Spice It Up (David Butcher) cruises to the line at Alexandra Park on Friday night. PHOTO: Megan Liefting/Race Images.

Perseverance pays - Spice It Up’s Auckland triumph brings the house down in Napier

Napier couple Rod and Sue Fleming weren’t well enough to make it to Auckland to see Spice It Up win at Auckland on Friday night but they still celebrated what for so long seemed an unachievable dream.

“We were out of our trees, we couldn’t believe it,” Rod Fleming said of the filly’s decisive two and a quarter length romp.

“We popped some bubbles and sat up ’til god knows what time replaying the race, maybe seven times, which was like seven wins.”

The win was two years in the making since Lincoln Farms’ clients clambered to take up shares in the Captaintreacherous filly when she showed real early talent.

Trainer Ray Green persevered with Spice It Up.Trainer Ray Green persevered with Spice It Up.But with Spice It Up’s speed came a persistent tie-up condition which halted her in numerous preparations.

When it looked like she might never make it to the races, in line with John and Lynne Street’s unmatched policy, the partners were offered the chance to switch to other horses.

Lincoln Farms’ business manager Ian Middleton recalls only the Flemings opted to stay in the filly.

“I tried to put them into anther horse and we gave them plenty of time to change their minds but they’d visited her at the stable and Sue was insistent they wanted to stay in her.”

Rod Fleming admits he started looking at other two-year-olds.

“But Sue said no, we like this horse, she’ll come right. “We liked the way Ray Green talked about her, and it’s not often that John keeps horses like that which told me he was interested in her too.

“They said we’ll just keep trying, put her in the paddock, and see what happens.”

Green’s more recent move to train her from the paddock and basically restrict her to eating grass, eventually paid dividends.

Before her debut third last month, all her previous owners were invited to come back into the ownership, but none took up the offer.

So it was with mixed feelings that everyone watched on Friday night as David Butcher secured a perfect trail before exploding past The Missing Sock up the passing lane.

“David didn’t touch her and away she went, bang,” Rod Fleming enthused.

Napier owners Rod and Sue Fleming stuck with the ship.Napier owners Rod and Sue Fleming stuck with the ship.“It’s a shame all the good two and three-year-old filly races are gone but hopefully we can win some more with her now.”

Fleming acknowledges they’ve been incredibly lucky in their time racing Lincoln Farms’ horses, having shares previously in King Of Swing, Vasari (23 wins) and Double Or Nothing (3 wins).

“We were very disappointed King Of Swing was sold but it was good money and he won seven races (and $236,000) plus the Breeders Crown in Australia (2017).

“We had a great time on that trip. John and Lynne are very gracious and they treat you very well.”

Fleming has known Street for more than 50 years, both grocers initially, but meeting through their shared enjoyment of indoor bowls.

“John and I played a lot of indoor bowls together and we won a NZ fours’ title in 1980.”

Fleming, 75, isn’t quite so agile these days and is in semi-retirement, getting round on crutches until he’s back in hospital in two weeks for a second try at a hip replacement.

“Sue has been crook for the last three or four months too but we’re keen to get up to Auckland again when we can.”

The couple are real identities in Napier where they have been in real estate for a combined 43 years.

Our runners this week

Saturday night at Albion Park


Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 2: Frisco Bay

“He obviously needed the run last week. He pulled his way round the field and sat outside the leader but he couldn’t cop a run like that first-up and got tired. The ability is there, whether he’s fit enough or not we’ll find out. But I expect him to go well, the three draw is much better than last week.”

Race 2: Lenny Lincoln

“He’ll probably need a race but he’s capable of running a slot. He’s unlucky not to have won a race, all three of his seconds were good. He’s got a bit better with each of his trials this time in and he got home well last Saturday, after coming widest on the turn.”

Race 3: Obadiah Dragon

“The way the race was run at Cambridge last week, his effort wasn’t bad at all. Moni (Monika Ranger) said he felt strong and, if he’d been a few slots closer, he would have been right in it. He’ll be improved for the run.”

Race 3: Leo Lincoln

“He’s very consistent - he’s only missed a couple of cheques. But he’s another just coming back and should improve with the run.”

Dan Costello Race Photography