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500 wins for Dickie

By Duane Ranger

John Dickie admits it was hard leaving his home-town of Cambridge four years ago, but he said if he hadn’t made the move north he would never have been anywhere near his 500 career winners.

The 56-year-old Clevedon trainer notched up his 500thcareer win at Alexandra Park tonight (Friday). He said coming to Rosslands Stud in 2013 had been the making of his career.

“I had my fair share of knockers when I came north. It’s virtually four years to the day. Sure I had some supporters too, but it was a big move. It was early-to-mid July 2013 - almost four years to the day. I’d never trained anywhere else since taking out my trainer’s licence in 1984.

“Training horses is something I’ve done every day and sure it’s nice to have achieved 500 wins. I was quite proud actually, especially with Josh in the bike,” Dickie said.

Dickie (Josh), who co-trains and drove Bronze Over, shot the $11 fifth favourite along the passing lane to win the feature event – the $14,999 Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock Handicap for the R66 to R94 pacers. 

Bronze Over was one of two mares in the eight-horse 2700m stand. She started from 20m behind and won by a head from favourite Vasari (David Butcher). She stopped the clock in 3:28 even (mile rate 2:03.8) and came home in 57 flat and 29 even.

Dickie wasn’t on track to witness his 500th victory. Instead he watched it from his South Auckland home.

“Linda (partner) and I were actually going to go to the Warriors (rugby league) match but Linda got the flu and I decided to stay home and be with her.

“It was a lovely drive because she is a bit of a ‘one-trick pony’ and needs a run like that to win. It panned out beautifully for her. I’m rapt for the owners,” Dickie said.

Bronze Over was bred by Kevin and Sharlaine Marshall of Te Awamutu, and is owned by Dickie Jr and Larry Fischer of New York.

In fact the 4-year-old Changeover mare could end up racing in the United States one day.

“It is a possibility but that’s up to Josh and Larry. She wouldn’t be out of place in the (Group One) Queen Of Hearts field (at Alexandra Park) in December. She has won nine races now ($82,422), but for now she’ll just keep racing up here until they come up with a decision on her future,” Dickie said.

Dickie has visited Fischer and his wife in New York and have built up a closerapport over the years. The American used to race Change The Rulz with Dickie. She won five races for Dickie and was a 2016 Jewels finalist. 

She was exported to the United States in July last year. She has since gone on to win several races in the USA and recorded a 1:50 mile.

“Larry has been a wonderful owner. He’ loves the internet and would have watched tonight’s win. I’ve had so many good owners over the years and it would be remiss of me not to mention Basil and Gail Blackwell. They have been my most loyal owners having been with me since day one.

“It would have been nice to have won for them last week because this 500th would never have happened had they not been there for me,” Dickie said.

“In fact the 500 wins is a dedication to all my owners who have supported me over the years,” he added.

He also paid a big tribute to the late Kerry Hoggard and his wife Marilyn of Rosslands Stud..

“It has been an absolute pleasure to train for them both. We love it up here and if it wasn’t for them I would have nowhere near 500 wins. This is also their achievement too,” Dickie said.

The Clevedon horseman has qualified for entry into the ‘New Zealand Trotting Hall of Fame. The criteria is 500 training wins or 1,000 driving successes.

Dickie trained 364 winners ($2.7m) solo from 1984 to 2013 including four Group One winners in New Zealand and four in Australia.

Then in 2013-2014 he joined forces with his son, Joshua, and together they have trained another 146 winners ($1.6m).

They have jointly trained three Group One winners in New Zealand and three in Australia.

Dickie Senior’s total career wins would be more like 520 if you counted his Australian victories as well, but it’s been a long road since he nailed his first winner when Meadow Man (Sean McCaffrey) dead-heated with the Ian Hilliard trained and driven Guy Adios at Hawera on May 29, 1984.

All up the Dickies have trained 37 winners ($419,498) in 2016-2017 - seven less than their personal best recorded in 2014-2015.

Dickies 14 Group One wins have been:

NZ:

2011: Paramount Geegee in the Northern Trotting Derby; the New Zealand Trotting Derby; the Ruby 3yo trot; and Flying Isa in the Ruby 2yo Trot.

With Josh in NZ:

2017: Paramount King in this year's 2yo Ruby Trot.

2015: Speeding Spur in the New Zealand Trotting Derby; and the Northern Derby.

Australia:

2016: Speeding Spur (with Josh) won the Great Southern Star.

2015: Speeding Spur (with Josh) won the Victoria Trotters Derby and the 3yo Breeders Crown title.

2014: Flying Isa won the 2yo Breeders Crown final and the Australian Trotters Final.

2010 & 2011: Paramount Geegee won the 2yo and 3yo Breeders Crown.

The other highlight on the eight-race card tonight (Friday) was Zac Butcher's four wins. 

They came via the Stephen Reid trained Utmost Delight in the 3yo Fillies Breeder's Crown heat; the Ray Green trained Alta Shangri La (race one); the Barry Purdon trained Opoutama (race 5); and the Ray Green trained Royal Lincoln (race 6).