By SHELLEY TOPP
When it comes to winning races manners are a big advantage especially at premier meetings when the stakes are high.
Gin Rummy, a small trotter with a long stride, proved that at Addington Raceway on May 12 when he won the $20,800 Cavell Leitch Trot for his Fernside owners Ian and Jocelyn Cameron.
The seven-year-old gelding gave his rivals a lesson in how to behave on race night, leading practically from start to finish to win the big prize.
Premier meeting races are highly sought after. These are the races every owner and trainer wants to win because of the rich stakemoney on offer but they are increasingly being dominated by horses from big stables.
So it was an exciting night for the Camerons who only have a small team in work. Jocelyn and Ian also bred Gin Rummy which is by Continentalman from their lovely trotting mare Ginas Brightest (eight wins and $61,743 in stakemoney).
Ian also trains and drives Gin Rummy who is in the form of his life with two wins and three seconds from his last seven starts.
The gelding has now won five races altogether and $46,895 in stakemoney.
Manners were the key to Gin Rummy’s Addington win, particularly at the start. When several other starters were fractious he stood well, then when the barrier tape flew he began fast and quickly scooted into the lead when the two early frontrunners galloped.
He put a big break on the field early and never looked like being headed after that, winning comfortably, two lengths clear of the second horse, Momentous.
However, Ian said the new grading system had also helped Gin Rummy “the smallest horse in the field” because it allowed the gelding to race against less experienced horses.
The new ratings-based system allows race winners and strong performers in superior races to be re-rated upwards, while unplaced horses are re-rated downwards. The idea behind the controversial new handicapping system is to allow horses to race more competitively and find their appropriate levels.
Many trainers don’t like the system. However, Ian believes it has merit.
“It is a new system. You have to give it a chance,” he said. It was exciting to win a race on a premier race night, he said.
“When it all comes together like that it makes winning look easy.”
Although Gin Rummy was the smallest horse in the field the high-tech micro chip all horses in the race carried in their saddlecloths showed he had the longest stride of them all that night, Ian said.