HE probably won’t appreciate being called a veteran, but accomplished reinsman Peter Morris will make a rare trip to Bankstown today to driver a trotter for his good friend Graeme Hartman.
Morris rarely leaves the confines of Menangle Park to drive these days but Hartman lured him back into the sulky to partner wayward trotting mare Later a few months ago after she continued to gallop and prove a handful in her races.
Hartman didn’t hesitate throwing the reins to Morris when he joked that he could definitely get her to settle and do her best for him.
“We were having a few drinks and Later’s form came up and Peter joked that he could probably sit backwards and get her home, or something like that,” laughed Hartman.
“At that stage Peter had just got his license back and wasn’t getting too many drives so I said ‘go for it Pete, go out and do your best’.
The proof’s in the pudding, as they say, as Later duly did the right thing by Hartman – and Morris – and scored an overdue win at Menangle.
Morris is quite content to help out his son Robbie and training partner KerryAnn Turner these days around their busy Menangle Park stables – and leave the driving to the younger brigade.
Still Hartman called on him again at Menangle on Tuesday in an effort to get his star mare back into the winners’ circle.
She almost succeeded, finishing a close fourth to Empire Bay.
So Hartman had no hesitation backing her up at Bankstown where, ironically, her biggest danger will probably be No Trumps No Glory, to be driven by Peter’s son Robbie in Race Six, the Allan Winterbottom Trotters Mobile.
“I think we’ve got this mare pretty-well sorted out now,” says Hartman, a former Surry Hills publican, who prepares a small team at Theresa Park near Camden.
“Of course Bankstown might well be a different proposition as this mare really doesn’t appreciate a different environment.
“She won’t go anywhere without a travelling companion and expects that partner to be next to her in the stalls as well.
“When she steps onto Bankstown, she’ll be looking around and wondering what it’s all about.
“So we won’t know how she’ll handle the change from racing at Menangle until we get her out there.
“I’m glad I’ve been able to give Peter a drive now and again and let’s hope she does her best for him at Bankstown too.
“Pete will probably be looking around and wondering where he is too.”
Hartman, who has a great strike rate, will also start veteran gelding The Black Assassin in Race Four with Bankstown specialist Glen McElhinney taking the reins for the first time for a while.
“She’s going along alright at home but this is a pretty tough ask against the likes of Macca Kelly and the others,” says Hartman.