Victory sweet for team behind Lollieprop
By Garrick Knight
There was only a pixel in it, but there was no doubt in Mattias Hjalmarsson’s mind that Lollieprop had broken through for her first win on Friday night.
The roan daughter of Monkey Bones made a late play up the passing lane to nab Minnie Bow Tique on the line at Alexandra Park, giving Hjalmarsson his first winner in a couple of years.
“I was sure we had won, she had the momentum up,” said the Swedish horseman, who trains of Pukekohe.
“Just as sure as I was that she was nosed out of second at Cambridge last week.”
She may have paid better than $25 on the tote, but she started 6/10 in the betting, so someone had a wee nibble on her, and it might well have been her trainer.
“I was quite surprised by what she was paying when I arrived on track.
“I thought she probably deserved to be about a $10 shot.”
His intuition was right and she duly delivered after a charmed run in the trail.
As with most trotters, it’s been far from plain sailing with Lollieprop, but Hjalmarsson can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“She definitely has the ability there.
“We’ve just had to go through quite a few workouts and trials, and then races, to teach her and educate her as much as we can.
“That jump up to race day means their stress levels go up, so it’s been about managing that.
“It’s taken her a while to get there, but I was very sure last night that if she did everything right, she was going to go very close.”
The ‘we’ Hjalmarsson refers to is both himself and last night’s driver, Andre Poutama, who recorded three wins and took his lifetime tally to 200.
“Andre is a good kid, who works hard and is just driving better and better.
“He helps me out a lot, usually by doing a bit of fast work for me on his lunch break from Lincoln Farms.”
Hjalmarsson is awaiting surgery on a chronic shoulder injury and is unable to drive fast work at present.
“It puts too much of a strain on me so I’m basically gearing up, washing down and doing the joggers.
“I had a freak accident a year ago and still need the operation down to fix my rotator cuff.
“So, having Andre there to help me has been a huge bonus.”
Lollieprop was bred, and is owned, by Maramarua’s Brent Crawford, who Hjalmarsson says has been a very loyal supporter of his.
“I got offered to break her and Prop Rock in a couple of years ago and he was so happy with them that he kept giving them back to me.
“Brent makes boat propellers and that’s why his horses have ‘prop’ in their names.
“He’s been a very good owner to me, and we are actually going to breed a couple together this coming season.”
Lollieprop will now have “at least one more start” according to her trainer, but a spell beckons.
“I just want to see how she copes with the step up in grade. Looking at last night’s races, there wasn’t much of a difference.
“But I think after that I will put her out for four or five weeks.
“They have to do right by me before I given them any leeway and allow them a break.
“I’m pretty stubborn in terms of wanting to get them doing things right.
“But she’s there now and has earned a spell.”