News & Events
- Published on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 16:58
The ICE Bloodstock Unsung Hero Award is designed to recognise a person in harness racing whose tireless efforts over an extended period of time in harness racing have gone largely unheralded and unrecognised.
The previous winners, Anne Phillips (2009), Alan Maslin (2010) and Barry Johnson (2011), encapsulated this award perfectly and we are sure that the 2012 winner will also.
There are three worthy finalists and it is up to the harness racing public to vote for its 2012 winner, which will announced at the ICE Bloodstock NZ Harness Racing Awards on July 28th.
Larry & Murray Hamilton
Click on the finalists' names to view their profiles and vote here.
Bruce has a lifetime of involvement and influence in harness racing behind him. From working at race meetings in the banks in 1960, to breeding horses, standing a stallion and behind-the-scenes work, Bruce is a true contributor and worthy Unsung Hero.
Bruce started work in the animal health and feed industry in the late sixties, successfully marketing the first concentrated equine food to the industry. Later he worked with the NZ Trotting Conference (as it was then) on a number of projects. Included among them was work with Prof Cliff Irvine regarding bicarbonate rules and protocols.
In the early eighties Bruce developed an interest in equine health and imported several vaccines for diseases such as herpes, strangles and for horses being exported throughout the world an equine influenza, equine encephalitis and tetanus vaccine
Bruce was also on the opposing side of HRNZ with his complaint to the human rights commission on the mandatory retirement of drivers at 65. That complaint led to the rules being changed.
Bruce has served as a Board member on the NZ Equine Research Foundation, representing the NZSBA since 1991. In 1993 Bruce initiated the development of the New Zealand Equine Health Foundation. The body was formed in 1996 and is recognised by MAF as the only body that represents all factions of the NZ Horse Industry.
Bruce became involved with the Canterbury Breeders Association in the late eighties and ended up as President in time. That followed time on the national council where such valuable roles included appearing on behalf of the industry regarding the Racing Bill, semen transportation, and introducing the EVA eradication control scheme.
Bruce was instrumental along with Dr John O’Flaherty during the Equine Influenza outbreak in 2007 and was recognise for his efforts by both HRNZ and the Standardbred Breeders.
Bruce gained his first win as a trainer in 1993 with Mulocs and still trains to this day with Quality Invasion and Racey Product flying the colours proudly- both horses he bred himself.
In the decades since these two brothers became involved with the Bank Peninsula Trotting Club and Akaroa Trotting Club they have offered excellent service to the clubs and therefore harness racing in general.
These two gentleman exemplify the meaning of the term “unsung heroes”. They would be little known outside their district, have wanted no recognition and have voluntarily given hours of work at endless working bees and race meetings, where they fulfil their roles as stewards with great diligence.
We believe these men carry the banner for all those many unsung heroes throughout the country who loyally support their clubs. We cannot nominate them all but we can nominate two of our own.
These truly are the grass roots workers without which our club and indeed the industry would be much the poorer.
John first became a member of the Auckland Trotting Club in 1992 and was subsequently voted on as a steward in 1994. In those earlier days John was a part of the Judicial Panel as the club’s representative, adjudicating on race night enquiries. John’s role has diversified since those days.
John has not missed a meeting at Alexandra Park in the last 20 years. John’s role over more recent years as a race night steward has been to operate the Winners’ Circle hospitality room at Alexandra Park meetings for the Kumeu, Manukau, Thames, Auckland and Northland Trotting Clubs. Greeting happy winning owners at the Winners’ Circle lounge has been a real thrill for John over the years.
John’s contribution to the Auckland and Kumeu clubs has been rewarded with the awarding of life membership. John also serves on the committee of the New Zealand Trotting Hall of Fame and has also assisted with the running of trials and workouts at Alexandra Park.
Active as an owner John recalls his best horse being the former smart trotter The Brite Tradesman a winner of six and trained by Dave Gibbons, as many of his horses were.
One of John’s his proudest moments came in 2011 when the Inter Dominions were run at Alexandra Park by the NZ Metropolitan TC who invited John to host the winners circle bar as the club’s representative.
Now a remarkably young 77 years old John can see himself continuing for at least another couple of years before refocusing on the World Masters Games to be held in 2015 where he hopes to compete in the 100m & 200m sprint events having timed his entry into the eighty plus section to perfection.
John’s contribution to all the upper North Island clubs really does encompass the true meaning of voluntary service and an Unsung Hero.