Poutama hoping for big finale at Manawatu

by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

Andre Poutama is hoping to go out with a bang at Palmerston North this afternoon.

The Pukekohe-based trainer-driver has a good book of six drives at the mini meeting in what will be a finale of sorts.

"It's actually my last meeting there for the season," says Poutama.

With a young family of three children and work commitments at Lincoln Farms and training his own team of seven, Poutama says something had to give and that's why he's decided not to make the regular six or more hour drive from South Auckland to Palmerston North for the rest of the season.

In race one, the Thank You Bryce and Eva Handicap Trot, he drives last start winner Johnny Who for his uncle and local trainer Stephen Doody.

"He's off 30 metres this time though so it's a different scenario but he's a chance. Mr Monty looks the hardest to beat," Poutama says, "Johnny is more top four."

Also trained by Doody, Mr Monty is currently at $5 on the fixed odds with Johnny Know at $6.50.

There's a family connection to his second drive of the day in the Book For Xmas Function 14 december Mobile Pace. Toe the Line, also trained by Doody, is raced on lease by Poutama's parents Liz and Warren.

"He's no world beater but it's a winnable race for him"

Second at his last start, Toe The Line is currently a $2.80 favourite.

Poutama's best chance, by his own assessment, is Obadiah Dragon in the Congratulations Ray Dempsey Life Member Mobile Pace.

Trained by Ray Green he's coming off a second behind Minjee at Cambridge last month.

"The last time he was here (Manawatu) he was unlucky and never got clear."

He's been backed in to $1.85 to make it win number one from his eighth start.

After winning at Auckland in an amateur drivers' race last start, Proviseur heads south for trainer Craig Sharpe in the Doug Bradley Sponsors Lounge Mobile pace.

"He has to be driven with one run," says Poutama, who says he's an each way chance at $10 and $2.80.

Major Achievement is in the "same boat" .

"He has a good turn of foot but he is still green."

He's at $8 in the markets.

Whiskey On The Rocks completes Poutama's day in the Racing Again 21st and 23rd November Mobile Pace. He is a $5.50 third favourite behind Lady la Salle and Greater Good.

"He was fourth last start and should be better with a run under his belt."

So how does Poutama sum up his last drives at Manawatu for a while - "they are not bad at all!".

Race 1 is at 2.59pm with the sixth and last going at 5.04pm.

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