By Duane Ranger
What John Cremin and John Green said to each other up the Parklands Paceway passing lane just after the turn of the century still can’t be repeated.
Cremin, who was driving Orchid City Lad, said there were some strong expletives exchanged and it got a bit ugly, but it didn’t quite get to the stoush stage.
“You can’t write what we said, but that’s how we met. We didn’t appreciate each other’s driving that day. After that we became very good friends. It’s still mentioned at family milestones and birthdays when we all meet up,” Cremin said.
Fast forward a couple of decades to Tuesday’s (June 25) Albion Park Trots and Cremin and South Auckland-based Green combined to win the C7 and faster seventh event with big Hughie Green.
It was the Cremin trained and driven Hughie Green’s eighth win since he relocated from Bunty Hughes South Auckland barn in early 2017. He was bred and is owned by the Green family at Ardmore.
The 7-year-old Art Major gelding has now won 18 of his 44 starts and placed eight times ($246,985) since making his winning debut at Cambridge Raceway in November 2013.
“He’s a big lump of a horse who is still a bit fragile. He’s had his fair share of troubles over the years, but Tuesday’s win was a tough performance. He’s the best I’ve trained.
“He’s not the superstar he was when Bunty had him, and he ran second in the Auckland Cup (2015), but if I can keep on top of his issues then he can win a few more. The Blacks A Fake and the Sunshine Sprint next month are his main targets. That is if he makes the fields,” Cremin said.
Hughie Green had to be good to win on Tuesday. It was the Cremin drive that got him home, after sitting three-wide without cover for most of the last lap.
“There was a steady second quarter and when they dropped the anchor I had to work ‘Hughie’ into it. I needed to be near the ‘death’ horses when the pace went on because I knew he had the stamina to kick on.
“He might be big, but he’s a kind horse who always gives his best on race-day. I’d seen him race live in the Sires Stakes final in Christchurch and I always watched his races in New Zealand, simply because he was our good friend’s horse,” said Cremin.
After sitting three-wide and then parked big ‘Hughie’, who was the $7 third favourite, dug deep to hold out second favourite, Invincible Loxton (Kylie Rasmussen) by half a neck.
He stopped the clock in 1:57.4 (1660m mobile). His winning mile-rate was 1:53.9 and his sectionals were 27.3, 30.9, 27.3, and 28.1.
Cremin said he had two Green-owned and bred pacers in his barn. The other was Hughie Green’s full sister, Hughie’s Sister.
“She has a few issues too but I’ve been changing her gear and doing a few things with her and I reckon she’s on the verge of really stepping up.
“She’s also a lovely pacer. John’s horses are the only ones from outside our stable that we take. Mind you if John offered me a cat, I’d probably take that off him as well,” Cremin joked.
The siblings’ mother, Alta Serena won 21 races and $593,618, including two Group Ones. They are both named after Green’s late father and Auckland philanthropist, Hugh Green.
Cremin is hoping that winning feeling carries on throughout the weekend, especially at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Sunday.
The 56-year-old Carbrook horseman will be looking to claim his second Group One event behind the talented Pelosi in the $125,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Final for the juvenile fillies.
The Anna Woodmansey trained 2-year-old daughter of American Ideal has drawn five of 12 in the 1609m mobile. She will be looking to extend her impressive record where she has so far won five of her seven starts and placed in one other for $179,236 in purses.
“I’ll fly down on Sunday morning. The race isn’t until just before 2pm. The thing I like about her is that she has so much ability, yet she is not over-trained.
“Anna has managed her so well. One thing I know is that she won’t be retired from over-work. She is maturing very well and should take some beating on Sunday,” Cremin said.
“I always get excited when I get to sit behind her,” he added.
Pelosi provided both Cremin and Woodmansey with their first Group One wins in the $350,000 APG 2yo Fillies Final at Albion Park on May 11.