Muscle Bank is now the best trotter that Ronnie Dawe has bred 

 By Duane Ranger

Kaikoura and Cup Day-bound, Muscle Bank, has now put her hoof up as the best trotter Fernside breeder, Ronnie Dawe, has produced. 

Muscle Bank and Robbie Close at Addington, October 20
(c) AJ – Race Images

The 6-year-old Muscle Hill mare notched up her fifth victory in 27 starts in race 10 – the False Step R50-70 Trot – at Addington Raceway Friday, 20 October. Muscle Bank is trained by Tom Bamford at Rangiora, and was driven by Robbie Close.

“I’ve bred some nice pacers since I started out with Smooth Maker (Make A Deal – My Excuse mare) in 2000, and Muscle Bank’s mother is the best trotter I’ve raced. This mare (Muscle Bank) is the only foal from the family to have won five races, so she’s on top – for now,” 62-year-old Dawe said. 

Muscle Bank’s mother is the (2006 Continentalman – Auto Bank – Sundon) Group Two winning mare Continental Auto. 

“I leased Continental Auto from her breeders Mike Gourdie and Michael House when she was a yearling. They knew I was looking for a horse to race, and then to breed from one day. I soon bought her for $10,000 and she went on to win five races (12 placings – $82,590), including the Group Two New Zealand Sires Stakes Champs in 2009,” Dawe said. 

“She proved to be a very good purchase. Her mother’s grand-dam Indette (1979 Boyden Hanover – Librette – Armbro Del mare) left some really nice horses, and that mare herself won a lot of races,” Dawe said. 

Ronnie Dawe with wife Trudy

Indette placed in both the National Trot (1984) and the Northern Trotting Derby (1983) and retired in 1988 the winner of 21 races and $111,513. 

“She was a very good two and-3-year-old, and then got sore. She was a big horse. I even sent her to Australia to race where she had nine starts in New South Wales and won a race at Menangle (December 10, 2013) before I brought her home to breed from,” Dawe said. 

The man who owns the North Canterbury-based Dawe Contracting company, said he then put Continental Auto to Andover Hall in late 2014 and on October 28, 2015, Go On Andover was born. 

“I won a race with him and then sold him to Steve Cornwall in Auckland, who only raced him twice. Muscle Bank was born the following year.”

Dawe said Muscle Bank’s latest three-quarter length triumph could be put down to trainer and driver. 

“Tom’s done a splendid job with the mare, and Robbie drove her perfectly. I suggested hold tight and try and take hold of her early, and that’s exactly what he did. 

“She’s got a lot of speed and a nice gait. Tom has Kaikoura (October 30) and New Zealand Cup Day (November 14) lined up for her. I think she can win more races because she has a big motor,” said Dawe who owns Muscle Bank with his wife, Trudy, his Dad, and his friend Alison Whyte. 

“The mare isn’t in foal this year. In fact, I’ve given her away to Megan Swain to breed from. We do have a Six Pack yearling out of her. She is a big horse and is currently being broken in. The mare left one other colt – a 2017 son of Father Patrick named Ryan John, who just didn’t have the head for racing,” Dawe said. 

He said he intended to keep racing Muscle Bank and breed from her in a year or so. 

“She will tell me when she’s ready to stop and then I’ll breed from her. I’ve also got  Party Park to carry the breed onone day as well,” Dawe said. 

Dawe was born in Rangiora and educated at Rangiora High School. He has been a truck and digger driver and owned a family logging company for 15 years. Dawe has two daughters – Stacey and Courtney, plus two grandchildren. 

“Smooth Maker is the best pacer I’ve bred from. She only won two races but left me three Cup Class horses – Excuse Maker (2007 McArdle gelding); Mach’s Gladiator (2009 Mach Three gelding), and Wild Excuse (2015 A Rocknroll Dance mare). They’d be the best pacers I’ve bred,” Dawe said.