Lead Pony Wins!
Dec 13, 2016
It was a winner of a different ilk for Michael Kent, his lightly raced pacer Plyometric saluting at just his fourth start at Melton recently.
And what a background story there is to this seven-year-old!
Deciding it would be fun to race a standardbred with some friends, Mick headed to the yearling sales at Oaklands Junction where he remembers well known auctioneer Peter Heagney joking..."you are at the wrong sale!"
Happy to listen to the advice of a trainer, Mick took part ownership of a horse who did not particuarly impress him... "I thought he was a small rather insignificant horse but he was well bred and the trainer said he was his top pick at the sale."
But the horse did not stay high in his trainer's estimation for long, some 12 months later sacked for being just too slow.
Mindful that standardbreds make good lead ponies - "they can cop the workload" - Mick decided to give the bay a home and for the last five years he has been lead pony (and called simply "Pony") for the stable's youngsters.
One day, whilst visiting the stable with her friend Nikki Burke, Jodi Quinlan spied the brand and asked who this horse was... and when discovering that he was well bred mentioned that he was the type who would've improved with time.
"So I said well let's put him back into work!"
And so, aged seven and given the name of Plyometric, Pony has been up and racing - in the placings at his first three starts before breaking through in mid-December.
Whilst looking ready to win by a length or two as he scooted up the sprint lane, Plyometric just got there, pulling himself up over the final stages.
Not a trait anyone wants in a racehorse but in this circumstance it's an understandable one... in his role as lead pony Plyometric always taught to hang back a bit.
"He'd be ridden with the babies and that's what he learned to do over five years," Mick said, "so this is all new to him."
"In his work they have galloped horses in front of him so he can pass them but he still won't, they have to just about slow them down to a walk," he laughed.
"But he will learn. He's done a good job in his first preparation."
Due to race again at Geelong on Thursday night, Plyometric will again be trying his best as his fans cheer out "Go Pony!"
Photo courtesy of TABCORP Park Racing