Racing: Ruakaka step to bigger things

By Mike Brown

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Deane Martin's long-range spring campaign has been aimed at Australia. Photo / APN
Deane Martin's long-range spring campaign has been aimed at Australia. Photo / APN

If Deane Martin happens to win race six at the Whangarei Racing Club's meeting at Ruakaka tomorrow don't expect his group of owners to burst into a rendition of That's Amore.

Funnily enough the 5-year-old Keeper gelding trained by Bruce Wallace, wasn't named after the Rat Pack member but a collection of names.

When the youngster entered Wallace's stable, the syndicate who race him were each asked to forward a name to be drawn out of a hat.

Popular among the majority was Dino, or Dino Zoff.

Dino Zoff was a famous Italian goalkeeper who captained his national side to victory in the 1982 World Cup.

Neither of those names was drawn. Dean Martin was but refused by the Racing Authority, as there was a trotter registered in New Zealand under the name.

Tweaking of the name saw Deane Martin accepted and like any horse who stacks up a winning record - it sounds good.

It is going to sound a lot better too if an ambitious plan set for the gelding comes to fruition.

Stable foreman Allan Peard said the Ruakaka race was a stepping stone for Deane Martin to more riches.

"It is a race he is capable of winning and fits perfectly with his programme," Peard said.

"There was a rating 85, 1600m at Te Rapa on Saturday worth $10,000 more but the distance is just a fraction further than what he is ready for."

Deane Martin's racing programme has been fine tuned since returning to racing.

He won the $100,000 Karaka Stayers' Cup at Ellerslie on January 26 over 2200m and was a creditable fourth in the Avondale Cup. Turned out after failing in the Auckland Cup, his preparation has been aimed at an Australian spring campaign.

"Providing he performs as well as we think on Wednesday, his next start will be in the Premier's Cup at Rosehill in Sydney on August 30," Peard said.

The Premier's Cup is a Listed race over 1800m.

"Then there is the Hills Stakes and his main target The Metropolitan Handicap at Randwick on September 29," Peard said.

Wallace trained the 1991 winner of The Metropolitan, Lord Revenir.

So precise has the preparation been, Wallace sent the horse north to Ruakaka for a gallop the week before he resumed with a close third behind Spin Doctor and Faraway Eyes on July 26 at the track.

"There were no suitable trials for him and the trip away and a hit-out was what he needed," Peard said.

Peard admits tomorrow's distance of 1400m is short of Deane Martin's best but said the horse's class will take him close.

"He has a good record at Ruakaka and his recent work since his first-up run has been excellent," he said. "This race is part of a long-range plan and a chance to get some spending money for Sydney."

Long-range plans that come together are reminiscent of another Dean Martin standard, Memories are Made of This.

- Northern Advocate

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