Denton and Prince receive recognition

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Addington Raceway Racecourse Manager John Denton presented with the New Zealand Racecourse Managers Industry Contribution Award at the annual New Zealand Racecourse Mangers Conference.

Denton started in the Industry at the other end of the spectrum. He at first helped his father who dabbled in stallions and in training harness horses before himself training and driving a few. Fidelis would be his best performer winning four races. However he decided horse training was not for him and he would finally start working under the tutelage of one of the best trackmen, Charlie Anderson, in 1984 at Addington Raceway. This has seen him go and reach some significant achievements.

Denton has come a long way in his role and has overseen some significant milestones. In 1995 the then President of the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club, Tony Abell decided long with the Committee to remove the hub rail and replace it with pylons prior to the 1995 Inter Dominion which the Club was hosting. This was one huge task and one which just met the deadline. Of course pylons are now common place for all harness tracks in New Zealand and right across the world.

In 2011 with the changing management operations at Addington Raceway John was appointed Racecourse Manager. He now manages a team of staff and controls for all aspects of the on course operation including New Zealand trotting Cup day – New Zealand’s biggest race day. John has also assumed responsibility for property management of the business park development in the back straight of Addington Raceway. For the last decade or so John has been contracted to Harness Racing New Zealand as the Track and Venue Inspector. This role includes the inspection of all the tracks in facilities in the country where harness racing is staged.

He acts as an advisor for the all-weather surfaces to the local track staff and has also undertaken a number of track resurfaces, including four this year. One of the most important one of these being the resurface of the Cambridge Raceway, which holds this season Harness Jewels on 2nd June.

Also on the night it was announced that Blake Prince from Wingatui Racecourse was the inaugural winner of a scholarship funded by the NZ Racecourse Managers Association.

The association decided to fund a scholarship for any up and coming Racecourse Staff Member who is showing promise in their role and is looking to progress to be a Racecourse Manager in New Zealand in the future. For the last two years the Committee has talked at length about funding such a scholarship and has this year decided to present this prize. While this year’s winner has been chosen it is intended this will change in the coming years.

From next year Racecourse Managers will be asked to nominate any worker they feel is worthy of such a prize. From the list received this will be cut down to three individuals. These three individuals will be expected to attend the New Zealand Racecourse Mangers Conference at no cost (except travel). At the Conferences formal dinner the winner will be announced from the final three.

The prize for the winner is an all-expense paid trip to the Australian Racecourse Managers Conference with this prize being supported by the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing. This year that Conference is being held in Perth from August 22nd – 25th.

Blake Prince has been in his job for three years and is part of a two man band. He is currently undertaking his level three papers in Racecourse Management. The Committee were adamant, under the direction of Course Manager Wayne Stevens, he was a very worthy winner of the scholarship.

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