred trotter has been in a purple patch of form, winning two and runner-up in one of his last four starts, and Allen is hoping the Bettor’s Delight gelding can get the lion’s share of the prizemoney on offer in the Canterbury Long Run Roofing Timaru Spring Rewards Handicap Trot (2600m).
“I am very happy with Cody. He has always had a bit of speed but he is a lot more organised now, a lot more controllable, and his gait is a lot safer. I am very pleased with him,” Allen said.
“His last start he had petrol in the tank at the end and his previous two starts he was pretty unlucky.
“I am looking forward to Sunday. Paul Nairn’s one (Resolve) will be very hard to beat but I couldn’t be happier with Cody.”
Purchased as a pacing prospect from the yearling sales, it soon became apparent Cody Banner had an inclination to trot and came into Allen’s care after passing few a couple of stables.
“He came from Graeme Anderson who bought him at the yearling sales for $30,000 and they couldn’t get him to pace. Even back then he could trot,” Allen said.
“He went to Brent White who took him to the workouts and trials a couple of times and he liked him a bit.
“He was going to take a bit of time and I don’t think the syndicate wanted to wait, and that is how I got him.
“The way he is improving I think he could have a bit of longevity. He is as sound as a bell, he works super on the beach and he is a clean-gaited horse.”
Allen has a love for square-gaiters and has primarily raced trotters in his nearly 50 years of training, with his passion spurred on by time in a trotting stable in Europe.
“I had my first winner back in 1973 at Methven. I have always had a horse not too far away. It has always been a passion and I prefer the straight-out trotters,” Allen said.
“I played rugby in Italy for Reggio Emilia in the second division and I spent time in a stable over there. They only have trotters over there and that was good value.”
While he has a number of stable favourites over the years, Allen highlighted Rua Kenana as the best horse that has been in his care.
He trained the son of Inter du Pas to eight victories and a runner-up result in the Group 2 Rosso Antico Mobile Trot (2700m) at Alexandra Park in 1988.
He was later sold to Peter Blanchard for whom he won the Gr.3 New Zealand Trotting Championship (2600m) while still in Allen’s care.
“Rua Kennan would have been one of the best we have trained,” Allen said. “At the Easter meeting in the New Zealand Trotting Champs he beat Yankee Loch and a few others. It was a good field and he sat parked and dealt to them. He was pretty sensational.
“At that time we had just sold him to Peter Blanchard. We were caretaker trainers so we never really got the plaudits for training a Group Three winner.”
These days Allen just has the one runner in his barn and he enjoys getting up every morning to work his pride and joy at Katiki Beach.