American Me Goes Back-to-Back in Otaki Cup
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
American Me made it back-to-back wins in the El Cheapo Cars Otaki Cup (2000m) on Wednesday.
The five-year-old gelding won last year’s running and Auckland reinsman Jay Abernethy was once again in the bike to secure a three-quarter length victory over Ace Strike.
American Me won his previous start at Cambridge on Christmas Eve, but it was the interrupted journey home to Bulls following the race that was the biggest concern for Gale heading into Wednesday.
“I was a little worried that the trip back home after his run at Cambridge was long and arduous,” Gale said.
“There was unfortunately a serious accident around Lake Taupo and we had to be turned around and redirected. It turned a five-hour trip into a seven and a half trip home.
“I was a little bit worried that the combination with that and the hard race might have taken the edge off him, but it didn’t look like it had.
“I would normally stay the night and come back the next morning but I didn’t really want to travel back Christmas morning, so we came back after the races. It was a day meeting so we weren’t that late leaving, but we certainly weren’t early getting home.”
Gale was pleased with American Me’s efforts at the Kapiti Coast meeting.
“I was very happy,” he said. “Being a shorter journey he had to be put in the race early and to his credit he stuck to his guns, even though he did that work early.
“It reinforced the impression to us that he has strengthened and hopefully there is a bit more strengthening to come.”
The Country Cups Final has become his major goal this season and Gale has welcomed the addition to the racing calendar.
“When the series was announced we changed our programme with him, which is why he was underdone for a couple of races,” Gale said.
“We realised we came back a little bit early considering the aim would be these Country Cups races, and the final if he was good enough to qualify for it.
“I applaud the concept. It gives horses below that top level something worthwhile to aim for and a reason to keep them racing in New Zealand rather than selling them overseas.”
Gale also enjoyed a couple of placings at the six-race meeting on Wednesday courtesy of Dramatist and Clymenus.
“They both ran to the line well and you would like to think a win won’t be far away for either of them,” he said.