Southland Swede Enochsson raring to go
By Jonny Turner
As soon as lockdown is over the Swedish flag will fly proudly at racetracks around the south.
That’s because popular Swedish-born horsewoman Maria Enochsson has gained her trainer’s licence.
It was a simple task when the longtime Spreydon Lodge employee,known simply to many as “Swede”, had to choose her colours.
“If I was ever going to get a licence, which I should have done a long time ago probably, they were always going to be the colours,” Enochsson said.
Enochsson is now based in Te Anau and training from a new property set up by Wayne McEwan.
The move came after the trainer ended her long tenure at Spreydon Lodge, bought a van and did some travelling around the South Island.
“I did a bit of cherry picking, I don’t recommend it, it was very boring,” Enochsson said.
“And I found out I don’t like living in a van, I bought it in November and sold it in January.”
“I helped out at Cran and Chrissie Dalgety’s in between times and stayed there for a while.
“Then I was up in Blenheim, I really liked it up there.”
“When I was travelling around after finishing cherry picking I came down to Te Anau.”
“I was going to catch up with Wayne because I used to stay there when I came down with the Spreydon team, but I actually missed him.”
“But then he rang me and asked me what I was doing at that stage.”
“I had no plans after my contract ran out in Blenheim, so he offered me to come down here and see how it was going to work out.”
Enochsson’s move south to work for McEwan and be able to train her own horses has allowed her to get back to her Swedish roots a little.
“I do miss in Sweden – we would never go on a track – we would be out in the forest.”
“I miss never going on the same road, we would doing big loops on sandy roads.”
“I was down in Invercargill working a few horses at the beach, I think it’s great for trotters.”
“I love the interval training, I am a big fan of that, I know myself the best way to get fit is to do a lot of interval training.”
“So I have been doing a bit of that at Wayne’s, too, he has got a track that’s about 800m and he’s got a big jog track around the outside.”
“One thing I have been doing at the beach and here a lot, in Sweden we never used to work on a stopwatch, would we just work on feeling.”
“So, it’s a bit scary when you’ve been working on a track working certain times.”
“It's that trusting that feeling rather than going on the watch.”
It's appropriate that Enochsson’s first starter has a touch of European blood in her – albeit from way over in France.
The trainer will start Peak four-year-old maiden trotting mare Merkel at the first meeting after lockdown, which will hopefully be at Ascot Park on Sunday.
“She is such a beautiful mannered horse, I think that is one thing she has got in her favour.”
“She wants to trot and I think she will be a pretty versatile horse – I think she could run anywhere in the field.”
While most new trainers have one race in mind – the New Zealand Cup – as the one they would love to win it is understandable why it’s not the one for Enochsson.
Her dream is to win the Elitloppet, in her homeland.