Waikato warhorse Danke is set to have his 299th career start at Cambridge Raceway on Sunday.
Trainer Geoff Martin gave the 12-year-old gelding nearly a month off in the paddock before bringing him back into work during the lockdown period, where he was able to take advantage of his private 700m track on his six hectare Cambridge property.
“We gave him a bit of break and he’s been up and down the paddock tearing it up, so I brought him back in,” Martin said.
“He is a horse that if he is not in work, he is unhappy. If he’s just in the paddock he sulks.”
Martin claimed Danke nearly four years ago and said the Sundon gelding has been a major part of his life ever since.
“I claimed him at Cambridge in 2016 off Mark Jones,” Martin said. “I thought he was a horse that I could improve with a bit of shoeing and being in a smaller stable you can spend more individual time on them.
“He’s the only horse I train. I have a part-time job as a drainlayer, but I am only doing about 25 hours a week, so it works out pretty good.”
Looking toward Sunday, Martin is hopeful of a bold resumption from his charge who he said is in great condition heading into his fresh-up assignment.
“He’s fit and happy,” Martin said. “I was supposed to take him to the workouts on Saturday, but I pulled his cover off on the day and thought he didn’t need the run, he is pretty fit. I am pretty happy with him.”
With Danke in the twilight of his career, Martin said he would let his pride and joy tell him when the curtain should be drawn on his raceday career.
“He’ll do the talking himself,” Martin said. “If he is happy I will start him, if he isn’t he will stay at home.
“He is only in the cart a couple of times every three weeks. He does all his work behind the jogger and he is happy.
“He’s a pet at home and my daughter rides him just to give him something different to do.
“If he stays happy and sound we will keep going.” – Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk