A Tough Day for the Douglas Family

by Dave Di Somma

Don Douglas knows January 6 is going to be a tough day.

“It will be a very emotional time,” he says.

Thursday will mark one year exactly since Don Douglas lost his son Revell, who drowned after heroically saving the lives of six children at Karioitahi Beach near Waiuku in south Auckland.

The wider Douglas family, including Revell’s three sons Lockie, Hamish and Liam, had gone for a swim after Revell and Don had worked their horses on the beach.

Don left first only to hear half an hour later that the children had got into trouble.

“It was a tragedy,” says Don Douglas.

Revell Douglas was an accomplished sportsman, horseman and administrator. As well as training 14 winners between 2007 and 2020, he was also the Racing Manager at the Auckland Trotting Club, CEO at Pinjarra Raceway in Western Australia, and played a pivotal role in building up the New Zealand arm of Australian horse feed company Hygain.

“He was easy-going and very capable,” says Don, “we were so close.”

To mark the anniversary the wider Douglas family will get together on January 6.

“In some ways it seems it happened a long time ago, and in other ways it doesn’t.”

The day will also feature the opening race in the newly-created Hygain Revell Douglas Memorial Junior Driver series. It will be held at the Wyndham Harness Racing Club’s meeting at Cromwell.

“His long time friend (and trainer) Robbie Hughes was instrumental in getting the series off the ground, he’s been amazing,” says Don Douglas.

After Wyndham the series moves to Cambridge (Jan 20) and Auckland (Jan 21) before finishing at Methven on January 30.

It’s planned to run the series annually for the next five years at least.

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