There are few teenagers who experience as much success at Cambridge Raceway as Above The Rest.
The thirteen-year-old mare won her third race of the season at the Waikato venue in the Ross Paynter Racing Stable Handicap Trot (2700m) on Thursday night and her trainer Willie Fleming is hoping to add to that tally in the coming weeks.
Piloted for the first time by Andre Poutama, the daughter of Sundon was sent to the lead from her ace draw and was never headed, winning by 1-1/2 lengths over Little Bro, with Danke making it a trifecta for their champion sire.
While Fleming was pleased with his runner’s winning effort, he was full of praise for her driver after he was able to settle Above The Rest early on in the race.
“I was pretty rapt and a little bit surprised because she can be an awkward little mare to drive and that was the first time that Andre had been on her,” Fleming said.
“I had no great expectations. If she had flown to bits around the first corner I wouldn’t have been surprised, but he did an awesome job of getting her around that first corner and he followed instructions, so that was great.”
It was Above The Rest’s sixth win of her career and the third this season, and Fleming said her success gives him a lot of satisfaction.
“She’s finding a bit of form when she’s nearing retirement,” Fleming said. “It’s a bit of a buzz to be able to win races with a 13-year-old mare, it’s a bit of a conversation piece.”
While she has had 82 career starts, Above The Rest didn’t reach the track until she was ten-years-old.
She was originally trained by her co-breeder Keith Chittenden, who she won twice for until he passed away in 2017.
The half-sister to Group One performer Summer Man was subsequently purchased by Fleming, who was drawn to the mare because of her breeding.
“We always boxed adjacent to Keith at Manawatu (Raceway),” Fleming said. “I knew her so it wasn’t hard.
“Keith hadn’t qualified her until she was about ten-years-old, so she hadn’t done a lot of racing at that stage.
“It was probably her breeding which attracted me to her, she’s a pretty well bred mare and I always had it in the back of my mind that she would be a good trotting mare to breed on from.”
Fleming is looking at returning to Cambridge Raceway later this week in search of more spoils, but Above The Rest’s time on the track could be limited after she was served by Majestic Son earlier this season.
“Hopefully she is in-foal,” he said. “At this stage the indications are that she has held, but she will be scanned on the 29th (of December).
“I’m not breeding to sell, I’m just breeding for myself. I have actually never bred a trotter before.
“I might pop back up to Cambridge on the 28th. At this stage I am going to nominate and just have a look.” – Cambridge Raceway