Dalgety first harness racing driver to get Young Scholarship Award

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News desk

Carter Dalgety's year just keeps getting better and better - and the 20-year-old is loving it.

"I'm lapping it up," he says.

Crowned Harness Racing New Zealand's Cadet of the Year in February, the country's leading junior driver has since chalked up his 100th driving win with the Group 1 Northern Oaks at Alexandra Park last Friday with All You Need Is Me, and now he's been awarded the Valachi Downs Young Scholarship Award.

Supported by the New Zealand Equine Research Foundation (NZERF), in partnership with the Valachi Downs Stud and the Hickman family, the scholarship awards $15,000 to help individuals under 35 progress their careers in the equine industry.

Since the award's inception in 2008, recipients have included veterinarians, lecturers, students, a foal manager, a blacksmith, a nutritionist, a physio and a vet nurse.

Dalgety is the first harness racing driver to be awarded the scholarship, beating what the NZERF called a number of "high quality applications."

What helped get him over the line was "his excellent work ethic and enquiring mind".

Away from the racetrack Dalgety has a Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Supply Chain Management and Global Business, and runs his own clothing line, Fuego.

"It's a real honour to win this and I am very grateful."

"I really emphasised to them how I wanted to promote harness racing and they seemed keen for me to do that."

Already he's got a firm idea of what he will do with the money.

"I will head to the US in July - August for six weeks this year and then spend six weeks in Sweden next year."

"I have never been to the States and cannot wait."

While there he will base himself at champion driver Dexter Dunn's place at Allentown, New Jersey.

The 10-time New Zealand champion, who's had extraordinary success in the U.S. in recent years, and Dalgety are great mates. They go back to the days when Dunn was the stable driver for the Dalgety's Kentuckiana Lodge and the Dunn - Cran Dalgety combo had huge success with the likes of Christen Me, Texican, Bit Of A Legend, and Smiling Shard.

Dalgety intends taking in many of Dunn's stomping grounds, including Meadowlands in New Jersey as well as the likes of the famous Red Mile in Kentucky and Delaware, Ohio, the home of the Little Brown Jug.

"I want to find out more about their driving style as well as how they prepare and race their juveniles, it's all about speed over there and I'm keen to get amongst it."

Dalgety had contemplated tacking a trip to Sweden at the end of his American visit but decided against it as that would mean missing key meetings in the lead up to New Zealand Cup and Show Week.

"I have spoken to the scholarship people and they are very happy with this arrangement," says Carter, "I'll head to Sweden next year and hopefully get to see the Elitloppet."

Sweden's most famous race at Stockholm is traditionally held in May.

In the meantime Carter is keen to add to what has already been a stellar 2024, and the year's only a quarter of the way through.

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