Thefixer Back On Track

Thefixer Back On Track

Bruce Stewart

19th July 2022

Invercargill trainer Shannon Armour was at Cup Day at Addington in 2018. Little did she know the winner of the New Zealand Cup on that day would come under her care, albeit in a different role.

The Bettors Delight eight year old has been in training to be a Clerk of the Course horse and will begin his new job when the Southern Harness Season recommences next month.

The Fixer and Shannon Armour at Wyndham

Shannon bought Thefixer through the HERO programme run by HRNZ after the horse had been re-trained by Tarryn Jones.

“I flew up to Christchurch to see him. He was a bit footsore because he’d just had his shoes off but I could deal with that. I liked the horse because he had a good nature about him. Before I got back on the plane I messaged Brodie Phillips (Phillips Horse Transport) to get him home. I wasn’t going to miss out on that opportunity,” Armour said.

Shannon is well equipped to train Thefixer for his new role as she’s been riding since she was five, and attended the New Zealand Pony Club, Dressage, Show Jumping and Equestrian Championships.

She also attended Horse of the Year Shows. Mackelmore (Courage Under Fire- Olivia’s Next) which she took to the 2020 show in Hastings achieved runner up in the Ridden Standardbred section.

“To get second against the best of the best In New Zealand was amazing. Travelling from Invercargill wasn’t cheap but that made it worthwhile.”

Macklemore won numerous other titles at Canterbury and Otago shows.

“He was not built to be a racehorse, he was meant to be a show horse.”

Armour has had her harness racing training license since 2018 and she works her horses with her husband Archie. Her best winner has been Ivana Legacy which has won eleven races.

Shannon has just completed her fourth training day as Clerk of the Course under the guidance of Sally McKay and Sophie Price and is looking forward to helping out when she can.

“The talk is that they’re going to have two Clerks of the Course. These days everyone has other jobs and some of the meetings are during the week so it’s a matter of trying to work in with your jobs,” said Armour who works for Finance Now.

“Tosti” as Thefixer is known, raced over six seasons, starting forty seven times. He achieved twelve wins, ten seconds and six thirds, and won $1,055,693.

He won three Group One races including the 2018 New Zealand Trotting Cup (running the 3200 metres in 3-53.9 the second fastest cup time bettered only by Lazarus’s 3-53.1), the 2019 Ballarat Cup and the 2019 Allied Express Sprint. His other wins included the 2017 Listed Three Year Old New Zealand Sires Stakes Classic, the 2017 Group Three New Zealand Junior Free For All and the 2018 Group Three Maurice Holmes Vase.

Natalie Rasmussen drove him to win eleven times while Jonny Cox won on the gelding once.

There is another Southern connection to Thefixer. Pauline Gillan of Lochiel shared in the ownership of the gelding when he was racing.

Armour says Thefixer is adapting well to his new role and she’s looking forward to continuing his education.

“He’s got a good attitude and despite being an eight year old he still tries to learn. When I got him the basics were there but it was a matter of giving him more practice and (him becoming) more consistent. His cantering work has really come on.”

He is also partial to Betavet Prepare; a product he was introduced to when he was with Regan Todd at Woodend Beach.

“If he doesn’t get that when he’s finished working he’ll paw the ground until he gets it.”

In August we’ll see Thefixer and another Cup Class pacer and former Invercargill Cup winner Vi Et Animo as Clerk of the Course horses. Interesting Natalie Rasmussen drove them both to win feature races –  the 2011 Methven Cup with Vi Et Animo and the New Zealand Cup with Thefixer.