By Michael Guerin
For a man who knows the glory of group one victory, this was a different kind of satisfaction.
Because trainer John Dickie knows not many trainers prepare four winners on a night at Alexandra Park.
Dickie and son Josh, who is his training partner and stable driver, pulled off the rare feat on Friday night when Acceptance, Bronze Over, This Excuse Is Fine and I Am The Greatest all won.
It was the first four-win night for either father or son and John says the fact it was at Alexandra Park made it all the more special.
“I said to Josh afterwards, to do that at head office is really satisfying,” said Dickie.
That is where we aim to race the most, with the high stakes and the bonuses and not many trainers away from really big barns get to train four winners on a night there.
“Obviously it is a first for us and shows that what we are doing here at home works.”
Team Dickie has been on a constant, steep improvement curve since they moved from Cambridge to the well-appointed Rosslands Farms three years ago and while John has had a wonderful group one record over the years with his trotters, they are now more consistent players on the biggest stage.
“And that is the aim. We will still have horses racing at Cambridge and even down the line but predominantly we want to race here for the better stakes.
“Take a little mare like Bronze Over, she has now won well over $50,000 in stakes and bonuses and she has only had 14 starts.”
As good as their last three winner were, it was Acceptance’s easy win in race two which provided the most excitement.
A giant, weakish three-year-old he went for a spell straight after the race, with Dickie believing a month off is his best chance of coming back a Derby horse in the second half of the season.
“He has done a huge job considering he was never a two-year-old type,” he says of the brother to Can’t Refuse, Bettor Dream, Bettor Offer and Delightful Offer.
“The Hoggards paid $75,000 for him at the sales because that mare just keeps leaving good horses.
“So we are going to give him the chance to be a good horse by giving him a spell now.” The stable has just 23 horses in work so their strike rate is high and John admits they now know how to get the best out of their property.
“As you know it is a lovely place and we have been here long enough now to know how fast to work this type of horse or that.
“So we are more than happy with the way things are going.”
Stable star Speeding Spur is back at Woodlands Stud for a few weeks but is earmarked for a return to training on October 1, with the Australian racing in the New Year still the target.
The other highlights of Friday night’s programme included the 21st career success for the little trotter who could, One Over Da Moon.
He worked his way to the front over 1700m and held out a game Realmein, with the winner now likely to head home to rejoin Paul Nairn.
But it wasn’t all plain-sailing for open class favourites as No Doctor Needed was worried out of a win in the main pace.
He worked his way to the front quickly but was kept honest by The Faithful, who stuck on gamely as Arden’s Choice finished over the top of the pair late in a 1:55.1 mile rate for the 1700m.
(As seen on the Harness Racing New Zealand website).