Beg For Chevron and Andre Poutama (left) on their to victory at Alexandra Park. Photo: Trish Dunell.
Andre Poutama was somewhat of a reluctant trainer, but now that he’s off the mark with a win, he’s happy he let himself be talked in to it.
“I never really had any intention to get my training licence but my wife, Amy, talked me in to it,” he said.
“We sat down and designed the colours together and she gave me a bit of a hurry up.”
The other big incentive was the new Harness Racing New Zealand subsidy and package paid for by the New Zealand Racing Board Youth Development Fund, which meant Poutama, being aged under 30, had his licence fees waived.
It also meant he received $2400 worth of gear and equipment to set him on his way.
“The new HRNZ bonus was quite a good reason to get in to training, too,” he said.
“Most young horse people don’t have a lot of money and gear can be very expensive, so that was very helpful.”
Poutama’s new lime green and black colours were in the spotlight at Alexandra Park on Friday night when Beg For Chevron was victorious, giving her trainer his first winner.
Poutama was initially sent the mare by his former employer in Palmerston North, Stephen Doody, but says her owners, Canterbury-based Graham Beirne and David Butt, could easily have given her to someone more experienced.
“It was really good of them to give me a go even though I hadn’t trained a winner.
“I’m grateful and happy that they agreed to send me the horse.”
It’s been a love-hate relationship since the daughter of Love You arrived in Pukekohe - good performances mixed with late gallops have become her trademark - including flying to pieces when almost certain to win two starts ago on July 20.
“She was a bit overdue a win.
“When she was going to win that time, it was probably my own fault for chasing her a bit too much when I should have waited.
“But when she can’t hear the others she has a habit of switching off and pulling up and I was trying to prevent that.”
Poutama says he has just tried to outfox Beg For Chevron by varying her work regime.
“It’s just been a matter of keeping her fresh and one thing I have found with her is that she responds well to having her work mixed up.
“I just try to confuse her because she doesn’t always put in.”
Poutama, who works for Ray Green at Lincoln Farms and does a lot of driving for them too, says he wants to focus on training a few more horses and spending more time with his young family this season.
“It’s going to be a little bit harder to drive winners this season as I’ve decided I’m not going to go away to Palmerston North.
“I’m going to focus more on spending time with my kids and training a few of my own.
“They are only young once, so it’s important I don’t miss this time with them.”
Poutama has a qualified Sir Lincoln just back in from a four-month spell and is expecting delivery of two newcomers shortly.
“I’ve actually got two coming up next week from Anne-Marie Best, who has been nice enough to send them to me.”
“And Anam Nunu (Sir Lincoln) goes pretty good so there is a bit to look forward there.”