Victorious homecoming for Poutama

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Andre Poutama returned to his hometown of Palmerston North last month and it hasn’t taken him long to settle back into the student city.

In his first race back at Manawatu Raceway on Tuesday, stable runner Mackali made light work of her opposition, running away to a comfortable 2-3/4 length victory after leading throughout.

Mackali had finished runner-up in her prior three runs and Poutama was pleased to get the monkey off his back early on in his return to Palmerston North.

“She deserved to get a win, she had so many seconds in a row and had gone good races. She just always had the wrong one on her back every time,” he said.

“I was pretty confident heading into today. I knew her manners had been well lately, so it was just a matter of letting her roll and keeping her happy. She never got taken on and I didn’t need to pull the hood, so that was even better.”

Later on the card, stablemate Jimmy Richter finished third to fellow Central Districts pacer Jungle Gem in the Roydon Williams Mobile Pace (2000m).

“He didn’t have a lot of luck, he got pushed out going down the back, and that made him do a little bit more work,” Poutama said.

“He finished off the race well and he will get his turn.”

Poutama said he is pleased to be back in Palmerston North after several years living in Pukekohe and he is excited about furthering his training career in the Central Districts.

While further driving opportunities lured Poutama north, it was family that brought him back home.

“There was just my wife and kids up there and we only went up there for more driving opportunities. I wanted to come back home and get started with my own team,” he said.

Poutama noted the strong prizemoney on offer at Manawatu Raceway as a major drawcard for racing in the Central Districts and he hopes to continue to grow his team.

“I would like to get up to a big team, at least 20, or more,” he said.

“I have got nine in work at the moment. I came down with five, so I have picked up a couple in the last few weeks and getting the results on the board will help.

“The stake money is a lot better than some other tracks and it’s right on your doorstep, you don’t have to travel anywhere.”

Poutama believes the Palmerston North track is an important cog in New Zealand’s harness racing wheel, as it gives opportunities for horses quite not up to the city mark.

“There needs to be more races for those (lesser) type of horses,” Poutama said. “Not every horse can race at the big tracks like Auckland and Addington. They need to have their own little area and Palmy gives the North Island another track to race at as well.”

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