American Me topples hotpot in impressive win

By Michael Guerin

There is no point asking Brent White how he and son Tim rejuvenate horses like Friday night’s surprise Addington winner American Me.

Because the Ashburton trainer says there is no special training regime or techniques that have made them one of those stables punters always look twice at these days.

“We just pat them and work them, that’s about it,” jokes Brent.

The father and son team prepared American Me for his second win in his last three starts courtesy of a lovely Sarah O’Reilly drive in the $14,000 Sweet Success With Sweet Lou Pace.

American Me was undoubtedly aided by hot favourite Aardie’s Express peaking on her surging run at the 150m mark in her first start in 10 months but the fact American Me is winning feature races at Addington is remarkable in itself.

A smart youngster, he looked to be coming to the end of the road for long-time trainer Doug Gale when he was moved to Gavin Smith but he had little luck with the six-year-old, although he claimed a second in the Tuapeka Cup and fifth in the Sales Series Pace at Kaikoura.

So the owners got in touch with O’Reilly, who works for the Whites, and asked if they would take the horses and while they were reluctant, after a chat with the owners they accepted him.

“We don’t like taking horses off other people but Gavin was just having no luck with the horse and we have all been there,” says Brent.

“We haven’t done anything radical, we don’t swim them or do much special but I think we are lucky to have such a great track to work on.

“They keep the main racing surface here at Ashburton with plenty of top on it and of the trainers here I probably use the main track more than most.”

American Me has always appealed as a Country Cups horse and has won a couple at Cambridge and Otaki but while that was initially what White thought was his logical goal, he now says he might have to aim higher.

“He is on a mark now that probably means we have to give him his shot at the early open class races and see how he measures up.

“So we will have him and Got You Covered for those.”

While beaten Aardie’s Express left no doubt she is back and ready to be a player, looking all class coming from last until her condition gave out.

On a night where Paul Nairn brought three horses to the races for two wins and a quinella, including an impressive debut from Head Em Up, the emotional moment of the meeting came in the Darren DeFilippi Memorial, as it does on this night every year.

It was taken out by Light Of Da Moon after an aggressive drive from young Sam Thornley but the mare had been driven in two of her recent starts by Darren’s father, the legend himself Colin DeFilippi.

“That was a nice touch wasn’t it?” said trainer Robbie Holmes.

“It means a lot to us to win this race as it does for whoever wins it every year,” says Holmes.

He calls Light Of Da Moon untapped and says she hasn’t finished winning yet and neither clearly has Holmes as he has 30 horses in work with more to come back in.

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