More in store for popular stable owner

Harbourside (Troy Harris) holding out Dance Card to score a deserved win at Matamata yesterday for part-owner Alan Collie, who is hoping for further success this weekend.

Cambridge trainer Tony Pike has a large host of owners on his books and one of the most deserving winners was toasting success at Matamata yesterday.

Alan Collie, a stalwart of the Pike stable, was on course to celebrate the breakthrough win of Harbourside in the Happy 80th Wally Henderson Maiden 1600 and that could be the start of a big few days for him.

With a bit of luck Collie could be in for a repeat at Ellerslie on Saturday, not once but twice. He is a  part-owner of Wild Like in the second event, the Skycity Auckland 1400, and Stella Noire in the sixth race, the Vector Wero Whitewater Park R65 1200m.

Collie is more than just a stalwart of the Pike stable. He is considered the right-hand man around the Pike stable and integral to the success of the operation, says Pike’s mother, Vicki.

“We’d be lost without him,’’ she said. ‘’He’s a real asset to Tony and is a long-time family friend.”

Collie’s day starts at 3.30am with making up the feeds for all the horses and later he picks up a rake to do some “mucking out” and whatever is needed around the stable.

‘’I love doing it all,’’ he said. ‘’I love being with the horses and it’s great to see them winning, especially the ones I’ve got a share in.”

Collie’s biggest success as an owner over the years was with Taking The Mickey, whom he bred and raced. He won eight races and over $300,000 in prizemoney with the highlight coming in the 2009 Gr.3 Winter Cup at Riccarton.

‘’I’ve always had a horse or two and now I’ve got shares in three with Tony,’’ said Collie.

“Tony buys them from the sales and if I like the look of them I’ll take a share. It’s too expensive to race one on my own now.’’

Collie was obviously thrilled to see Harbourside quit maiden class yesterday after being runner-up in five of his previous nine starts, as well as picking up a couple of fourths. Three of those seconds had been at Matamata and in two of them he was beaten a mere short head.

“He certainly deserved this win,’’ said Collie. “He’s still learning, but he’s shown enough.’’

Harbourside, a son of Harbour Watch, looked the winner when he ranged up early in the run home for rider Troy Harris and, despite being pressured late by Dance Card on the inside, he held on to score by a head.

Collie’s attention will now switch to Ellerslie on Saturday and focus on Stella Noire, who was on the ballot when acceptances closed but looks likely to slip into the field, and Wild Like.

Stella Noire, a daughter of Showcasing, looked smart as a two-year-old when winning on debut at Ellerslie on Boxing Day 2017, but has had more than her share of setbacks since then and has started just another three times with two of those appearances being in black type company.

She finished eighth fresh-up in a Listed event at Hastings then got hampered when sixth on the same course three weeks later in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m). She was then off the scene until a trial last month and after another trial she resumed with an encouraging fourth to Not Usual June at Te Aroha on March 15 when held up in the home straight.

Wild Like, a three-year-old gelding by Dalgar, is also on the verge of success with a last-start second at Rotorua in his third start.

‘’I think he could be the best of all of them,’’ said Collie.