Birthday win all the sweeter after rough morning

VICTORY: Darrin Skerrett gives a victory salute on Porotene Sky at Gore yesterday.
VICTORY: Darrin Skerrett gives a victory salute on Porotene Sky at Gore yesterday.

Frustration in the morning turned to success in the afternoon for Shane Anderton yesterday.

The Wingatui trainer was near East Taieri en-route to the Tapanui meeting at Gore when his horse truck, with four horses aboard, got a flat tyre. The spare tyre was half flat, necessitating a few phone calls to arrange new transport to Gore.

Two horses came south in the Anderton's trailer float and the others were put on a horse transporter.

''It wasn't a great start to the day and it's my (46th) birthday,'' Anderton said.

He trains in partnership with his father Brian, who is expected to be released from Dunedin hospital today after having a heart valve operation on Wednesday.

The Andertons' winners yesterday - Yeahman (Coupland's Bakeries Maiden) and News Flash (Ranfurly Hotel Handicap) - are among the trainers' 25 horses that will race on the holiday circuit.

Winning at Gore yesterday brought back mixed memories for jockey Darrin Skerrett.

He served his apprenticeship with former Gore trainer Rex Cochrane in the 1980s. During that time Skerrett was hospitalised for four and a-half months after the horse he rode in an official trial at Gore jumped the running rail and crashed into a steel post.

''It took me another four months to fully recover,'' Skerrett said.

His mount, Porotene Sky, triumphed in the West Otago Transport Handicap yesterday. He rides the Hawkeye mare in trackwork for the father and daughter training combination of Neville Patterson and Karen Horrell. The pair are joined in the ownership by their spouses Pam (Patterson) and Morgan (Horrell).

''She got a bit keen with no speed on last time, but more pace on today made it better,'' Skerrett said.

''She's a horse that has to be handy, we got a perfect run today.''

Skerrett's previous winner was Tasmanian Devil at Gore five years ago.

Meanwhile, Chris Johnson incurred a suspension at Awapuni on Saturday. The suspension starts this Saturday and finishes at the end of racing on New Year's Day.

The Southland Times