Ton Tine is a Stand Specialist
Ten-year-old square gaiter Ton Tine broke through for an overdue win and ended a losing sequence of 15 when he scored a decisive victory in a 2116m stand at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon and driver Maddison Brown has high hopes that the old gelding can repeat the dose by winning the final event at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Ton Tine, who is trained at Oakford by Claire Cummins, will start from the outside of the 10m line in a 2096m stand and Brown said that the oldstager relished contesting standing-start events.
“He’s very quirky and you’ve got to keep him happy,” she said. “He can get quite keen, so the stands do suit him because he can just get away at his own sort of time and then settle.
“When I drove him for the first time, in a mobile at Pinjarra four starts ago, he was too keen on the gate and that undid him.” He galloped just after the start, raced at the rear and finished a distant ninth, 30 lengths from the winner One Bid Buys.
Brown drove him at his following start, in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra, when he led early and then sat behind the pacemaker before finishing a close second to Mortician.
Ton Tine began smoothly in a stand at Pinjarra on Monday and settled down in third position on the pegs in an Indian-file race, six lengths behind the pacemaker Angus Bolt. He cruised to the front 220m from home and was not extended in winning easily from Earl Harbour.
Thirteen of Ton Tine’s 15 wins have been in stands six in New Zealand, four at Adelaide’s Globe Derby Park and three in Western Australia.
Brown is also enjoying a great run of successes with star trotter Lord Liam, having driven him seven times for trainer Bob Mellsop for a third placing followed by six wins in a row.
“Ton Tine is not a horse who has a quick sprint in him; he’s a bit of a rolling type,” Brown said. “Lord Liam is a different type of horse. He’s been there, done that. He’s fairly laid back and knows what he is doing. He doesn’t have as many quirks as Ton Tine, but both are good, consistent trotters.
“Until recently I haven’t had much experience driving trotters. They are very different to drive, compared to driving pacers. It’s a totally different feel and I’m still getting used to it. But I’m enjoying it, particularly as I have had nice trotters to handle.”
Adding considerable interest to Friday night’s event for trotters will be the first appearance in WA of Spud, a Victorian-bred eight-year-old gelding who has recently entered the Oldbury stables of Kim Prentice.
Spud, who has not raced since finishing an inconspicuous tenth in a 2240m mobile event at Melton on July 13, will start from 10m. He has a losing sequence of ten and has won only once from his past 24 starts. He has won 15 times from 131 starts, with nine of those wins in stands. He has won six races in Victoria and nine in Queensland.
Spud warmed up for this week’s assignment in good style when Prentice drove him in a two-horse 2550m standing-start trial at Byford last Sunday week. He set the pace and covered the final quarters in 29.8sec. and 28.8sec., finishing a 1m second to four-year-old pacing mare Fortunate Adda.