Bryers buoyant about trotting pair
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Blenheim trainer Merv Bryers has made the long trek down to Christchurch where he will line-up Monaro Mako and Kenny Keko in the Lamb & Hayward Trot (2600m) at Addington Raceway on Sunday.
Monaro Mako recorded his maiden victory at the track earlier this month and Bryers said his patience is finally starting to pay off with the three-year-old gelding.
“He has improved a lot. He is going really well at the moment,” Bryers said.
“I said to John (Dunn, driver) before his last start that he had been working really well, and he said to me after the race ‘you are right’.”
Monaro Mako will be joined in Sunday’s race by stablemate Kenny Keko and Bryers is expecting an improved performance from the filly after she faded late last start after sitting parked.
“I am hoping that the filly will go away. She normally steps pretty good, but she got caught flat-footed last start. Hopefully she will lead and he will trail,” Bryers said.
“She is a little bit green. When she is left out in the open she gets a little bit lost. I still think it was a pretty good run from her last start with the step up in grade.”
While pleased with both runners heading into Sunday, Bryers is leaning towards Monaro Mako as his better chance.
“Monaro Mako would be the pick of the two, he has been working the better of the two lately, he is thriving,” he said.
While it is a long trip from Blenheim to Christchurch, Bryers said it won’t concern his two runners, with the pair now being seasoned travellers.
“The travel won’t affect them at all. I think they quite like going down there,” he said.
“We have got an uncle that lives in Woodend and he has got a 12 acre block there with a track, so it works out really well for us. We head down on Saturday, race Sunday, and come back on Monday.”
While Bryers has been training for the last four seasons, his career in harness racing spans back to the 1970s.
“When I left school I was four foot eight and I went to work with horses in Takanini, but then I started to grow and I was too big to be a jockey, so I got involved with the trotters and started to work for Monty Kerr,” he said.
“I became what they called a probationary driver, which is now a junior driver, and I had quite a few winners in my first year of driving, and then Harness Racing New Zealand gave me an open license.
“I was out on my own then and it was really hard. I raced for about a year or so and then I walked away from it.”
Bryers returned to racing in the 1990s before he took another sabbatical. When he moved to Blenheim a couple of years ago his urge to train returned once more.
“My wife and I moved to Blenheim, and I saw the trotting track there and decided to get involved in racing again,” he said.
“We started off with Monaro Maro two seasons ago, which Maurice Wharton gave to us because she was only a little wee thing.
“She went on to perform well for us and now she is going really well over in Australia.”
Monaro Maro won five races for Bryers before she was sold to Australia where she has won a further 13 races, including the Gr.3 Horsham Trotters Cup (2700m), Gr.3 Derby Royale Trotters Free-For-All (2240m), and Gr.2 Matriarch Trot (2240m).
Monaro Mako is a half-brother to the in-form mare, and Bryers is hoping he can turn out half as good as his sibling.