Persistence rewarded at Timaru
by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
South Canterbury trainer Mike Curry admits "it was all pretty emotional" when his project horse Real Men Wear Pink won his first race at Timaru yesterday.
"We had to start from scratch with him," says Curry, who lives and trains at Washdyke Racecourse, "it's taken hours and hours but he's a lovely boy."
By Art Major out of seven-race winner Chanelle Bromac, Real Men Wear Pink opened his account at start number three after Morrison slotted the four-year-old gelding into the one-one and then produced a determined finish to win by half a length.
"It was a perfect drive from him, I can't rate the guy highly enough."
When Curry picked up the horse a year ago the initial signs weren't good.
"He couldn't pace," says Curry.
He'd been entrusted with the horse from Helen and Chanelle Dickie, who co-bred the horse with Chrissie Dalgety.
Now Curry and the Dickies share in his ownership.
"The Dickies have followed his progress and Helen got a huge thrill being there yesterday."
It took three months after getting Real Men Wear Pink before there were the first signs of progress.
"One day he was on the jogger and he started free-legged pacing .... I just about fell out of the cart."
Morrison and Colin De Filippi have been key figures in the horse's development.
"Their advice has been amazing," says Curry.
"Colin always said being an Art Major he'd take time."
Morrison, who's a farrier as well as a top driver, also experimented with a number of shoeing options for the horse, and drove him regularly at the trials in preparation for his race day debut.
He was "skittled" in his first race at Methven and then run home well for fifth at Oamaru.
To get to the winner's circle has been worth the wait.
"It took ages and I'm so proud of the horse....I was over the moon, it was all pretty emotional," said Curry.
Curry, a retired hobby trainer, has just two horses in work with Kingsdown Atom winning three times - "they are like the best of mates."
The Curry family has a long association with the Kingsdown breed - there have been around a dozen of them overall, with his grandfather training in the 1950s and his father Lester producing 32 winners in the 1960-90s.
As for what's next for his two pacers? They will next line up at Oamaru on Waimate Cup day on Sunday, March 27.