Nottingham K Two Upsets
Gore trainer George Orr never lost faith in his trotter Nottingham K Two.
Yesterday at Gore most punters wouldn’t have given the horse any chance in a field where other horses had higher ratings. Orr wasn’t deterred though, especially sincde the Simon Roydon seven year old had run a close second to Amabede at Ascot Park last weekend.
Driver Hamish Hunter settled Nottingham K Two at third early, beforetaking him to the front with two laps to run.
Hamish Hunter has Nottingham K Two in front with two laps to run – Photo Bruce Stewart
With just under 1600 metres to go backmarker Grace O’Malley took over ,giving Nottingham K Two the perfect trail. Majestic Man was sitting parked.
Nottingham K Two getting a nice sit behind Grace O’Malley with a lap to run – Photo Bruce Stewart
At the top of the straight in the run to the finish Majestic Man hit the front but Hunter and Nottingham K Two came resolutely up the passing lane to nab the favourite by a head.
Nottingham K Two (5) on the inside getting the better of Majestic Man (13) – Photo Bruce Stewart
“I thought there were two or three that would be too good for him but he got away well and got into a good trail. I thought when Grace O’Malley went round that we’d be tough and if she could get us to the passing lane he’d do the rest. He does follow speed good and you saw last week in that race at Invercargill that he had nine horses in front of him at the half (finished second),” said Orr.
Heading back to the stable area – job done. Photo Bruce Stewart
“He’s a horse that’s got a lot of ability but it’s taken a long time to get it out of him and get all the ringcraft together. It’s a great thrill. I’ve never had many trotters. They’re a different ballgame and you’ve just got to take your time. Hopefully now we’ve turned the corner and we’ll go forward from here.”
He says it’s been a long process to get the horse to this point and he was very complimentary of veteran horseman Gary McEwan.
“I had Gary McEwan driving him and they did a lot of training together. If I hadn’t had Gary it’s hard to know where he would have finished up because he could have had ten drivers and eight could have said he was a mongrel.
Hamish Hunter who drove the horse yesterday, has also played a big part in shaping his career.
Nottingham K Two was bred by Orr who purchased his dam Strawb’s K Two off his breeder Brian Wastney in 2008. He was unaware of how the mare got her name until he got a phone call one day from a lady selling raffles.
“The raffle was for a centential jubilee for the Nelson or Blenheim Trotting Club. We got talking and she said ‘what have you got going?’ I said I had a trotter that was only a two year old that had a bit of ability. She asked me what he was by and out of and I told her. The next thing she was laughing on the end of the phone.
“She said ‘I actually broke the horse in. I was working for Martin Denton. I think it was him but I won’t guarantee that. It got it’s name because it climbed the wall of the shed, jumped out of the yards and did everything it could do to get away.’ (K2 is the second highest mountain in the world).
In the early part of his career Nottingham K Two showed raw ability but too often he broke and couldn’t make up the ground needed to feature in the finish.
“He’s done that all along. If you go back two years he was losing 100 metres at the start and just mowing other horses down. That gave me encouragement all the time.”
Orr also gained a certain amount of satisfaction winning this race (Colin Baynes Memorial) as he and his father spent a lot of time at Baynes Otama property.
“Dad (Len Orr) went to Colin Baynes or Alan Jones (Kina Craig) with five or six mares a year. I would have loved Dad to be here now. He hated trotters.”
Orr doesn’t train too may horses and the win yesterday was only his sixth. One horse he trained that he reckon’s never reached it’s potential was Nottingham VC. He won two races here and was placed ten other times on fifty one starts.
“He was a Cup horse but he broke two legs; one before he got started and it had to have five screws in it. The other one went after six or seven starts. He was a seven year old maiden and every time I took him to the races he was in the money if he was sound. I ended up selling him to Australia.”
Orr trains on a small track at Don Collett’s old Thoroughbred stud just out of Gore which was named Nottingham Park – hence the Nottingham name.
The win was Nottingham K Two’s second in thirty eight starts.
“He’s the type of horse that won’t win a million dollars. But we’ll have a bit of fun with him and I think he’ll go on.