Poutama in fine form at Cambridge

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Andre Poutama was in fine form at Cambridge on Thursday night, driving a treble at the seven-race meeting.

Factor in that one race was for amateur drivers, and he’s effectively driven half of the card.

The winning trio were a real cross section too – a couple of veterans, a couple of cast offs and all three with small-time trainers.

Starry Star got the night off on the right foot for Poutama, the Bettor’s Delight filly capitalising on cushy run in front to win.

She’s trained and leased by Kenny Tarrant, who was already celebrating after getting engaged last week.

Tarrant, who works with Jay Abernethy in Papakura, picked up Starry Star off former trainer, Glen Harwood, three months ago.

Poutama had driven her at the trials and the most recent of her prior three starts, at Auckland.

“I drove it for the first time at the trials and it didn’t go too bad, I thought,” said Poutama.

“And I thought it went alright last time at Auckland, they just sprinted home and she couldn’t get in to it.

“Once I found out she drew two at Cambridge, I figured she’d be tough to roll.

“If we could go slow and just run the last quarter, they would struggle to get past her.”

That’s exactly what transpired and it gave Tarrant, formerly based in Palmerston North, his first Cambridge winner and 19th of his training career.

Poutama believes Starry Star “should win another one away from Auckland” but whether that is in Tarrant’s colours remains to be seen.

He moves to Australia permanently in February with his bride-to-be.

“She’s run a quarter in 27.7 before so that should see her win another race somewhere.

“She probably doesn’t want to strike another hard field though.”

Poutama couldn’t believe his luck when 13-year-old trotting mare Above The Rest defied a big field of trotters at better than $40 odds.

The daughter of Sundon is trained in Hawera by Willie Fleming, who purchased her from the estate of her late breeder/owner and trainer, Keith Chittenden.

“I was even surprised myself.

“I let her roll along and was lucky enough to get three good quarters.

“Get them trotting and they’ll do the rest, that’s half the battle in these races.”

Rounding out his night to remember was comeback mare Vibe, trained in Glenbrook by Don Douglas along with his son, Revel.

She recently returned from 18 months on the sideline after breaking a hind leg and has now won two of four starts for the Douglas’ and Poutama.

Last night she capitalized on a plum one-one trip in the night’s main pace and finished better than race favourite Patanjali to score.

“She was good but I wasn’t surprised,” said Poutama.

“I thought she went really good last time – got home well against the run of the race.

“She was hanging in a bit but always travelling and around that final bend I was lucky enough to have a gap open up for her.”

Vibe is due to be served, most likely by He’s Watching, and will only race for a few more months.

While Poutama hopes to continue winning races as a driver over summer, he is looking for his burgeoning training career to come ahead as well.

“I think Kai Time should pick up another one shortly.

“He doesn’t like being in tight situations and just needs to be in the clear and out of traffic.”

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