WHEN Sunny Corner trainer Melissa Heer brings Firehouse to Bathurst Paceway this Wednesday, the gelding won't be travelling alone.
In fact, he won't go near his float for the journey to Bathurst without his closest friend by his side.
Wherever Firehouse - or Peppa as he's known in the stable - heads to the racetrack you'll see minature pony Harry next to him at all times.
It's a close bond which was formed during Firehouse's early days and it's become so strong that Heer shudders at the thought of the pair being separated.
"He has to travel everywhere with him," she said.
"I have to ring up and make sure I've got an extra space so he can be right beside him. He just keeps him calm.
"When I got Peppa he'd never been on his own. He'd always had mates in the paddock so when I got him and he had to travel by himself he wouldn't handle it. He'd buck and rear, almost tipping the float over because he was that bad.
"We got Harry because he's smaller, and costs less to feed, but they've matched up perfectly."
For the brief time that the pair will be apart it will be because Firehouse lines up in the Ballinger Transport 3YO Pace.
Firehouse won on debut back in October but hasn't quite managed to replicate that result since, coming home third on three occasions.
He gets a chance to race out of gate two for his first start in over three months.
"He's drawn really well but he could be a little bit underdone," Heer said.
"The last few races last preparation he was probably a little tired and a should have spelled him a little earlier than when I sent him. He should have picked up a couple more wins in that last prep but they just weren't run to his advantage."
And when all is said and done with the race, 'Peppa' has a great reason to get excited on his return to the stable.
"When they're at the races Peppa goes off to race, and that's fine, but if I go to load him onto the float Harry's got to be the behind him or he won't go on," Heer said.
"He can be a pain in the butt, believe me, but he can race well knowing that the other horse is still there."
Racing starts 5.07pm.
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