Hawtin starts special day for popular owner

Aligns With Me (Danielle Johnson) starting off the memorable day for Pam Brindley last Sunday.

Thanks to Cambridge trainer Brendon Hawtin, well-known Waikato owner Pam Brindley will never forget last Sunday.

Hawtin provided Brindley with her first back-to-back double as an owner when producing debutantes Aligns With Me and So Much Mour to win the first two races at Te Awamutu.

And as if that wasn’t enough good news, Brindley received more when she got a call later that evening to inform her one of her broodmares, Capistrano Angel, had produced a “beautiful” Proisir filly.

“It was a very special day,” said Brindley. “To get the call about the Proisir filly topped it all off. I’ve also got a lovely two-year-old filly, Ultimate Angel, from Capistrano Angel.”

Capistrano Angel won just one race, but she recorded 13 placings and, most importantly, she was stakes-placed when a close third in the Listed NZB 2YO Fillies Stakes at Avondale in just her second start.

Pam Brindley, as race sponsor, pictured with her son, Michael (right) and amateur rider Scott Wenn after he won the Geoff Brindley Memorial 1600 at Te Aroha recently on Wagner.

Brindley loves both breeding and racing her thoroughbreds and with her late husband, Geoff, she enjoyed her share of ups and downs in both areas over the years. But, in typical sportsman fashion, the highs outweigh the lows.

One of the memorable days in racing came as a sponsor on the first day of this month at Te Aroha when Scott Wenn, one of her long-time trainers, won the Geoff Brindley Memorial 1600 for amateur riders on the Tarissa Mitchell-trained Wagner. On hand was her son Michael over from Tasmania on holiday.

As big a thrill as it was to see a friend win a race she sponsored, it was easily eclipsed by her achievement as an owner last Sunday with her back-to-back double, which rates right up there among her biggest highlights.

“I’d never won two in a row before and I was in shock. I wasn’t expecting them to win,” said Brindley. “They were both meant to be going to the trials, but they were cancelled. Instead we decided to give them a race.

“All I wanted with Aligns With Me was to see him to run about fifth and get to the post nicely. He was a gallop short. It was much the same with So Much Mour. As long as he went a good race I’d have been happy.”

Hawtin has his main stable at Cambridge, but also still operates a Te Awamutu barn, which is under the care of his father, Keith. It is from the Te Awamutu stable that both Aligns With Me and So Much Mour, along with several other young horses who are being given early preparation, are based and therefore it was just a short walk from the stable to the birdcage for their outings last Sunday.

“Being so handy made it easier on them,” said Brindley. “They thought they were going for the usual work until they got to the birdcage.”

Bred by the Brindleys, Aligns With Me had shown promise in his sole trial when a close second at Avondale last May before being put aside for a spell.

Danielle Johnson climbed aboard for the first time last Sunday in his second public appearance and settled him back fourth-last and wide and improved him across the top to be up wide and challenging on the home turn.

Aligns With Me showed a good turn of foot in the run home in the testing heavy11 track to draw ahead and win by three-quarters of a length.

The naming of Aligns With Me takes on a special meaning as Align died last year and Geoff Brindley passed away three years ago. “Align is up there with Geoff,” said Brindley. “Geoff never got to see Aligns With Me but he would have been so happy to see what he did on Sunday.”

Brindley died at the age of 71, just three days before Aligns With Me was born, and over the latter years of his life became more involved in the racing scene, both sharing some of his wife’s passion for the sport and becoming a committee member of the Te Aroha Jockey Club.

Pam Brindley continues to race her horses with the Estate of her late husband and the latter would also have got a thrill from the win of So Much Mour, having become very familiar with his dam, Sonet.

So Much Mour (Sam Spratt) completed a race-to-race double at Te Awamutu last Sunday for Pam Brindley and Brendon Hawtin.

“Many years ago we used to agist some of Brendan Lindsay’s horses at our place (Capistrano Lodge), and Sonet was one of them. She was here for months,” said Brindley. “She came to us when she had broken down as a two-year-old and I fell in love with her. I knew what ability she had and I have watched all her progeny go through the sales.”

Sonet was prepared at Matamata by Ray and Sharon Johnson and looked exciting winning her two juvenile starts then produced an eye-catching debut sixth in Listed company at Pukekohe, but broke down afterwards.

As a broodmare, Sonet (by Gold Brose) has left six winners with the best being Zonza (by Zabeel), a Group Three winner at Caulfield with five wins to his credit, and Our Shakira, a two-race winner and third in the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes.

Trained by Roger James for Brendan and Jo Lindsay, Zonza was also black-type placed on five occasions. She picked up a second and third at Listed level at Ellerslie and in Sydney and fourths in the Gr.1 Livamol Spring Classic, the Gr.2 Japan-NZ International Trophy at Tauranga and the Gr.3 Westbury Classic at Ellerslie.

With a liking for the progeny of the deceased Azamour, Brindley made her bid to buy one of Sonet’s foals when her son by Azamour was offered at the 2016 Select Yearling Sale at Karaka. She snapped him up for $45,000.

“I got Brendon (Hawtin) to go and see him for me and he couldn’t fault him,” said Brindley. “And Moira Murdoch, who helps look after Brendan Lindsay’s horses, said he was one of the nicest foals the mare had thrown.”

So Much Mour had two trials before his raceday debut last Sunday. The first one, at Te Teko in August last year, was a disaster when a horse played up alongside in the barrier and he didn’t have his mind on the job, but he showed promise when he returned to the trials last May, finishing second over 800 metres at Avondale.

Improved by that trials experience and despite being unable to have a further trials run at Cambridge recently, So Much Mour lived up to the promise he had shown the Hawtins and Brindley when winning in the hands of Sam Spratt last Sunday.

He bounced out well, settled fourth on the outside was held up a shade on the turn, but once switched to the inner he unleashed a strong finish to win by a length from the favourite Rose Royal, from Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman’s stable, with the Stephen Marsh-trained Zappeur completing a trifecta for Cambridge trainers.

“Looking ahead, Pam is going to have a bit of fun with him and Aligns With Me,” said Keith Hawtin, who was standing in for his son at the Te Awamutu meeting.

Brindley has six horses in work spread around a few stables and despite recently undergoing a hip replacement she loves to be on hand to watch them race. She is certainly glad she made the effort last Sunday.