Brad Mooar's dual sulky experience - "it was a blast"
by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
For someone who loves the cut and thrust of elite sport Brad Mooar lapped up his experience in the sulky at Methven last weekend.
"It was an awesome buzz, specially the sensation of being around the other horses and the split second decisions the drivers have to make," says the former Crusaders and All Blacks mentor.
Mooar was gifted a drive in the dual sulky race around the Mt Harding circuit on Sunday by long-time harness racing supporters Greg and Leigh Ayers. They had been one of the successful bidders at Harness Racing New Zealand's Blue September launch dinner at Addington earlier in the month. Five drives were auctioned off as part of the annual fund-raiser for the New Zealand Prostate Cancer Foundation.
"It was so generous of them," says Mooar of the Ayers', "they are fantastic supporters of the sport and I had no hesitation at all, I jumped at the chance."
"And it's such a great cause - the way Blue September is encouraging people to get tested, early detection is the key and they are doing great work."
On Sunday Mooar was partnered with Zachary Butcher - "he's a top man with a lot of chat ... a classy operator" - and a Bruce Negus-trained nine-year-old Dreaminsover, the winner of five races from 158 starts.
"The horse was well-named," laughs Mooar, referring to his recent and much-documented departure from the All Blacks coaching roster.
Mooar and Butcher were part of a 1000 metre dash on the grass at Methven - each had their own reins, though Butcher was in control ultimately.
"We came out of the gate quickly but Blair Orange drew inside us and we were in the trail."
"It was handlebars down alright and we held on for a nice third - it was a blast."
It provided Mooar with an insight into what happens on race day.
"There were only five horses there but there's not a lot of room and everyone's making split-second decisions.
"You think you are going quick and then they suddenly get low and go again, the acceleration - there's a lot going on."
Mooar's been a racing fan since he was a kid - "we used to bolt from school to get to Addington for the Cup."
His parents were involved in the sport, with dad Bryan a member of the then New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (Addington) and older brother Ged, the General Manager at Nevele R Stud, is also a well-known figure in the sport.
As part of the Beintoowin syndicate Brad Mooar has been "in the ownership of a few".
Rosanna Jaccka won three from 12 in 2008-09 and among her progeny was A Boy Named Rosie who won four from 11 before heading to Australia. A regular at Gloucester Park in Perth he's now won 18 from 175 starts and over $200,000 in stakes.
"I love the game," says Mooar, "it's always interesting talking to trainers and others - there are a lot of parallels between what they do and what I do."
"The horse talks to you in a sense - it has to be fit, pain-free and energised to work at its best - that's just like any athlete."