Austin seeking sentimental win
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Sentimentality has drawn Rodger Austin to Nelson on Sunday where he hopes to take out the race named in honour of his father, Mike Austin.
Mike Austin was synonymous with the trotting gait and bred Idle Stuartia, who his son will line-up in the Mike Austin Memorial Trot (2400m) this weekend.
“He bred her and the race is one of the main reasons why we are going to Nelson,” Austin said.
The daughter of Superfast Stuart finished eighth on the opening day of the meeting and Austin is hoping she has taken plenty of improvement from the run.
Idle Stuartia last raced in November, where she ran third at Geraldine over 2500m, and subsequently underwent a wind operation.
Austin was happy with the way she was progressing and thought Nelson was a good starting point for her preparation.
“We weren’t going to go to Nelson, but she seemed to be working quite well so we thought we would take her up there,” he said.
“She probably needed the run on the first day as she hadn’t had a run in a while and hadn’t had a trial or anything.”
While hopeful of a better showing on Sunday, Austin has his expectations firmly in check.
“We are going to line her up, but she has had a bit of a wind problem,” he said.
“We had an operation done on her, but I don’t think it has been that successful. We will just see what happens on Sunday.
“She will be looking to go to the broodmare paddock soon. Unfortunately, we have probably missed this season now and we will have to wait until next season.”
Austin hasn’t been able to enjoy a break away to Nelson, instead entrusting Idle Stuartia to the care of his good friend Tim Trathen while he prepares to move properties.
“My friend Tim Trathen is looking after the horse. We are moving properties shortly, so that is why we couldn’t go,” Austin said.
“We bought Denis and Jill Smolenski’s old place.”
After the move, Austin is looking forward to welcoming back some of his younger stock to his stable.
“I have got a few to come into work after we have moved. We have a couple of three-year-olds that qualified last season,” he said.
I have got a three-year-old filly, She’s Got Sass, that I raced last season. She raced in the Harness Millions.
“She wasn’t up to the top two-year-olds, but when she comes back, I think she will be a nice maiden.”