Veteran pacer takes out Stratford Cup

Andre Poutama highlighted a successful day as Hawera welcomed back grass track racing, with an all-the way win with M T Pockets in the day’s feature race, the Stratford Cup.

Poutama took the Steve Green-trained pacer straight to the front in the 2100 metre race and then withstood the late challengers from Betterzippit, and Franco Hoffman to win by half a length in 2:45.36.

"That's his go," said Poutama, "he's a tough stayer who likes to get to the front...and that's pretty much how it worked out."

It was the 10-year-old’s seventh win in 98 starts.

Favourites and back-markers New York Minute and American Me both started off 30 metres and ran on without threatening the leaders, and look better suited on the second day of the meeting, with Sunday’s feature being the 3000 metre Hawera Cup.

"That should suit him too," say Poutama of M T Pockets, "if he can step away quick and get to the lead he's definitely a chance."

For Poutama it was a top day in the sulky. He trained and drove favourite Mackali to win Race 3, the Taranaki Steelformers Handicap Trot.

"She's easy to train and I thought she'd be hard to roll," says Poutama, "and her owner (Marilyn Chittenden) comes from Hawera so that was great, she was over the moon." 

Poutama also had two seconds, and was especially unlucky not to make it win number three when Melody’s Mischief rocketed into second behind Uncle Drew in the Alabar Stud Mobile Pace.

Benjamin Butcher (R4 Letsgodancing and R9 Uncle Drew), Sean McCaffrey (R5 Highview Rockn Roll and R11 Bodrum Boy) and Sarah O’Reilly also bagged doubles, with O’Reilly’s two successes both coming with Michael House runners, Superstar Legend (R6) and Boulton Home (R7).

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