Over the years, Gisborne harness racing trainer Don Lock hasn’t hesitated to think outside the square to come up with suitable solutions for problem horses.
“You just have to nut it out the best you can. It can be frustrating, but I get a buzz out of getting them right and getting them going,” he said.
The latest “project” for the popular owner-breeder has been four-year-old square gaiter Rymes (Majestic Don-Genayas Girl (Christian Cullen).
“We’ve tried every type of shoe on him and just couldn’t stop him hitting. We’ve now got him going the cleanest he has, but he’s still brushing,” Rudd said.
“And the funny thing is that he has pacing shoes all round!
“I think down the track he will be a very, very good horse. He’s got a heap of ability. But he does get nervous, so the plan is to have a few more runs and then toss him out.”
Lock produced Rymes at last Friday’s Ballarat meeting for his race debut. The trotter led throughout after pinging to the front from the three alley and won nicely, courtesy of a perfect front-running drive by experienced reinsman David Murphy.
Rymes hasn’t been the only success story for the former plumber, now harness racing trainer.
Lock turned around the form of another trotter years ago in Totally Confused (Keystone Gondola-Bundle Of Love (Windshield Wiper).
“He wasn’t all that consistent so to keep his mind on the job, I put small Christmas bells near his ears,” Lock laughed.
“He won five of his next seven starts—three in a row for me and then two for Anne-Maree Conroy,” Lock said.
“I think that one of the senior stewards at the time was Alan Pearson, who was a bit taken aback by the bells, probably even more so because they worked!”
Lock said he became interested in harness racing in the 1980s after helping out Bob Mickan.
“Bob trained horses for me and then I started going to his stables and giving him a hand. I remember he had a great horse back in that time in Al Capone.”
Al Capone won 10 races and had 24 placings, with several victories at Moonee Valley as well as successes at Yarra Glen, Traralgon, Echuca and Warragul.
Lock said he sold his plumbing business 14 years ago and apart from his stable of five horses, he was also a mad gardener.
“I’ve got plenty of land to keep us busy with the horses and tending to the gardens on our property which is 100 acres.”
By Terry Gange for Harnesslink