Rookie Ballarat trainer and full-time nurse Tammy Birnie will relax on Saturday once Trust But Verify passes the post the first time and keeps going in the Mahogany Challenge (2500m) at Flemington.
Not unlike Homer Simpson’s adorable greyhound Santa’s Little Helper, the quirky Trust But Verify has a trick of pulling up in races immediately after the post and returning to the mounting yard.
The iconic 2500m start at Flemington — where the barriers are positioned in front of the grandstand — requires horses to run past the post before embarking on a full lap of the circuit.
Trust But Verify, named after a Russian proverb US President Ronald Reagan learned and often used to describe Soviet relations, must be led to the gates by a Clerk Of The Course for the same reason.
Birnie, a fan of science and sci-fi movies, came across the proverb watching HBO Series Chernobyl.
“He has a tendency to want to come back to the mounting yard,” Birnie said.
“And after the races he doesn’t want to come back to the mounting yard.
“I’m worried when he goes past in the staying race, on the first lap, he might come out of the race and head back to the mounting, but once he gets passed on the first lap I know we’re right.”
Trust But Verify (right) winning a maiden at Swan Hill. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Trust But Verify, a $600 online auction purchase that has already banked $16,215 prizemoney, has other tricks, too, including a liking for taps.
“I’ve come out and he’s turned the tap on and flooded the paddock,” Birnie said.
“We had to make a little contraption over the top of the tap, but now I’ve got him in a different paddock because he pulled the contraption off.
“He’s quite quirky, we have to put earmuffs on him and can only shoe his front feet (first) and wait a couple days for that to be over to do his back feet because we can’t do it all at once.
“He’s not nasty at all, just a serial pest.”
Birnie began nursing a decade ago, after injuries and genetics put paid to a career in the saddle, largely to fund her passion for eventually train horses.
About 18 months ago, with the bank balance needed to take out a licence and necessary experience, Birnie began working a small team off her Ballarat property.
Sun Samurai, racing at Geelong on Friday, gave Birnie her first two wins before Trust But Verify saluted at Swan Hill last month.
The chance to run the latter at Flemington was too good to pass up, despite a steep rise in class.
“I’ll be sick to my stomach with anxiety,” Birnie said of the $126 TAB outsider.
“As long as he gets around safely and doesn’t disgrace me too much I’ll be happy.
“I don’t think he’s a massive chance on Saturday but I’m hopeful. ”
Originally published asAnxious trainer putting her Trust in ‘serial pest’
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