What a way to bring up 300 wins

by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

Andre Poutama's an old hand when it comes to dead heats.

"I'm used to it now," he laughs.

While many can drive a whole career without ever getting one dead heat Poutama, at just 31, has now had two with last night's win at Cambridge also bringing up a significant milestone, his 300th victory.

He led with Leo Lincoln in the IRT Your Horse. Our Passion Mobile Pace and looked set to win outright before Tim Williams launched the favourite Cassius Clyde from the one-one. The photo finish confirmed they could not be separated.

His first deadheat came in the 2017 Queen of Hearts at Alexandra Park when Jo's Dream and favourite Partyon prevailed. It remains Poutama's first and only Group 1 victory so far.

His 300th win in the sulky is an achievement that he's proud of.

"Being based in Manawatu it was very hard starting off, no one knew me in the industry and I had to make my own name," says Poutama, "it's not like I was a Butcher or a Ferguson."

Though he did some family connections. His uncle is well known Manawatu trainer Stephen Doody, who trained Poutama's first ever winner, Red Styx at Manawatu in March 2011. His 300 wins have come from 3103 drives.

Since then Poutama has had a lot of support from a number of trainers and owners - something he's very grateful for.

Poutama's most successful season was the 38 wins (and $477,080 in stakes) that he had in 2019, while among his other highlights was being crowned Australasian Young Driver of the Year at Menangle in 2014. Among his rivals were the likes of Sam Ottley, who would go on to become New Zealand's most successful ever female driver, as well as gun Aussies Amanda Turnbull and Aiden De Campo.

These days Poutama trains a team of seven, and is particularly upbeat about one of his youngsters, two-year-old filly Flybye Lou.

"She's won both her trials and we think a lot of her .. she's a nice one."

While Poutama has spent much of his life in the Manawatu he currently lives with his wife and three children in Pukekohe, where he works for Lincoln Farms in the mornings then trains his own horses in the afternoons.

"It's a busy life," he adds.

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