House gets double at “The Alamo”

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Michael House has carved out a solid record at Manawatu Raceway over the last few years, and that continued on Tuesday at the track he has dubbed “The Alamo of Central Districts harness racing”.

The Prebbleton trainer opened his account with Gazza Galleon who ran away to a comfortable six length victory in the Trevor Harris Memorial Handicap Trot (2500m).

The five-year-old trotter finished runner-up last week at Palmerston North and House said he expected another good showing on Tuesday.

“He has just gone through the motions and got the business done,” House said. “He is quite a talented wee horse but he has got some issues.”

Two races later stablemate Chase The Hat Trick secured a three-quarter length win in the Rubbish & Junk 0800 JUNKIT Mobile Pace (2000m).

Driver Peter Ferguson secured an early trail behind Doctor Love who he tracked throughout before he began to tire at the 400m mark.

Stablemate Santanna Mach led the field into the home straight after sitting parked, while Ferguson was able to extricate his charge from the trail and run down Santanna Mach to win, with The Kapiti Express running home late to capture second.

House was pleased with the result, but believes Santanna Mach would have been the victor had their runs been reversed.

“Chase The Hat Trick was good,” House said. “Santana Mach would have beaten him if he had a better run. He was driven pretty hard and aggressive and he only went down because of the run, and Chase The Hat Trick had a better run.

“Chase The Hat Trick is bound for Christchurch tonight and we will assess his future in the next few days.”

House said it is a massive undertaking to travel his team to Palmerston North from his Prebbleton base, but the level of racing in the region suits many of his horses.

“We have quite a process that we go through with transporting them,” he said.

“It is not easy what these horses go through and I don’t make any long range plans for them. They have to injure a lot.

“It is part of the business plan - if I have got a lot of average horses, they have got to race somewhere.

“If you target it you have got to get a result.”

House cited programming issues as the catalyst for his major support for regional racing with the likes of Manawatu and Southland, and he believes Central Districts racing is integral to harness racing in New Zealand.

“You can’t reproduce that racing at Addington,” he said.

“I can nominate for a place like Invercargill or Manawatu and I know the rating 42 horse is going to race horses in the same grade and not used to fill a field at Addington racing rating 50 horses.

“The reliability is why I support it so much. Without Manawatu racing, the Central Districts would die.

“The Manawatu is The Alamo of harness racing in the Central Districts.”

Meanwhile, House was busy at New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred’s yearling sale in Christchurch trying to source his next stable star.

“Neil Rich bought a trotter which I will end up training. She is a lovely filly out of the Roydon Lodge draft. Lot 141, a Muscle Mass filly out of Roydon’s Jewel.

“I missed on a few today (Tuesday) and didn’t come home with anything. It’s just one of those days.

“We will be a bit more aggressive tomorrow, so hopefully I can get a couple of nice colts to race and try and get a better quality horse than what we have got.”

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