White gets the prize

By Duane Ranger

South Canterbury’s best trainer has done it again. For the second consecutive year Brent White has has been named ‘South Canterbury Trainer of the Year’.

After recording his equal best season of 17 wins in 2015-2016, the Winchester conditioner last season nailed 29 winners, placed 38 times and bagged $197,024 in stakes.

Last Friday at Addington Raceway White notched up his 100th career win when his regular driver, Stephen McNally steered Christmas Toyboy by one-and-a-half lengths.

The annual South Canterbury Harness racing Awards were held the following night at Phar Lap Raceway.

“It’s a real honour to be recognised by your peers. The training has been going quite well of late. The personality award was a real surprise. That was humbling because I like to get on with everyone and treat them the way I want to be treated,” White said.

He said he hadn’t set himself any real goals this season except for working on his UDR strike-rate.

“If you set goals you put unnecessary pressure on yourself. I just want to keep improving the strike rate. That means a lot to me,” said White who currently has a healthy 0.444 UDR after three winners and three placings from 10 starts this season.

Last season his strike rate was 0.2412 and the year before that it was 0.2448.

It was a big weekend for Brent White 100 th winner at Addington,

His stablehand Mikayla Lewis his stable hand had her first win on his runner Petite Blue Chip and White. He also became a grand father with his son Tim becoming a father to a baby girl in the weekend.

White also said winning three races each with three horses during the season was a highlight.

“Cully Becky, Ultimate Fella and Lindsay Castleton all won three each and it was very rewarding to see One Over Da Stars finally get one after letting the favourite punters down a few times.

“That was very satisfying because she has let us all down a bit and I know she’s a lovely Love You trotter and I think she will win a few more,” White said.

White was born and educated in Murchison. In October 2015 he and his partner Alanna bought a property in South Canterbury.

“We live near the beach at Winchester even though we can’t train on it. My partner and all of our clients have ensured our success. I want to thank them all so much for their continued support,” White said.

The 48-year-old also paid a tribute to his driver and farrier, McNally.

“If I’ve trained 100 winners then Stephen has driven more than half of them. We are good friends and he also shoes my horses. He has played a big part in me winning these awards, and I want to thank him as well” White said.

“He’s a top man and very good driver,” he added.

In fact it was Lindsay Castleton provided the White - McNally combination with their 50th win together at Oamaru on August 28 last year. Their connection has lasted more than a decade.

“When I had the Australasian Hotel in Greymouth we sponsored Stephen purely through the boys staying with us when they came over for the Greymouth meetings.

“I got to know him through Murray Edmonds who drove my first winner back in 1992 and we’ve been good mates since really. He actually drove a bit for me when I was an owner and Mark Harrington trained a few for me and a syndicate of us from the Pub.

“And when I moved over to Springston and took over the Springston Hotel we once again sponsored him and it’s gone on from there.”

Their first success came in April of 2007 when Cassino Woman won at Timaru.

“He’s looked after my horses really well though and has helped make some them into really nice horses. I think he’s a pretty underrated driver these days,” said White.

White himself developed the mare Sell A Bit to win nine races including the final of the Southern Belle series at Winton.

White's biggest wins outside of South Canterbury last season came via Lindsay Castleton (McNally) in the $25,000 Alabar Super Series Handicap Trot at Addington Raceway on October 7; and Culley Backy (McNally) in the $21,000 Airpark Canterbury Pace at Addington Raceway on February 17.

He currently works a team of 18.

Meanwhile, the annual South Canterbury Harness Racing Awards, which were hosted by Timaru Harness Racing Club and Waimate and the Geraldine Trotting Club.

The Graeme Telfer Boomer Bailey won the South Canterbury-trained 'Horse of the Year. at the 2015/16 Awards. This year Telfer won it again with Red Hot Poker.

The guest speaker was Harness Racing New Zealand’s CEO, Edward Rennell.

Results were:

South Canterbury Trainer of the Year: Brent White.

Driver: Alan Clark.

Young Persons Award: Mikayla Lewis.

Greatest Contribution by a South Canterbury Woman to Harness Racing (Shand Family Award): Caryl Telfer.

Owner: Ross McCutcheon.

Personality of the Year: Brent White.

Broodmare: Chal Roco - (other nominations were: Anna Castleton, Lady Bookay).

South Canterbury Trained Horse of the Year (must be 50% SC owned): Red Hot Poker - (other nominations were: Ultimate Fella, Boomer Bailey, Cully Backy, Lindsay Castleton, Veneto).

South Canterbury Owned Horse of the Year (must be 50% SC owned): Red Hot Poker - (other nominations were: Ultimate Fella, Boomer Bailey, Lindsay Castleton, Castlereagh, Veneto).

Morrison’s Saddlery & Feed Phar Lap Raceway Trainer of the Season (taken from all trainers): Cran Dalgety.