Fleming brings up the half century

It's been 30 years in the making but Taranaki stalwart Willie Fleming has clocked up his 50th training success.

"It's taken a while hasn't it?" he laughs.

At Manawatu on Monday Run Mason Man and driver Sailesh Abernethy won the Wairarapa Raceway 15th November Mobile Pace.

"I was hopeful and thought with his gate speed he'd go to the front and with Sailesh being such a good front running driver that they would leave him alone but it didn't work out like that did it?"

Run Mason Run went to the front alright but favourite Sharp Lou took him on with more than a lap to go. While Sharp Lou eventually faded to finish eighth Run Mason Run just kept on keeping on to win by a length and a quarter, for his third win in 24 starts.

"I thought I was on 49 wins and I said to my mate on the way home, I reckon that's my 50th."

A hobby trainer and retired dairy farmer Fleming and wife Brenda have a 600 metre track on their 30 hectares at Hawera. He started training in 1992 and his 50th winner came from his 1065th starter.

"I do pretty much all my own horses, ones that I have bred or bought, and Brenda does a lot of the work with them too."

Run Mason Run is the only race ready horse he has at the moment though there are three others on the go, and three mares in foal as well.

Racing's always been big with the Fleming family, starting with his own dad (also called Willie) and other wider family members including cousins Phil and Laurie.

Willie Fleming's best season was the seven winners he had in 2008, with Matai Man and Romantic Star his two stand-outs.

"Matai Man (5 wins from 48 starts) was potentially the best but he got an infection in a fetlock and that was the end of him."

Romantic Star had six wins in this country and was also good enough to finish fourth in the 2008 Waikato Flying Mile won by Baileys Dream.

He then headed to North America.

"He won four races for us there and I warmed up him at the Meadowlands (New Jersey) .. fun wise he was our best horse."

Hopeful the next champion is just around the corner Fleming is always looking forward.

"We'll just keep rolling on to the next 50."

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