By Duane Ranger
The Ebenezer-based Crone stable is on target to break its personal best tally of 40 wins in a season, and their good friend Rickie Alchin has played his part in their recent run of success.
The Brilliant New South Wales horseman gifted pacing gelding, Schooby, to Gavin and Kay Crone. Alchin trained Schooby for his first two race starts in mid-2018.
The Crones then won a trial with him on Boxing Day 2018.
Up until December this year the 6-year-old son of Schoobee’s Place hadn’t shown much, and then when his form got solid, he went bang, bang – winning at Redcliffe twice within the space of five days.
Last night (January 15) Schooby and Adam Richardson drew the ace and won easily by 3.2 metres as a $3.50 second favourite.
Angus Garrard won behind him on January 10 when he paid the Crone Stables highest ever winning dividend of $56.50 and $12.20.
Crone (Gavin) said he always gave a ‘good feel’.
“He feels okay when he puts it all together. He’s still big and dumb and has a lot to learn. He’s definitely the type who will get better with experience. He’s no star, and is still only four, so who knows what will happen in a season or two.
“I was just in the right place at the right time when Rickie offered us the horse - which we thought was a really nice gesture. We have been friends with the Alchins for a few years now and they are lovely people. I hope Schooby can keep on winning,” said co-owner and co-trainer, Crone.
He said because Schooby still had a lot to learn, and because he didn’t concentrate the same when asked to produce at Albion Park, the bay gelding had some way to go to be the Crones’ stable star.
“We have everyone’s hand-me-downs and no real stars, but Dollar Bill is probably going the best of them at the moment.
“We had a good finish to last season, and it has carried on this year. Actually, it’s been our best start to a season yet. In just over four months I think we’ve won 19 or 20 races.
“Our best is 40, and that’s the target in 2019-2020. You have to remember we are a family business who runs on a limited budget. We have a bit of a reputation for getting broken down or unwanted horses up and running,” Crone (Gavin) said.
“But lately we have been getting disappointed if we haven’t trained one winner a week – so that’s a good thing,” he added.
Crone and his wife Kay work a team of 16, with their son Matthew, and daughter Samantha.
“It’s a real family stable. Kay is in the racebook as the trainer though. I just do as I’m told. We all love what we do. This is all I have done. I love the trotters. It’s a heredity thing really.
“My father (George) and step-grandfather, Bob Wedge, both had horses. It’s all I’ve known. I’ve had some real nice ones over the years. Forgotten Hero (20 wins) and Cool Fury (16 wins) are two that spring to mind. I sold the latter to the United states and she did well over there,” the 51-year-old said.
He said the 2004 New South Wales Trotters Oaks with Chocolate Girl was a memorable win.
“Like most, we’ve had a lot of highs and lows in the sport, but have also taken a lot of satisfaction in producing winners from horses others didn’t want.”
Princess Katerina is one of many horses the Crones have saved from being a hack.
“I paid next to nothing for her. She was a little thing and also had a few issues, but we took our time with her and she went on to win some nice stakes for us.”
The Crones bought the 67-year-old Armbro Variable mare in January and she has now won four of her 27 starts and placed in seven others for $22,657 in purses.
Fourth was her best result in 10 Victorian starts between August 2015 and December 4 2018.
“Then there was Platinum Art. I think we paid $300 for him and he’s now won more than $25,000 for us, “Crone said.
In fact, the Crone Stable was expecting another arrival today (Thursday).
Watts Up Maori is coming north from New South Wales having won five of his 41 starts. The Bacardi Lindy 8- year-old gelding has also placed 12 times and banked $39,910 in purses.