By Jonny Turner
Flying trainer Michael House hopes his southern team can sprout wings at Ascot Park on Saturday.
Arguably New Zealand’s most enterprising trainer, House will start a big team of 15 horses over 10 races.
Similarly to star jockeys James McDonald or Hugh Bowman before a big race, House jetted into Invercargill for trackwork on Thursday to put the finishing touches on his team before Saturday’s meeting.
Many of House’s team have arrived in Invercargill after the cancellation of this season’s Central Districts circuit.
That has House flying in and out of Invercargill from his base in Canterbury as he strives to make his new venture in Southland a success.
“While in lockdown I found out about Invercargill’s stakes holding up, so I put two and two together and came up with 66 and got ahead of the game.
“So I have a barn at the track, which is a massive asset for any trainer.”
“It is like American racing at the moment. The races are at the same track on the same day each week.”
House looks to have several strong winning chances among his Ascot Park team.
But he is not expecting big results to come in the South just yet.
“I am building and I have bought a couple of horses in the last couple of days and I have some better ones coming back.”
“It is like anything. You start an idea and then you have got to throw a bit water and a bit of fertiliser on it to make it grow.”
The sale of Nui Ba Den to North America will make Stinger Lindenny’s quest for back-to-back Ascot Park wins a little easier in race 9.
Nui Ba Den has been scratched, allowing driver Blair Orange to reunite with Stinger Lindenny, who did not let working three-wide early stop him from winning two weeks ago.
“Stinger Lindenny worked well this morning and he should back up nicely” House said yesterday.
Jawbreaker did not impress racing first up from House’s new southern base, when he faded out after working hard three wide, two weeks ago.
The 3yr-old has two emergencies inside him, which could mean he moves to barrier 4 from barrier 6 in race 3.
“It is the first time in a while he has had a decent draw,” House said.
“He was overdriven for a horse that was first-up last time. He has also worked well.”
House has three runners in races 7 and 10. House rates My Mate Ben his best winning hope when the 5yr-old steps out alongside Absolut Russian and Ohoka Bandit in race 7.
“My Mate Ben should go a good race. He went well in his last start at Addington, if you go back and analyse it.”
House gave Voodoo Prince the nod ahead of Rake and Superstar Legend in race 10.