Every trainer remembers the first winner, and Ibrahim ‘Kouta’ Kama has managed this feat in only his first few months with that title.
It’s a promising start for Kouta, on his first start with his most recent charge, Go Twenty Two (Cosmic Rumble – Laura Allen), but he told SEN Track’s Thrill of the Chase the 425m win at Bendigo on May 15 wasn’t without a healthy dose of nerves.
“Walking to the boxes I started shivering a bit, but after I put him in the box I just thought well, that’s racing all I can do is put him in the box and see what he does.”
“To his credit, he didn’t begin the best and got held up a little bit, but when he started swinging around, I was pretty confident.”
Although Go Twenty Two (known as home as Les) already had eight wins from 42 starts with a former trainer, this was Kouta’s first foray, and he based much of his confidence in the dog’s short-term form.
“He’d won at Sale with a 25.03 over 440m back in April and I didn’t think the 425m at Bendigo would have suited him. It was really a fitness run leading up to a 500m the week after.”
“Anthony Azzopardi has also been great, a massive mentor. Between Daniel and Anthony, when I don’t know something they’re great to call on for advice.”
“When I put him in the box, he was pushing back on me a bit, but when he got going, he showed a really good turn of foot and great acceleration. Once he got to about two length from the leader… well I didn’t even look at the TV screens in the box. You really couldn’t get the smile off my face. It was a real shock.”
Kouta’s decision to train was based on a friendship he struck up at his local footy club. “My mate Daniel Davis took on a fairly handy sprinter I had. Then, after I started my own chauffeuring business, I found myself with a few spare hours during the day so I thought I might as well give training crack.”
“Anthony Azzopardi has also been great, a massive mentor. Between Daniel and Anthony, when I don’t know something they’re great to call on for advice. I really have to thank Anthony, Daniel, Peter Gavin and John Barbara for all their help and support.”
“I really enjoy improving a dog, seeing them gradually improve more and more, and that connection with the dog. They rely on you 24/7 and seeing them race well, going to the track with them, it’s a special connection. So enjoyable. Hopefully, we’ll get a few more winners.”
Pawnote: Go Twenty Two placed fourth in the 500m, a week after his 425m win and has since run sixth over a 525M at The Meadows.
Hear ‘Thrill of the Chase’ on SEN Track 1593AM.
WATCH: Replay Kouta’s first win with Go Twenty Two (5) at Bendigo.
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