McGowan goes back to back at Cambridge

By Michael Guerin

David McGowan didn’t enjoy the kind of celebration you might expect after equalling his best driving season in 23 years at Cambridge on Thursday night.

McGowan, who trains in partnership with wife Clare, made it two driving wins on consecutive Thursdays at Cambridge when Olegro was too good in the maiden trot.

That followed McGowan reining Castana to win at the same venue last week and those two driving successes equal McGowan’s best season in the cart since 1999.

Back then McGowan drove four winners and while he has driven two in a term plenty of times since, two in a week in a stretch for a man who rarely pilots them on race night.

“Bunty Hughes started ribbing me when I was coming back in to the stables, asking what was going on me winning two weeks in a row,” laughed the popular McGowan.

So how did he celebrate one of the best weeks of the last decade?

“Well, I just got back the stables and put the horses away and I am going to stay here and sleep in the smoko room.

“I often do this after the races because it is 20 minutes to home from here and 20 minutes back in the morning and at my age I need my sleep.

“So I’m off to bed,” McGowan told HRNZ.

When he did nod off to sleep McGowan might dream of being in Sweden with Australian trotter Just Believe, who was starting the last leg of his trip to the Elitlopp aroound about the time Olegra was winning.

McGowan did the same trip with his and Clare’s best horse Special Force in 1999 and while Special Force went into his Elitlopp heat underdone and could only manage seventh, McGowan still often thinks of the experience.

“I loved it, every minute of it,” he says.

“I could have easily gone to live there (Sweden), it was wonderful.”

“I went and saw Greg Sugars (Just Believe’s driver) when he was here for The Race by Grins and told him to enjoy it and don’t worry about the travel, the horses just eat and drink, they don’t know they are flying.”

But the McGowans have plenty of talent to keep them busy at home, with their 30-strong team containing 23 trotters.

“We have some lovely horses around us and I think both Castana and this horse Olergo will win more races for sure.”

Olegro is out of McGowan’s former smart mare Inkyroe, whose own dam Scusi Boyz have left winners with every horse she has had to the races, the best being Adelle.

“I don’t drive him very often because he is Nate’s (stable junior driver, Nathan Delany) horse but he is suspended this week.

“I rang him and asked how I did and he said I did him proud. I told him I was proud of him because he has done so much work on this horse and done it so well.”

Other highlights at Cambridge included training doubles for the Graeme Rogerson/Dylan Ferguson partnership, trainer Peter Brown having his first winner in four years with Irish Whispers and driving doubles to Matty White and Zachary Butcher.

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