Nairn's Affinity with Mt Harding

Paul Nairn thinks there could be an unusual reason for his affinity with Mt Harding Raceway.

The Canterbury trainer has trained 15 winners at the Methven track, which doesn’t sound a lot until you consider 382 of his career 384 winners in New Zealand have been trotters and Methven don’t race often and have only 3 or 4 trotting races per meeting at the most.

That and the fact Nairn doesn’t tend to line up horses for the sake of it and 15 trotting wins at Methven is no small feat, with the mighty Stig being one of those winners for Nairn.

The typical Paul Nairn horse would seem ideal for Methven, his horses often rich in stamina but some with little gait impurities that lend themselves to the big, open Methven track.

But Nairn jokes there is a far less obvious reason he gels with Mt Harding.

“I was born on a Methven race day,” he says, which raises the obvious question of how he even knows that.

“I was born on September 23, 1961 in a small hospital in Leeston and my grandfather came in to see my mother and meet me after he had been driving at the races at Methven.”

That grandfather, as many will know, was the legendary Jack Litten, who trained among others the great Caduceus and whose famous colours of the black with red and white chequered sash were passed on to Nairn who has further embellished with his own wonderful training deeds.

“Apart from being born on a Methven raceday, maybe my horses like it there because it is a big track and they all get their chance.”

Nairn takes just one rep, Tu Tangata (R9, No.10) to the big track today and says the son of Waterloo Sunset is still very much a work in progress even though he has won two of his seven starts.

“There is some ability there but he can still go rough, not just at the races but even at home.

“But he is from the Take A Moment family and a lot of them can take time so he might keep getting better.”

Tu Tangata’s last start was actually behind open class stablemate Matua Tana, who Nairn hoped to race at Addington on Friday but his race didn’t attract enough entries so he will now go there next week for the Summer Trotters Cup.

“I’d like to think he comes up well enough this campaign to go to Auckland again for the Rowe Cup.”

Nairn also has a northern trip penned in for his smart three-year-olds headed by $100,000 Ace Of Clubs winner Confessional, who was actually Nairn’s last Methven winner back in October.


"He is back in work as is Tectonic and The Ivy League and they will be set for the three-year-old races like the Sire’s Stakes and Northern Derby at Auckland.”


On the subject of people and horse who race well at Methven, punters could do worse than have a few dollars on Better Fly in race six today, with the little mare having recorded three of her five career wins at Mt Harding and ideally drawn at barrier 2 today.

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