Stormont poised for North Otago spoils
By Mike Love
Weedons trainer James Stormont will be looking for his first taste of Oamaru success as both a trainer and a driver when he lines up two runners on Sunday.
“It’s the first time for training with a runner at Oamaru! I’ve been to Ashburton as a trainer, but never further south, so it's all new to me.”
A former Aucklander who's now based in Canterbury, Stormont has had one drive around Oamaru racetrack when he steered Bold Sharvid into second placing behind Blossom Lady in the 1990 Hannon Memorial.
The first of his runners today, Hayley Zhor ($16.00FF), lines up in race 2 the Oamaru Club maiden trot.
The three-year-old Majestic Son filly let herself down with an early gallop on debut, and again at the trials, but Stormont suggests there is a motor under the bonnet.
“She’s still learning. She made up a lot of ground at the trials since her first race.
“If she trots all the way I think she can run in the first 4.”
Stormont's best chance looks to be five-year-old Sweet Lou gelding Hey Bartender ($1.90FF) in race 9, the Placemakers Oamaru Cup. He has not raced since running second in the Summer Cup to Copy That at Alexandra Park back in December 2022.
“He had a joint problem. We gave him a good four or five months out and brought him up slowly for six months.”
Stormont is confident he will give a good account.
“I didn’t want to give him a gut buster first up, so this race looks ideal for him.
“He had a hard trial at Addington, then I snuck him to a grass workout at Motukarara. It was a nice workout.
“He’s not screwed down. But he’s got a lot of natural ability.”
All things going well Hey Bartender and Stormont will likely head to Kaikoura for the NZB Standardbred Sales Classic.
“We might look at Addington next week, but probably go straight to Kaikoura.”
Stormont trains a team of three from his recently established Weedons base.