Emotional Win with Johnny Mac

Emotional Win with Johnny Mac

Bruce Stewart

27th December 2021

“My father passed away at the start of December and it’s been a pretty tough few weeks for the stable because he loved this horse. He would have loved that,” said Tyler Dewe after Johnny Mac won today’s Mataura Licensing Trust Gore Pacing Cup.

Johnny Mac and Blair Orange warming up

Dewe is the stable foreman for Michael House’s Ascot Park barn. House has pacers, trotters and gallopers there.

“It’s very challenging for someone so young. I’m only twenty-five but winning races like that is very rewarding.”

Dewe is helped by his partner Stacey Poole as well as newcomer Warren McGowen. Nicki Brown and jockey Chris Johnson look after the House gallopers, which share the barn space.

“Warren’s had no experience with the horses but he’s a gem and is picking up the trade pretty quickly.”

House runs three barns: in Auckland, Christchurch, and Invercargill and for the last two seasons he has been a godsend for Southern Harness, providing good horse numbers that have often been the difference between races going ahead or not.

“I don’t know how Michael does it to be honest.”

In today’s $20,000 feature driver Blair Orange pinged Johnny Mac off the back mark of thirty metres, settling second last in the nine horse field. With a lap to run Orange began to move the six year old round the field, forcing Get Up N Dance to move off the inside running line. This gave Johnny Mac the one one. On straightening, Get Up N Dance took the lead but Orange moved off his back and Johnny Mac let down with a genuine sprint to take out the feature by a length and a quarter from Plutonium Lady which came home late.

“Very satisfying because it’s our first Country Cup win since the barn has been operating, for 18 months. The horse really deserved it because he’s been placed in some of the other Country Cups races.”

At the finish line

Winning connections

Dewe began his career in Southland, winning his first race as a driver with the Hamish Hunter trained Smiling Armada in October 2015. Since then he’s been in and out of the sport.

“I love it. I don’t know where I’d be without it. I’ve had a couple of tries at being away and I wasn’t a happy person so I’m back here and we’re going alright.”