Rob’s dash for cash
Thursday, 29th December, 2011
By John Casey
BH horse trainer Rob Wayman is looking to land one of the most significant wins of his career when Montana Madge tackles the Kaye Kilgour Memorial Pace Final at Mildura tonight.
Montana Madge stands to collect a $5000 breeder’s bonus on top of the $3375 first prize money on offer tonight and when that booty is added to the $2100 from her win in last week’s heat it is no wonder Wayman is all smiles at the moment.
Wayman, 65, paid just $1500 for Montana Madge in April.
“If she can be first past the post tonight I won’t care if she never wins another race,” an enthusiastic Wayman said.
“I’m not bragging though - just hoping - because there are a few nice horses in the event and it won’t be an easy race to win,” Wayman added.
Among his rivals tonight will be fellow BH trainer Ray Slater who has NZ-bred Ivanovich engaged. Race favourite Caulonia Babe also has a local connection as she is trained and driven by Luke Watson, eldest son of former BH trotting identity Ian Watson.
“I had a close up look at Caulonia Babe in the heats last week and she was very impressive,” said Slater, who raced outside Watson in the early stages of the race before finishing 5th.
“Caulonia Babe raced away from us all at the finish (winning by an impressive 14-metres) but my horse was first up and I expect her to improve on that effort.
“That was her first start for me and while I am sure she will run well, I don’t expect to beat Caulonia Babe, but hope to at least run a place,” Slater continued.
Starting from the coveted inside draw, Ivanovich can expect plenty of pressure from Montana Madge for the early lead tonight.
“We’ll be going forward - and in a big way,” Wayman reported.
“Montana Madge has good gate speed and we need to use that to our advantage like we did in the heats last week,” he added.
On that occasion Montana Madge was well rated by Nathan Jack to defeat Woodlea Cosmos by 1.2m in a time of 2:04.6, while Caulonia Babe recorded a superior winning time of 2:02.4.
Victorian reinsman Michael Stanley will drive Montana Madge tonight - the fourth consecutive start that a new pilot has been needed - but his lack of familiarity with the horse doesn’t concern Wayman.
“We’ll discuss a few options for the race but it will all come down to whether Montana Madge is good enough on the night,” Wayman said.
“I’m in front on the deal already, so there is no pressure on.
“I’ve had a good run at Mildura so far this year (three wins) and I generally do things in pairs, so that is a good omen as well,” Wayman continued, alluding to his back-to-back wins with Passing Shadows in Victoria in March.
Wayman explained that former BH (now Mildura-based) horseman Colin Rogers offered him the chance to buy Montana Madge cheaply after the horse had not lived up to expectations.
“I didn’t really need another horse at the time but it has turned out well.”
Four-year-old Montana Madge is scheduled to back up just 48 hours after her Mildura appearance as part of Saturday night’s special New Year’s Eve launch of the new BH trotting season at Memorial Paceway.