Lindsay Tweedie, of Gore, counted his 30th win as an owner after Rock Of Tara made a winning debut at Forbury Park on Friday night.
He races Rock Of Tara with Roxburgh trainer, Geoff Knight, Craig Jane, of Moa Flat, first time owner Brendan Eathorne, of Dunedin and Coryn Huddy, of Brighton. They leased Rock Of Tara from Ian Munro, of Otematata, after Knight made a spur of the moment decision to carry on with the 4-year-old whom he qualified at Wyndham early in October.
''Ian arrived to pick him and another horse up as they were going no good and at the last minute I decided we would keep him,'' Knight said.
Rock Of Tara had been a $21,000 purchase by Munro at the 2010 premier yearling sale. He is by Bettor's Delight and the second foal of the unraced Tara Gold, a half sister by Dream Away to Power Of Tara (16 wins in New Zealand and six in Australia). Her first foal, Turbo Tara, won three races.
Rock Of Tara returned at the head of the field minus his sulky on Friday night. A wheel came off after the winning post. The wheel had been damaged in a skirmish on the home turn.
''The sulky wobbled all the way down the straight but just lasted,'' driver Matthew Williamson said.
Tweedie has raced both standardbreds and thoroughbreds. His first win was with the galloper Royal Row at a Tapanui meeting in 1983. The daughter of Long Row won four races when trained at Gore by Rex Cochrane.
Tweedie was in the Car Park Drinkers syndicate who raced Amazing Charm, winner of nine races when trained by Ellis Winsloe. The chestnut rig won the 2002 Invercargill Cup, the Wairio Cup in 2002 and 04 and the 2004 Riverton Cup.
Tweedie had his first win with a pacer at Invercargill in 1987. The horse was Gentle Admiral, who won twice when trained at West Plains by Lindsay Veint.
Tweedie was in the ownership of OK Blue Jeans, winner of the 2002 Tuapeka Cup at Forbury Park when trained by Ken McRae. He also had a share in Shoot No Blanks, who won three races from the McRae stable before his sale to Australia in 2010.
It was a worthwhile training achievement for Billy Heads and a family occasion when the 3-year-old trotter Russell Galleon won fresh up against older horses at Forbury Park on Friday.
Heads expressed his delight with a whip flourish.
''The pressure was off when he was clear of the others,'' said Waimumu trainer Heads, whose wife, Janine, daughters Rebecca and Laura and mother, Karen were on hand for the race.
Russell Galleon had not raced for six months. He had won at Forbury Park as a 2-year-old in April in New Zealand record time when passed to Phil Williamson to ready for the Harness Jewels.
He was spelled after finishing seventh in the Harness Jewels in Cambridge. Heads races Russell Galleon with Gary Allen, the chairman of Harness Racing NZ. Russell Galleon is by Quite Easy and the first foal of Galleon's Conspiracy, who qualified as a 2-year-old trotter for Hamish Hunter, but did not place in six starts.
She was passed to Heads, who could not get her to do things right. He was impressed enough with her ability to breed a foal from the daughter of Malabar Maple. Allen suggested going half shares.
Heads has made his mark with trotters having developed Night Allowance, winner of the Interdominion Final in Auckland in 1993. Night Allowance, owned by Heads, Ross Cleland and Robert Tosh, won his first race at Forbury Park January 1990 as a 3-year-old when trained by Patrick O'Reilly. The Knowing Bret gelding won eight of his 12 starts as a 4-year-old for Heads.
Night Allowance joined the Clevedon stable of Roy and Barry Purdon the following season and Barry drove him in his Interdominion win.
- The Southland Times