Vintage Cheddar goes 3 from 3
Former Southland pacer Vintage Cheddar has re-found his mojo on the other side of the Tasman.
After struggling to re-capture his best form here the seven-year-old has gone three from three for new trainer Andy Gath.
The latest win came at Melton over the weekend, with driver Kate Gath impressed at how the former Kiwi has adapted to Australian racing.
“There’s no doubt this horse was up with New Zealand's best when he was going good,” Kate Gath told the trots.com.au.
“Andy liked him a couple of years ago when he was really in form, the times he can run at the end of 2600 are pretty good and up there with what most of the really good horses can run.
“He was pretty badly out of form the last two months, maybe even 12 months, he definitely hasn’t been going like what he can."
Vintage Cheddar won 11 from 49 in this country and was right there alongside the very best pacers. His last win in this country was at Winton a year ago when he beat U May Cullect and Pembrook Playboy.
Vintage Cheddar was fifth in his last start in New Zealand on January 12 at the end of a nine-race Kiwi campaign that delivered only one placing, a third on October 10.
As his form dropped the Gaths and high profile owner Norm Jenkin sensed an opportunity. They are the same team behind the just recently retired millionaire trotter Tornado Valley.
"You do have to pay OK money for them, but it’s nothing compared to what you would have to pay when they are in form," Kate said.
"It’s worked for a lot of them so far. We’ve had the trotters, Tornado (Valley), McLovin – they were sort of in the same boat. It was a risk that Norm was prepared to take and it looks like it’s really going to pay dividends for him.”
Only five weeks separated his last New Zealand start and his Victorian debut at Terang on February 19, but he quickly impressed for his new stable, winning by a half-head.
He then backed up with a seven-metre win at Ballarat on February 25 and then this debut victory at Melton, with Kate Gath saying it was “a really good win and he had to do a bit of work”.
“Luckily we were able to hold on and to my horse’s credit he’s done a really good job. To win from barrier 11 is really not easy and he’s been able to do it, so hopefully that can continue.”
It was the first of a double for Kate and Andy Gath with another former Kiwi Vacation Hill following up to win the Catanach’s Jewellers Trotters Free For All.