Commanding Oak, who costs his owners $1 a day, posted his first win for them in dashing style at Waikouaiti yesterday.
He is raced by Pitman Racing $1 A Day Syndicate Number 1, comprising 54 persons throughout New Zealand and trainer, Michael Pitman, the manager with a 1 percent share.
The syndicate includes first time owners, Phil and Heather Morgan, of Hawera, Paul and Jackie Ryder, of Timaru, and Invercargill journalist Don Wright. The Morgans were at Waikouaiti yesterday. Their daughter, Amanda is apprenticed to Pitman.
Seven-year-old Commanding Oak, who won five races in the North Island, was gifted to the syndicate by Mrs J A Follows after Pitman spoke on the Trackside television channel. Pitman was being interviewed by Greg O'Connor about the time he was leading the trainers' premiership towards the end of last season.
''I told Greg I was upbeat about New Zealand racing and that anybody could race a horse,'' Pitman said.
Pitman then set about assembling the syndicate on the basis that each member pays $1 per day to be in the ownership.
''I just hope there will be some spin off for me with some of the people involved coming back later to buy a horse we could race,'' he said.
Mrs Follows had raced Commanding Oak with trainer Ross Nickel.
Commanding Oak, one of five winners for Pitman yesterday, was ridden by David Walsh.
The Pitman stable also won races yesterday with Darci Coup (Waikouaiti Cup), Ladybird Blue, Conscious Mistake, all ridden by Walsh, and Ask Me (Brittany Pitman).
Walsh was renewing his association with the stable and resuming race riding from a two month layoff with a sprained ankle.
Pitman and Walsh combined to win the 2008 Waikouaiti Cup with Borninthestates. Pitman has also won the race with Peyow Peyow (2009 and 11), Our Shiraz (2004) and Nomusa (1987).
Darci Coup has been set for the Wellington Cup. Gay Filou (1964) and Ed (1995) have won the Waikouaiti - Wellington Cup double when the latter race was over 3200m.
Ladybird Blue, who came from the tail of the field to win a 1250m maiden, will back up at Omakau tomorrow, providing she enters the field. She is third emergency for an 1100m maiden.
A 4-year-old mare by Coats Choice- Lady In Blue, she is raced by breeders, Alan Jones and Edwina Morris with Jim Bruford, of Auckland, and Ken and Bev Voyce, of Oamaru.
Bruford raced So Elusive from the Pitman stable and the Voyces have won races from the stable with Quick Time, Remembrance and Prince Ransom.
- The Southland Times