Tim Trathen has birthday to remember at Nelson

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

What a day Tim Trathen had to mark his 55th birthday.

On Sunday at Nelson Trathen's speedy mare Ooga Chaka, a $900 purchase, won her third race in a new track record at Richmond Park.

"The fact that we are from Nelson originally and friends and family were there and it was my birthday it just worked out super well," says Trathen.

And he's dined out on the success a bit too.

"I've watched a video a few times," he admits.

When pressed on how many he says "between me, my wife and my mum probably 10 times - it was a great day."

Ooga Chaka went into the NBS Mobile Pace as the second favourite, behind Watermelon Sugar, after a luckless fourth on the first day last Friday.

Driver Bob Butt went back from his wide draw, settling second last only to unleash out wide to beat Franco Hoffman by three quarters of a length and Watermelon Sugar.

Her time of 1:54.1 was a new track record for mares over the mile.

"I was about 200 metres up the track and didn't think she'd picked them up."

But she had, giving her her third win from just six starts.

The bargain buy now has earnings of $28,815 for the Trathens who have a half share in the horse, as do two of Tim's mates Mark Newman and Chris "Spinner" White.

Based at West Melton near Christchurch, Trathen bought the horse on-line as a weanling in 2020 - "mine was the only bid"

By Downbytheseaside out of one race winner Sweet Jane, Ooga Chaka was named after the 1970s hit Hooked On A Feeling.

"I broke her in and it felt she had a good motor but was a bit weak early on."

After heading to the trials she was second on debut at Motukarara in September last year before going one better at Methven in October.

The four-year-old has never finished worse than fourth, and the way she powered home yesterday has clearly stirred up a lot of interest.

"There have been a few texts," Trathen says , "and some from the USA and Australia."

So is she for sale?

"I don't know but if it was big bikkies we might sell."

Trathen, who's currently sitting on 47 career wins since training his first winner (Seafield Kent) just over 30 years ago, now plans to line up Ooga Chaka at Addington.

"There's a nice mares race there (Group 2 Premier Mares Championship) for $60,000."

So did he have a decent celebration to mark the win and his birthday?

"Yep," he laughs.

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