News

A look at the North Island Awards

By Duane Ranger

Steven Reid said he was both surprised and humbled that he was bestowed with one of the major prizes at the 2017 Always B Miki North Island Harness Racing Awards at Alexandra Park on Saturday night.

The Pukekohe horseman won the Sir Lincoln at Lincoln Farm Bloodstock 'North Island Racing Achievement' Award. It was the 25th jubilee awards.

“I had no idea whatsoever, because I’ve been coming to these functions for years and it really took me by surprise. We had Star Galleria nominated for the 3-year-old colts and geldings pacing award and that’s what I was looking forward to.

“It’s something I am very proud of. To be recognised by your peers is something special. It makes all the hard work worthwhile,” Reid said.

A full-house of 350 flocked to ‘The Park’s’ Tasman Room to witness the 22 awards being handed out.

Tony Dickinson of Alta Dream Lodge in South Auckland won the other major prize - the Always Be Miki - Alabar/Nevele R Stud Award for his 'Outstanding Contribution To Harness Racing'.

One of New Zealand’s top breeders, Dickinson, joins the late John & Colleen Butcher, and Peter & Wendy Ferguson as winner’s of the last three 'Outstanding Contribution’ awards.

The Ferguson's son, Dylan, was named Junior Driver of the Year, while the open driver award went to David Butcher.

The champion trainers were John & Josh Dickie while the Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen trained Dream About Me and the Tony Herlihy (MNZM) trained Temporale won the Aged Pacing and Trotting titles respectively.

After being nominated last year when Lyn Neal was successful, fellow Cambridge horsewoman, Arna Donnelly was bestowed with the Merv & Meg Butterworth 'Female Accomplishment Award".

Reid said it was an honour to have his name beside some of ‘the legends’ who had won the “Achievement Award.’

The last two winners have been Dr Luk Chin and ‘Hall of Famer; Barry Purdon.

Reid said recording his 1,000th training success at Alexandra Park on October 28 last year helped him win the award.

That night he co-trained (with Simon McMullan) Samaritan to win R49-R50 Pace. Zac Butcher did the driving.

“I paid a tribute to Simon because he played a big part in helping me get to the 1,000. In fact I want to say a big thank-you to all those that supported me over the years.

“I would have loved to have had my son Matt there to watch me, but no-one knew,” Reid said.

Reid has trained 685 on his own since 1989-90 and another 73 with McMullan for four seasons from 2013. His other wins came with Graeme Rogerson (168 wins in two seasons); Tremain Thorby (60 wins in two seasons); and Les Purdon (27 wins within three seasons).

The 54-year-old has now trained 1,013 winners and netted more than $10m in career stakes. He said he had three ambitions in harness racing and had just one more to fulfill.

"I wanted to win the training premiership and I did that in 1997-98 and I also wanted to train an Age Group Pacer-of-the-Year, and I did that with Gold Ace.

“Now to win a New Zealand Cup,” he said.

The Silver Jubilee Awards ceremony was again organised by the ‘Fab Four’ - aka Raelene Balle, Suzanne Herlihy, Janene Cole, and Karen Blanchard.

The organising committee was grateful to all the sponsors who with their financial support had been making the Awards happening for two and a half decades.

"We took a walk down memory lane and reflected on some memorabilia. The videos of which have been uploaded to our Facebook page.

"Also thanks to Chanelle Lawson for taking photos on the night The Sunday Star Times' paparazzi photographer was there and we will feature in the "About Town" section next week.

"Steven Reid's 1,000 training successes was acknowledged with the Racing Achievement Awards and Tony Dickson aka Alta Lodge was given the Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing for his massive efforts over the years involved in the North Island Standardbred Breeders Association.

"Tony has been a consistent sponsor of racing in the North Island as well as breeding plenty of quality horses over the years" Balle said.

"He has put so many horses through the Sales and has helped strengthen the horse population numbers in the north,” she added.

Results from the 2017 Always B Miki North Island Harness Racing Awards were:

DEXION – NORTH ISLAND AMATEUR DRIVER OF THE YEAR

Sheryl Wigg

KAHUKURI BLOODSTOCK HOLLIS & ROBERTSON - NORTH ISLAND GROOM OF THE YEAR

Yvette Hughes

MAGNESS VIDEO LTD / VID-COM LTD - NORTH ISLAND LICENCE TO TRAIN / OWNER – TRAINER OF THE YEAR

Tim Vince

MITAVITE - NORTH ISLAND JUNIOR DRIVER OF THE YEAR

Dylan Ferguson

PGG WRIGHTSON - NORTH ISLAND 2 YEAR OLD COLT OR GELDING OF THE YEAR

Mach Shard

PGG WRIGHTSON - NORTH ISLAND 2 YEAR OLD FILLY OF THE YEAR

New York Rain

BRECKON FARMS - NORTH ISLAND 2 YEAR OLD TROTTER OF THE YEAR

Paramount King

BRECKON FARMS - NORTH ISLAND 3 YEAR OLD TROTTER OF THE YEAR

C K Spur

DUNSTAN - NORTH ISLAND 3 YEAR OLD COLT OR GELDING OF THE YEAR

Jack's Legend

DUNSTAN - NORTH ISLAND 3 YEAR OLD FILLY OF THE YEAR

American Empress

MERV & MEG BUTTERWORTH - NORTH ISLAND FEMALE RACING ACCOMPLISHMENT AWARD

Arna Donnelly

GARRARDS HORSE AND HOUND - NORTH ISLAND OWNERS OF THE YEAR

Bernie Lim

CADUCEUS CLUB - NORTH ISLAND FILLY / MARE OF THE YEAR

The Orange Agent

NORTH ISLAND STANDARDBRED BREEDERS ASSOCIATION INC – NORTH ISLAND BREEDER OF THE YEAR

Woodlands Stud

IRT – NORTH ISLAND DRIVER OF THE YEAR

David Butcher

VETERINARY ASSOCIATES EQUINE AND FARM – NORTH ISLAND TRAINER OF THE YEAR

John & Josh Dickie

VETERINARY ASSOCIATES EQUINE AND FARM – NORTH ISLAND BROODMARE OF THE YEAR

Splendid Dreams

WOODLANDS STUD – NORTH ISLAND STALLION OF THE YEAR

Bettor’s Delight

HARNESS RACING NEW ZEALAND – NORTH ISLAND AGED TROTTER OF THE YEAR

Temporale

AUCKLAND TROTTING CLUB – NORTH ISLAND AGED PACER OF THE YEAR

Dream About Me

SIR LINCOLN AT LINCOLN FARM BLOODSTOCK – NORTH ISLAND RACING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Steven Reid

ALWAYS B MIKI - ALABAR / NEVELE R STUD – NORTH ISLAND AWARD FOR

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO HARNESS RACING

Tony Dickinson