Pacing-bred mare to make trotting debut
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Easy McCartney will join the dual-gaited club at Rangiora on Sunday when she contests the Anne Thompson Memorial Graduation Series (Heat 2) Trot (2000m).
A daughter of Net Ten EOM, the five-year-old mare was bred to pace and had three starts in that gait, however, she had always shown an aptitude to trot.
Around Christmas time last year, breeder-owner-trainer Allan Shutkowski caved to the notion of trying her as a trotter and she has made steady progress since then.
“She is bred to pace but she has always been a trotter, it has just taken time,” Shutkowski said.
“She has forgotten all about pacing now, it would be sad if I put the hopples on her, she would be pretty grumpy.”
Easy McCartney qualified in a solo trial at Waterlea Raceway last month, and while she only just met the qualifying mark, Shutkowski said there were a number of underlying factors.
“When she qualified solo the other day, she stepped backwards from the tape and lost a couple of seconds,” he said.
“There was also a new marker on the track that wasn’t there the day before and she (shied at that and) went way out into the middle of the track and lost another couple of seconds, but just kept trotting.
“She got in just under the time but she didn’t go too bad.”
Shutkowski is looking forward to his mare making her trotting debut this weekend but admitted this preparation is more of an educational pursuit and he believes she will be more competitive later in the year.
“I think we have just got to get her through the first 600-700m (on Sunday),” he said.
“If she decides she wants to step and run, she is quite quick. But that will be the learning curve. Our main aim is to get her around in one piece.
“I think she will be a lot stronger after this preparation and we are looking more towards spring and summer racing with her.
“But she has done enough work and if she trotted all the way she will be there at the finish.”
Shutkowski said he will keep Easy McCartney’s gear simple on Sunday and while he toyed with the idea of driving her himself, he has elected to put veteran driver Jim Curtin in the cart.
“I was thinking of driving her myself, but I am at the age where I haven’t had a drive for a couple of years, and I don’t really want to,” he said.
“We are putting the challenger cart on her, that is what I have been working her in. I have got a flash one but I don’t think it will suit her at the moment, so I am going to keep things simple.”
Easy McCartney could bookmark a standout weekend for pacing-bred trotters, with Double Delight winning the Gr.3 Alabar Northern Trotting Oaks (2200m) at Alexandra Park on Friday night.