Busy weekend ahead for Beveridge

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Rugby will always be Phil Beveridge’s first love, but he has found a sport that is now a close second – harness racing.

Beveridge is an icon in the West Coast community, having represented Buller for nearly 30 years on the rugby field, his last appearance just 16 months ago when he answered the call of coach Nathan Thomspon to help out in the front-row.

Beveridge found it hard to walk away from the sport, but harness racing has provided another competitive outlet and he is enjoying his time in the training ranks.

“I played a lot of rugby and I wanted an out so I talked to a few mates about getting a horse,” he said.

“My father trained thoroughbreds so the racing has been in the family, but I thought I would give the standardbreds a go.”

Beveridge, who trains two horses at Patterson Park, will line-up his entire team at his home meeting on Friday and he is looking forward not having to put them on a float for once.

“It is good to have one at home and we don’t have to travel too far. It starts taking its toll going over there (Christchurch) every second week,” Beveridge said.

The local horseman will line-up Oh My Love in the Criterion Hotel Mobile Pace (2600m) where she has drawn one on the frontline.

“She is doing everything right and we are definitely hopeful if she gets the right run, we are lucky enough to have drawn one on the front row,” Beveridge said.

“I was originally going to go for the stand but when it was such a big field I transferred her to this race.”

Meanwhile, stablemate White Star Orlando will be first-up in the Quay Marine Mobile Pace (2600m).

“He will need the run. It will be good for his first run back just to see where he goes from there,” Beveridge said.

It could prove to be a busy weekend for Beveridge, who may dust off his rugby boots on Saturday before heading to Reefton on Sunday for more racing action.

“We have got our annual golden oldies tournament on Saturday, so I might have a run around there, we will just have to wait and see,” he said.

While he misses playing rugby on a regular basis, Beveridge said he is enjoying his newfound sport.

“Harness racing is a great sport to be involved in and everyone is willing to help. It is really good,” he said.

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