WHAT'S in a name? Plenty if you ask Bendigo harness racing trainer Brad Stevens, who trains the fan favourite Endsin A Party.
The five-year-old gelding has developed a bit of a cult following in Victorian harness racing circles - his growing supporter base no doubt boosted by a few more following his stirring win in last week's $14,500 Mildura Trotters Cup (2600m).
Stevens, who juggles training horses with the demands of his concreting business, has enjoyed plenty of good fortune with Endsin A Party and said the affection with which he is held by racegoers has not gone unnoticed.
"He is a lovely horse, everyone loves him. He's just so kind and always wants a pat," he said.
"The name gets people in a bit. As I said in my speech up at Mildura, it all ends in a party when we get home and that's what happened.
"We got to the All Seasons in Bendigo, where one of the owner's drinks, and had a celebration Friday and Saturday night."
The win last Thursday, with Bendigo's Chris Svanosio in the sulky, was the gelding's second major cups success.
He won the $12,000 McNamara Memorial Trotters Cup at Geelong (2570m) back in November and also placed in last month's Boort Trotters Cup.
Thursday night's success was the seventh career win from 55 starts for the son of Pegasus Spur and Lets Be Happy, who was originally trained by Mathew Gath.
All seven victories have come under the training of Stevens, who has had the horse for the last 33 of those starts.
Stevens, who has been training 'off and on' for about 20 years, said he headed to Mildura with a degree of confidence following some handy country cup runs to start 2019.
"He had a foot abscess about two and a bit weeks ago and we got rid of that and then we thought if he got the right run he would go pretty well," he said.
"He won pretty convincingly. He loves the staying races.
"We are looking at maybe going to Warragul next Sunday for the Warragul Cup. We will just wait and see how he is
"A lot of (horses) don't back up after that long trip to Mildura. You have to be careful, he's not a real tough horse, you have to look after him."
He is a lovely horse, everyone loves him. He's just so kind and always wants a pat.Brad Stevens
As for the future, Stevens has something a bit closer to both home and heart in mind for Endsin A Party.
"My plan is to hopefully have him ready for the Bendigo Trotters Cup in June, that's the one I'd love to win, the local cup," he said.
"Hopefully if I give him a little let up now he will be back and ready for that, but he will tell me what he wants to do.
"I didn't actually intend on racing him this long. He got knocked over in one of the other cups and we had a gear malfunction in the Cobram Cup.
"He could have been a lot closer in a few more cups, but we will see what unfolds, hopefully some more good times."
Stevens praised Svanosio and stable staff Michelle Phillips and Tarah Youngson for their roles with the horse.
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