Close back for third Blue September campaign

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk 

When it comes to raising funds for Blue September, that starts this Friday, Robbie Close is at the front of the pack.

For three years now Harness Racing New Zealand has been involved in the campaign, which raises awareness around prostate cancer, and also funds for research. Last year $50,000 was raised for the cause.

Money is raised every time a Blue September ambassador, wearing the distinctive blue pants, wins a race. HRNZ and most of the clubs contribute $100 a win, and the drivers also have their own individual supporters and sponsors.

In the two years the campaign's been going Close has been the pacesetter, raising more than $1000 for each of his wins. Last year he won seven races during the month and raised over $10,000 which included $1000 that was raised via an auction to drive in a dual sulky with Close, while in 2021 he raised $3200 all up from three wins.

"I get a lot of support which has been great. I know some of the people, but others I don't and they have seen what I'm up to on my Facebook page and it's just gone from there."

Close also contributes $100 of his own money to every win he has during Blue September.

"I think people have seen that I'm contributing and that gives them the incentive to back me as well .. it works super."

This year his sponsors are :

Robbie and Brooke Close
Darren Keast Racing
Equine Products
Cavalier Trotting Products
Swain Racing Stables
Mick Hand
Alex Van Eck
Smarck Family
Waiuku Mitre 10
The Any Excuse Syndicate
The Dumpsters Syndicate
Swain Racing Stables
E.D. Swain Ltd
HRNZ
Clubs

The Dumpster Syndicate, Cavalier Trotting Products, and the Any Excuse Syndicate have been on board the whole three years.

All combined that means that during September every win Close has will result in $1035 going towards the campaign.

"No-one in my family has had prostate cancer but we have had family members with other cancer and I am keen to do anything I can to help out what is a great cause," says Close, "whether that's with awareness, or money, or both."

Key to the cause is encouraging men to get checked, with early detection literally saving lives.

This year the 12 ambassadors are : Blair Orange, Robbie Close, Korbyn Newman, Jonny Cox, Matty White, Dylan Ferguson, Todd Mitchell, Zachary Butcher, Nathan Williamson, Mark Hurrell, Rory McIlwrick and Matty Williamson.

The campaign starts at Winton and Addington on September 1, with a Launch Dinner at Addington Raceway on Friday, with doors opening at 4.45pm- tickets are available until Wednesday evening by contacting [email protected] 

Anyone wishing to sponsor a driver can also contact Courtney. 

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