Can Rees Go From Zero To Hero

Prior to the 2023 season Mark Rees had never trained a square gaiter, having always concentrated on the pacers.

Always tinkering with a few horses in his small team, the jovial trainer had prepared around 260 winners, with trotters never even a thought.

That all changed in February this year when the opportunity to purchase a well credentialed trotter from the North Island of New Zealand presented and Rees was able to put together a group of owners and submit an offer.

Arriving in late February, Call Me Trouble, had won over $125,000 in stakes and 12 races in New Zealand before being exported.

“With the increases to the big races for the Winter for trotters and then the Inters, we thought we would go after one that had a good record,” Rees said.

“His form was handy and had run in Group races in Auckland before we put in the offer.

“He has always shown plenty of ability but he has a bit of a mind of his own, that said, he has been able to pay his way and give us two wins.

“It was the one to give me my first trotting winner and we won a heat of the DJA (Darrel Alexander Memorial Series) and while he has given some headaches, we might have finally worked him out”.

Call Me Trouble

Not long after Call Me Trouble arrived in Rees stable and a second square gaiter was on the transporter heading from New South Wales to double his trotting involvement.

My Ultimate Eddie was purchased from the stables of Alex Alchin, with some of the same owners from Call Me Trouble parlaying their involvement into the pacing bred four-year-old.

Rees was able to qualify his newest trotter for the inaugural The Great Square during the Constellations Carnival, finishing midfield behind the impressive London To A Brick.

Just three weeks later and My Ultimate Eddie was successful, with Rees claiming his second winner, the four-year-old’s win even sweeter as he picked up the $14,000 QBRED First win bonus.

“When Russ (managing owner Russell Reimer- also in Call Me Trouble) was chasing another trotter, we saw that this guy was a QBRED so it meant chasing after him was going to prove worthwhile.”

Pacing bred, My Ultimate Eddie is by the champion sire Art Major out of the 11-time winning mare Lauramegan.

With the Inter Dominion approaching, connections were hopeful that ‘Eddie’ would force his way up the rankings and be able to squeeze into ID23.

While My Ultimate Eddie had been racing super consistently, he was sitting precariously in the rankings, while Call Me Trouble had fortified his ranking to guarantee his position in the top 24.

However, he has been back at the trials twice to iron out his starting manners, with a trial at Albion Park and one at Redcliffe, both were able to generate some sharp work.

Placed in five successive runs prior to the final rankings being released, My Ultimate Eddie was still walking the tightwire, however the faith of connections to have a throw at the stumps has been repaid, with the four-year-old sneaking into the Series.

One of just three four-year-olds in the trotters Series, My Ultimate Eddie will also take winning form into Friday night’s first round heat, having scored at his final lead up run, defeating several runners that will also be competing in ID23.

“It has not been without plenty of headaches with both of these trotters but here we are now with two runners in an Inter Dominion Series and the only QBRED in it.

“Considering before this year I had never had a trotter, to be in this position seems a bit surreal.”

It might be surreal, but dreams are free and to qualify for a Trotters Inter Dominion Grand Final would be a feat that Rees would have scoffed at just ten months ago.