By Duane Ranger
Pokeno trainer, Ival Brownlee, admitted Banner Of Art was testing his patience so much so he could have easily been given the red card had he not performed at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night.
Potentially the best horse he has trained, Brownlee also termed him pedantic and unreliable, adding that he should have won on debut 19 starts ago.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve taken him to the track thinking he was a winner and then something would go wrong, or he would not try as well as what he could because things didn’t go his way in the running,” Brownlee said.
“He seems to be a very fickle horse. If he didn’t show something last night – that might have been it,” he added.
But Banner of Art finally showed his true worth when he got up at odds of $14.80 in the sixth event - the $8,000 Lot 78 Crackasmile Mobile for the Up to R49 pacers.
It was a gutsy effort considering the son of Art Major started from the one on the second row and driver Simon Lawson had him three-deep on the markers for most of the 2200m pace.
Banner Of Art won by an increasing three-quarters-of-a-length from Erik (Brent Mangos). Tycoon Tiger (Todd Macfarlane) was a length back in third.
The 4-year-old gelding’s winning time was 2:48.1 (mile rate 2:03) and he came home in 60.8 and 29.1. That was his first win. He’s also placed three times.
“He’s got all the ability in the world but is such a frustrating horse, and you could never back him with any confidence, but in saying that he did have an excuse last start when he finished seventh at Alexandra Park.
“He choked down and Simon said he must have held his breath for 40 or 50 metres. That was a
pretty gutsy effort really because he beat three home (2:46.9) and the winner went 2:45.
“I know he’s got what it takes, you just have to get him in the right mood. Hopefully this win might be the making of him now, because he has come up a lot better this prep,” Brownlee said.
He said he was constantly changing the gear on the bay.
“He gazes around a lot so I put the half blinds on him because we all know he’s a bit of a goof and a ‘rat-bag’
He’s still only four and mentally is still just a kid, so I’m hoping he will now get better with age. He still has a lot of racing left in him if he can learn to focus and be the race-horse I know he can be, he should win a few more,” Brownlee said.
The father of two boys – Ival Junior and Levi – said he obtained Banner of Art from Steve Phillips.
“He was causing havoc at Steve’s apparently and just wasn’t fitting into his stable, so we thought we might give him a go with us. Mum (Lorraine) and Dad (Ival Senior) bought him because, like I said earlier, he just felt like a good racehorse from day one – certainly one of the better ones I’ve had.”
That's a big call considering Brownlee has been training since the 1993-1994 season and has racked up 72 winners, 226 placings, and won $652,757 in stakes.
Some of his better ones have included Roll Over Babe, Blarney's Atom, Get Jiggy Withit, Shezaclassact, Harry Kay, Barnabus, Landoras Special, Anvil Justice, and Kissme Earl.
Brownlee’s last training win came on March 17, 2015 when he conditioned and drove G J Seelster to win at New Plymouth. Before that his last victory came via Charming Desire at Alexandra Park on May 30, 2014
Meanwhile Cambridge reinsman, Rodney Frampton, won his second amateur race in 27 days on his home track when saluting behind the Mike Berger $16.50 fifth favourite (of seven), R Gee Three, in the last of the eight races.
He was also victorious behind the Berger trained Stand Sure on December 29.
Summary from Thursday's meeting at Cambridge Raceway were:
Race 1: The Barry Purdon (Clevedon) trained SUPER CHARGE (3 B f Mach Three - Chaangerr (by Vance Hanover) Zac Butcher.
Race 2: The Frank Cooney & Tate Hopkins (Taupaki) trained POSITANO (4 B g Bettor's Delight - Kelly Maguire (by Christian Cullen) Luke Whiitaker j.
Race 3: The Steve Telfer (Ardmore) trained AMERICAN BRAVE (3 Br g American Ideal - Spicey (by Christian Cullen) Jack Mackinnon j.
Race 4: The Brent Mangos (Waiau Pa trained and driven ANSA VATA (7 B g Love You - Jeepers (by Gee Whiz II)
Race 5: The Eddie Clark (Pukekohe) trained WILLEDU (4 Br g Elsu - Willowbrook (by In The Pocket) Nathan Delany j.
Race 6: The Ival Brownlee (Pokeno) trained BANNER OF ART (4 B g Art Major - Arden Banner (by Christian Cullen) Simon Lawson.
Race 7: The John & Josh Dickie (Clevedon) trained STAR OF OLEYSYA (3 B f Muscle Hill - Olesya (by Pegasus Spur) Josh Dickie.
Race 8: The Mike Berger (Cambridge) trained R GEE THREE (5 B g Santanna Blue Chip - Cornelia (by Julius Caesar) Rodney Frampton.
Top Junior Driver: Nathan Delany, Jack Mackinnon, Luke Whittaker 1 win each.
Top Driver: Eight races and 8 winning drivers.
Top Trainer(s): Eight races and 8 winning trainers.
Top Stallion: Eight races and 8 winning stallions.
Extensive results can be viewed here: