The enigmatic pacer Groom provided local trainer Robert Olsen with his first winner in more than 12 years when he was successful in TAB Long May We Play Pace at Cranbourne on Monday afternoon.
Purchased as a lightly-raced four-year-old earlier this year, Groom has been a victim of his own waywardness on occasions but has shown sufficient promise to suggest that a win was beckoning for the son of Mr Feelgood.
On Monday Groom put his best foot forward with an unblemished display and led throughout for driver Scott Ewen to defeat the $2.00 favourite Blue Chipped by five metres on the line with The Blue Wren filling third placing.
Olsen, who potters around with just the one horse from his base at the Cranbourne Training Centre, was understandably delighted with his success.
“As strange as it sounds, I was just happy for the horse,” Olsen said on Tuesday. “He’s always shown ability but he’s thrown away his chances by galloping in a few races and has had a few niggling little issues.”
“My vet Peter Angus does a terrific job and I’ve got to thank him for his help.”
The win was equally satisfying for driver Scott Ewen who has been Groom’s regular race-day partner.
“Rob gives me a hand of a morning with my team and it was good to finally get a win for him with this horse. I went home and watched the replay a couple of times and you could hear Rob bellowing over the top of the caller all the way up the home straight.”
Groom remains loosely assessed under the National Ratings Handicapping System with a rating of just 44 rating points and so looks capable of racing consistently in the lower grades over the coming months.
In fact, the gelding is likely to have his next start in another rating 30-49 race at Cranbourne on Sunday week and should meet similar opposition to that he faced on Monday.
By David Scott
Photo: Cranbourne HRC