Rural Games seek harness license holders



Attention all harness racing license holders. If you feel you have the skills to be crowned New Zealand’s Harness Racing Gearing Up Champion, we want to hear from you!

The Hilux Rural Games this year will once again be held in Palmerston North, with the dates being 10 and 11 March, and special opening events in Fielding on Friday 9 March.

Jay Abernethy was the inaugural winner of the New Zealand Harness Racing Gear Up Championship last year, an event that attracted a lot of interest and new faces to the product. He intends to return to defend the trophy, which is a stunning gold cup won by Blossom Lady during her career.

This year there will once again be a large array of fantastic prizes on offer (including the trophy), and expressions of interest are being called for from the harness racing community.

Entry to the contest is free and assistance with accommodation can be arranged.

“We would really love to attract as many entries as possible from around the country,” said event founder Steve Hollander. “It’s a great chance to promote the sport, but also a lot of fun. And we can help them out with accommodation and any queries they have. It would be a great opportunity for junior drivers, amateurs and cadets,” he added.  

The Harness Gearing Up Championship will be held on Saturday 10 March at 4.30pm in The Square, and also offers the public a chance to have a go at gearing up a Standardbred which was an extremely popular event last year.

Manawatu Harness Racing have been huge supporters of this event, providing the sulkies and gear and horses for the relative events.

Last year harness racing was a new sport added to the games roster and this year it will feature as a part of the opening events on the Friday with the Harness Racing New Zealand sulky race at 11.15am on Manchester Street in Fielding.

The race will be for teams of four over a distance of 400m, finishing off at the clock tower in the centre of Fielding. Last year over 6,000 people attended the opening event, and this year they are expecting a crowd of over 10,000 as local schools from the region are attending thanks to generous sponsorship with transport.

Entries close this Sunday 25 February. For further information please contact Karen Hollander by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on the event visit