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Two of the biggest names in the training ranks are teaming up.
Michael House and Steven Reid have agreed to terms that will see the latter train the former’s northern team.
Ten horses moved from Kumeu to Pukekohe on Saturday and there is a promise of many more to come.
House, who finished third on the trainer’s premiership last season with 98 winners, says his plan is to have upwards of 30 horses trained in Auckland by the new year.
“I’m committing myself to this move and I felt the best way to do that, to give myself the best chance, was putting the right staff in place to make it work,” he told HRNZ.
House initially set up in Kumeu earlier this year and had Neil Munro taking care of the team before he returned to Christchurch recently to train his own horses.
“When Neil came home, I sat down and thought about it how I could do it best.
“I wanted to get one of the best guys and after a phone call to gauge Steven’s interest, I was on a plane the next day to have lunch with him.
“It’s played out over a month and we signed off on it over the weekend.”
House has rented out a recently-vacated stable at Franklin Park and says he expects it to become a key part of a huge strategy he will roll out this season.
“It was either pull stumps and come home when Neil did or think about a bigger picture.”
Kimberley Blakemore will take on the role as stable manager, leaving Reid to simply train the horses around his own team and that was part of the appeal for him.
“I don’t work a big team, which I’m actually quite happy about because I have Star Galleria and some nice young stock coming through.” said Reid.
“But early on in my career I used to buy a lot of horses from the South Island and loved doing different things with them to see if I could get the best out of them.
“So, to be able to do that again is a little bit exciting.
“Kim can run the barn; I will just jump in the cart and train them and that suits me fine.”
Among the team Reid received over the weekend were Delightful Major, Warloch, Shillelagh, Mogul and a newcomer to the north, Changearound.
“I said to Michael that I would like to take a few weeks to step them back from racing and spend a little bit of time on them to get to know them all.”
The plan will be for House to continue his highly-successful Manawatu raids and then many horses will continue on to Reid and Blakemore in Auckland.
He won’t outright admit it, but 100 winners and a trainer’s premiership are seemingly goals for him this season.
“To win a premiership with low level horses, you probably need 100 of them and they all win a race.
“I guess it’s very possible with the strategy we are developing but I’m not hanging my hat on it.
“The kids have been on at me about it though, and that’s a motivator.
“When I was a kid, there were paddocks full of horses waiting to come in to training at every stable.
“That’s not the case anymore and that will be the biggest hurdle to overcome – a lack of available horses.
“But I’m only limited by own imagination and I think we’ve shown in the past few seasons that anything is possible if you have the right staff in place.”