Booty shakes punters again

NZ HARNESS NEWS 

Sheikh Yabooty shook punters for the second time in three starts when winning at long odds at Manawatu Raceway on Thursday.

She paid $35.50 on the tote, just two starts and two weeks after paying $22.10 when victorious at New Plymouth.

The Stratford mare, by Big Jim, has given her trainer, Phil Fleming, something to smile about after a lean season – her two recent wins contributing to his tally of three for the term.

“Overall, I’ve had a fairly disappointing season, compared to last year (seven wins).

“The horses have been going ok, just not behaving as well as they should.

“But I think I can have a good tail end to the season and hopefully this is the start of it.”

Sheikh Yabooty was at one stage in the rogue category, her tendency to hang costing her a couple of races earlier in the campaign.

“One day there at Otaki, I couldn’t believe it, she locked on one reign down the straight and I just couldn’t hook her out.

“Since then, we’ve added the pole and all that and it’s made her a lot happier.”

Coupled with this is the fact that she didn’t debut until this, her four-year-old season.

“She took a wee while to get organised and I’ve got to thank Stephen Doody for all the donkey work he’s done with her.

“She was a little bit erratic, I guess you could say a bit wayward with her steering.”

Fleming bred Sheikh Yabooty after borrowing a Dream Away mare, Girl Of Your Dreams, from fellow Taranaki trainer, Philip Macey.

“I liked her as a race horse; Todd Mitchell trained her and she had a lot of speed.

“She won a race at Auckland from the outside of the gate and it was a terrific effort.

“Phil wasn’t breeding from her any more and I was keen to get one out of her, so I borrowed her.

“She had been disappointing as a broodmare – the first was a good type that Phil sold to Aussie but it died when it got off the plane.

“The second one had the wobbles and got put down and the third was a midget by Falcon Seelster that never raced.

“Then there was an American Ideal that couldn’t pace and then that’s when Phil gave up on her.”

Fleming chose Big Jim out of loyalty to Alabar Stud.

“Alabar had been very good to the Hawera Harness Racing Club by giving us sponsorship and that particular year he was available.”

While she’s no superstar, he’s happy enough with the move.

“The Big Jims have a fair bit of bottom to them.

“She had to do a bit of work today and still found the line.”

From here on out, Fleming isn’t sure if there is much future for her in the Central Districts, though.

“She’s a rating 58 now and with the lack of horses she will end up racing the best ones after one more win.

“I might sell her as I have got quite a few around me and a few young ones coming through, too.”

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