Smith raises more than $30k


The Canterbury Standardbred Rehoming and Recycling Group is more than $30,000 better off thanks to Trackside’s Jess Smith.

The North Canterbury-based journalist and broadcaster single-handedly organised a fundraiser to cover feed costs for the Group at the Cashmere Club in Christchurch last Friday night.

Smith was expecting to raise $10,000 but was overwhelmed with the support, raising more than three times that amount.

“I’m absolutely blown away with the response and generosity show by the people who attended and those who made bets online.

“My goal was $10,000 because I thought that would have been a lovely figure to assist with the Group’s feed costs. The nine online auction items sold for $10,700. That was amazing,” Smith said.

“I know the people who run the Group have had to dig into their own pockets to keep it going. They do such a wonderful job, I thought it was the least I could do,” she added.

Just over 200 people turned up to the fundraiser, including the three principal Group volunteers – Jackie Law, Michelle Morrison and Jay Jay Howden.

Law was also staggered with the response.

“It was out of this world. When Jess first approached us with the idea I thought great, but I doubt if we will get much support.

“We can’t believe what Jess has done. She did this largely on her own and it goes to show just how passionate, loyal, modest, and caring she is about the industry. We will never forget this. We just want to thank everyone, especially Jess, so much,” Law said.

“The money will go on hard feed and hay. It is just what we needed because often we have to pay for some of the expenses ourselves,” Law added.

More than $20,000 in live auctions and raffles were raised on the night.

"Harness Racing New Zealand also made a donation $2,500, and they along with Cambridge Raceway and Ravenswood Manor Karapiro, donated the main auction item on the night - a return trip for four to the Jewels with accommodation, flights, and a table at Cambridge Raceway on

Saturday June 2. It was bought by Sara Smith for $3,500.

“So many people dug deep, especially Graeme Harris from Air Park Canterbury who bought over $11,000 worth of items including the Monbet and John Campbell colours for $4,005 and $,4600 respectively. He also donated a limousine to take Jackie, Michelle and Jay Jay to the function

“Mark McNamara also did a wonderful job as MC, as did our auctioneer, Craig Wiggins. I just want to thank everyone so much,” an overwhelmed Smith said.

Harness, sporting and general memorabilia were up for grabs. Theses included Joseph Parker’s boxing gloves which fetched $2,000; John Campbell signed colours ($4,600); An original Wendy Cox painting of Lazarus ($600); Monbet Framed Harness Jewels 2016 colours donated by Greg and Nina Hope ($4,005); Always B Miki (fastest pacer of all-time - 1:46) memorabilia ($100); Sir Richard Hadlee's World Cup signed polo shirt ($150); 27 April 1983 Royal Meeting Addington Race Book ($250); All Black Israel Dagg’s 2017 Crusaders training jersey 2017 ($190); A personalised Driver and Colours Statue donated by Phil Cusdin ($500); and Phar Lap - The Flemington Onslaught artwork ($380).

“It was an absolute honour to be involved with such a worthy cause. I think the Canterbury Standardbred Rehoming and Recycling Group do a wonderful job which often goes unnoticed and taken for granted somewhat.

“I just wanted to let them know that what they do for harness racing is greatly appreciated. I know this money will be very well spent. I’m just so pleased for them,” Smith said.

The live auction started online on September 14 and bids were made through the website.

The fundraiser itself sold out two months ago and featured more than 30 items. Comedian, Cohen Holloway also added spice to the evening.

“I especially want to thank everyone who donated items for the auctions. Without their kindness this wouldn’t have happened,” Smith stressed.