YEAR: 2006


Syndicate Members savour the victory
Rob Carr had more than one reason to savour the victory by Changeover in Tuesday's $175,000 NRM Sires' Stakes Final at Addington. Firstly, together with his business partner Don Kirkbride he bred the In The Pocket-Chaangerr colt, and secondly, he manages the ATC Trot 2006 Syndicate that races the 3-year-old.

Th fact that he wears both caps actually put him in a slightly embarrassing situation to begin with. "We actually give trainers instructions not to buy our horses at the Sales," Carr said. "I didn't know it on the day, but Aria (Small) came up to me later and revealed that Geoff had bought our horse - for the syndicate. "So when I asked Geoff about it he said he couldn't buy a better horse for the money, then offered to look for another one if I wanted." Auckland Trotting Club officials accepted the oversight on this occasion and Changeover joined Calibrator and General George to make up the 2006 Syndicate's trio of horses. He has now won the 50-share group nearly $240,000, with Tuesday's victory his most entralling yet.

Punched out by driver David Butcher to follow Fergiemack forward, Changeover crossed to the parked position but Butcher wasn't happy with that and went again, surging to the front. The colt had done some work to get there, and he suddenly had his main danger perched right in behind him too but Changeover was equal to the task. In the end he held Fergimack comfortably at bay by half a length, stopping the clock at a brilliant 2:20.3 for the 1950m mobile. Representing a mile rate of 1:55.7 Changeover's time is the fastest by any male pacer, any age, over the trip.

"We'd had a relatively soft run to get to be parked," Butcher said afterwards. "The wind was chasing us on that part of the track, so I decided to push on; we were either going to be good enough or not. I had no idea we were going that fast, because he was fair cruising down the back. When we got to the straight and I saw that Tony (Herlihy, Fergiemack) had already pulled out, I thought it was time to make them work a bit. But hey...we've railed, most of the rest had circled, and when you are going that speed the rail is the place to be."

Some 69 people filtered out of the main stand and piled into the birdcage afterwards to welcome back their hero; Carr says he knows that many were there, because he booked all their tickets. It was fanfare galore, and a reminder of how much fun and how successful the Auckland Trotting Club's syndicates have been for the people involved. Carr took over the role of th club's Syndication Manager from Robert Death following the inaugural Trotpower Syndicate, and there has been ATC Trot syndicates every year fron 2000 since. The stakes won from those syndicates is now bordering on a whopping $1.13 million.

"It is amazing that we still struggle to get numbers sometimes," Carr said, disbelievingly. "I think this syndicate's going to have a lot more fun yet, because Changeover will just keep getting better. Plus there is another two horses to look out for...Calibrator's had two starts and gone okay but he's just a bit weak at this stage and has been turned out; and General George qalified, had three months out, and he is just back into work now and looks smart also."

From a personal perspective, Carr and Kirkbride will send four mares to stud this year including Chaangerr, who "at this stage" is booked to Christian Cullen. They have also retained a Bettor's Delight half-sister to the Sires' Stakes winner who is two and in work with Tony Herlihy.

Credit: John Robinson writing in HRWeekly 16Nov06

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