Drake returns to old stomping ground

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Proud is the word Andrew Drake is using to describe his return to his hometown of Palmerston North on Tuesday.

The man from Manawatu spent his formative years in the outback of the harness racing world and returns as the co-trainer of one of the country’s leading stables, Lincoln Farms.

“I’m back in the old stomping ground and it does feel good,” said Drake, who trains in partnership with Ray Green.

The stable will have three runners at Manawatu Raceway on Tuesday including Susie Reignmaker in the Speights Ale House Mobile Pace (2000m).

“Off her run last start I thought she went super and Zac (Butcher, driver) was pretty chuffed when he came back in,” Drake said.

“She has come a long way and the boys who own her live in Waikanae, so they are going to come up to watch her.

“I do like her chances.”

Drake said the stable is also using the trip to Palmerston North to try and build the confidence of Arden’s Illusion who will have his second career start in the Cartown Mobile Pace (2000m).

“Monika (Ranger) drove him first-up at Cambridge and he went good for what he is. That was his first time off the property since he had been bought from the sales,” Drake said.

“I said to John Street, Ian, and Ray the a trip away will either make him or it won’t. He is a horse that will be competitive and I think seeing him draw two he will get off the gate and hopefully get a bit of cover.

“There is not much size to him, but he is a gelding now and is a wee dude, so hopefully it does make him.”

Major Thomas will round out the stable’s trio of runners in The Cobb Mobile Pace (2000m).

“He is a lovely horse around the barn and to work with but come to the races and I don’t know where his mind goes to,” Drake said.

“We have changed a bit of gear on him and hopefully that works.

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