By Jonny Turner
At 82-years-old, Omakau horseman Lionel Sinnamon’s training career just keeps getting better.
Sinnamon enjoyed one of the biggest trills of his more than 60-year career when completing a long held ambition to win a race at Addington with Allandale on Sunday.
The 5yr-old, owned by Sinnamon’s son, Graham, and his wife Dianne, is just the second horse the trainer has send to unofficial home of New Zealand harness racing during his journey of producing winners in 1959.
“It something you aspire to – to be able to get up to headquarters and come home with the goods,” Sinnamon said.
“I have only had one before – Idaten – we had him up there chasing Glide Time and Lord Module many years ago in the late seventies.”
“Timaru is usually as far away as we get.”
Allandale came in to Sunday’s race having already handed Sinnamon a training milestone.
The pacer’s victory at Ascot Park three starts prior gave was the trainer his fourth for the season.
That set a personal best tally eclipsing his efforts in the six decades since Lyric Lady produced Sinnamon’s first win at a Vincent Jockey Club meeting in 1959.
“To win five is unbelievable when you think you spent plenty of years wishing you could win one.”
“You have sort of got to pinch yourself to realise it is happening, we have been very lucky.”
Though Allandale’s victory ranks near the top of Sinnamon’s fondest harness racing victories, another of the horse’s victory ranks ahead of it.
“Our biggest thrill, no doubt, would be Allandale winning with Graham driving him at Omakau about 18 months ago.”
“They don’t come any better than that, on our home track with the whole family there.”
Allandale was sent north to stay with Robbie Holmes, who drove him to win on Sunday, so Graham could again drive him in amateur driver’s races.
The 5yr-old ran last in his first run in Canterbury and was to run in another this week.
Last week’s victory came in what was essentially a bonus outing between the two amateur events.
“Graham was keen to get a couple of amateur drives in to him and he has had one,” Sinnamon said.
“So, that was the plan [on Sunday], to keep him warmed up with a middle step.”
“Now he is not eligible for the next amateur race, but I think he will settle for the win.
”Allandale’s victory came in a heat of a regional racing series the Addington club is currently holding.
The pacer will stay in Canterbury and could contest further heats of the series while based with Holmes.
“We have had to rethink things, he was meant to come home after the second amateur race.”
“But, when he is racing as well he is you have to go with the flow.”
Allandale is one of three horses Sinnamon has in his stable alongside Gabby’s Star and Fortywives, who is currently spelling.
The trio are about the perfect number to Sinnamon busy as he approaches 83.
“That is enough to keep me ticking over.”
“I am bloody lucky to still be able to do it, really.”