Michael House entered the record books with seven training wins at Manawatu on Tuesday afternoon.
It equalled the New Zealand record, which had been achieved four times previously, but he was the first one to do it on his own.
Ironically, it was very much a team effort for House, who wasn’t even on course to enjoy the landmark day.
Blair Orange, his usual driving partner at the Manawatu meetings, drove six of the seven winners – a personal best for him and within one of Tony Herlihy, Dexter Dunn and Doug Watts’ single meeting driving record of seven wins.
House was quick to deflect to plaudits and said a lot of the thanks go to his ‘travelling’ team of sidekicks.
“It’s a momentous life event, and I can only reflect on it with great pride.
“But I’m only the name in the book – there is a great team around me that makes this happen.
“I can’t drive all the trucks, I can’t gear them all up and in today’s case I wasn’t even there.
“I’ve been driving all around Southland looking at yearlings for the past two days.
“I haven’t even checked in with the team, that’s how much I trust them.”
House says his travelling forewoman, Penny Boyle, deserves a lot of credit, as does float driver and helper, Lindsay Boulton.
“They put up with me when I’m at my worst, but they have a great way of dealing with it.
“They’re wonderful people and it just doesn’t work without them.
“I’m also immensely grateful to all the owners that have come on board and given me horses for these trips.
“A couple of those horses I’ve only had for a week or so.”
House went within a neck and a head of training the entire nine-race card, Maddisons Desire and Anna Barclay pegged back late by a pair of Scott Dickson-trained pacers.
“That would have been immortality, wouldn’t it?” he mused.
House joins Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen (twice – 2014, 2017), Purdon and Grant Payne (2009) and Roy and Barry Purdon (1993) in the seven-win club.
House says the Manawatu raids have become an important earner for him after a recent property deal went pear-shaped and left him precariously positioned.
“I’m taking this very seriously.
“Manawatu has become a lifeline for me.
“I need the money.
“I go in planning for these like Mark and Natalie plan for Cup Day.”
At least four of today’s winners will race again on Thursday and then head to Auckland to join House’s new satellite stable at the Kumeu racetrack, which will be looked after by experienced horseman Neil Munro.
“She’s Allthe Craze will go, as well as Mockingjay and one of the maiden winners (Pay Me Well or Frosty Reception).
“I’m looking forward to that challenge and so is Neil.
“We’ve given each other three months and we’ll reassess things after that.”
But House loves a challenge.
“There’s a great saying that I love and that is that you’re only limited by your imagination.
“You shouldn’t fear losing, you should fear not trying hard enough.
“And sure, I’ve been guilty of ‘over trying’ in the past, but here I am.
“I’ve been pretty happy with how today has gone – I saw some lovely yearlings, the team went super and I got to catch up with some great friends on the bus tour.
“Now I’m driving the last leg home by myself, between Oamaru and Christchurch, and it’s a chance to reflect and catch up on everything.”
House’s seven winners were Gunners Coin, Frosty Reception, Pay Me Well, Mockingjay, Blarney Babe, She’s Allthe Craze and Shillelagh.
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