Canberra trainer Rob Potter was rewarded for the ultimate labour of love at Narromine on Thursday with Madison Point taking out the 1300m Class Two Handicap.
Potter, a noted travelling trainer, couldn’t be on course due to the current Canberra lockdown, and was forced to watch from afar but duly celebrated when his seven-year-old stormed home under the guidance of Mikayla Weir to beat Dicko’s Mate and Chestnut Scaffa.
“I had to send him with transport and I’m lucky that I’ve got some people up there to look after him,” Potter said.
“I normally take my own horses and I enjoy travelling to these tracks, but don’t worry, we are celebrating with the team here at the stables after the win.
Remarkably, Madison Point was nearly retired before having a run with the Canberra stable, with the Savabeel gelding not immune to issues and injuries associated with the racing game, but Potter and owner and fellow trainer, Gratz Vella, persevered and have now reaped their rewards.
“He has been a special horse to us,” Potter said.
“We bought the horse off the internet and the horse turned up with some problems, so we tipped him out, brought him back and then we worked out he was a grade five roarer.
“Me and Gratz (Vella) were going to sell him or give him away, but we gave him the operation and gave him another three months off.
“So really, he had six months off, and we weren’t planning to race him, we nearly had a home for him, but he ended up racing and he is quite special to us. He is a bloody old beauty.”
The Canberra galloper has won five races from 33 starts, but under the care of Potter, has raced 10 times for four wins, making a name for himself on the picnic circuit.
In fact, Madison Point scraped in as the 12th and final runner in the 202/21 NSW Picnic Racing Association Picnic Champion Series, securing his place in the rich $50,000 final at Coonamble on October 10.
“The win at Narromine was just a bonus, we went there confident, but it was a bonus at the end of the day,” Potter said.
“The picnic final is our end goal, and it is a thrill to make the final and that is what we are working towards.”
During his run at the picnics, Madison Point has raced four times, winning at Goulburn, Ardlethan and Cootamundra before running second at Coonamble and Potter believed his galloper deserved to be one of the favourites to win the series final.
“He might go straight to the final now or he might have a run at Coota the week out – we are still working that out,” Potter said.
“He definitely deserves to be one of the favourites, he had four starts for three wins and a second and he should have won his last start at the picnics.
“He is the right type of horse. He is in good condition, and he travels well.”
It might seem odd to some that a Canberra trainer would be travelling the picnic route with a galloper, and Potter explained it was all about his horse and giving him the best opportunity to win.
“We never expected him to race, so we took him to Goulburn for a trial, it was a picnic meeting and he won by 100 yards,” Potter laughed.
“After the win, I thought, ‘bugger it, we will have a go at the picnics’, and we went that way by default. We just want the best for this horse.
“It has been great and whatever happens in the final, happens. It’s been a journey and we have spent a lot of time travelling and put in a lot of effort just because we love this horse.”
With the Canberra lockdown extended until October 15, it looks less, and less likely Potter will be able to travel to Coonamble for the final, and he explained who would be helping him on the day.
“We aren’t sure if we can get to the final and we want to thank Kody Nestor’s staff for looking after him today at Narromine and they will probably look after him again in the final,” Potter said.
It ended up being a big day for Picnic Champion Series gallopers at Narromine on Thursday, with potential favourite, On A Promise, also greeting the judge first.
The Brett Robb trained six-year-old was too good in the 1100m Benchmark 58 Handicap when guided to a good win by Clayton Gallagher to register his third victory on the trot and his eighth career win from 33 starts.
For full Narromine results, readers can click here.