Emotional victory dedicated to young Effie at Ashburton
By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
Victories don't come much more emotional than this.
When Lawrence McCormick, wearing a black armband, won with Vertigo at Ashburton on Tuesday afternoon it was a poignant and overwhelming moment for the Mid Canterbury trainer-driver.
Moved to tears, McCormick looked to the skies and made a salute, dedicating the victory to three-year-old Effie Hurley, who had died just days earlier.
Effie's parents Shaun and Symone Hurley and their family are close to the McCormicks.
"We'd all been camping together at Cromwell over the New Year."
"He's one of my best mates," McCormick says of Shaun, "we played rugby together and have known each other forever."
"Just days ago the kids were playing dolls together."
McCormick says the death is unexplained after a medical event earlier this month. To everyone it is still very raw.
"I knew they (the Hurley family) would be watching it (the race) on TV at home - it was so special."
McCormick felt he had a great chance after Vertigo began like a bullet and then took the trail.
"I knew she'd be tough to beat from there because she has such high speed."
And win she did, by five lengths, with McCormick visibly moved as he returned to the birdcage.
Commentator Justin Evans was clearly affected too as he described the concluding stages of the race.
"Lawrence McCormick with a little angel called Effie on his shoulder wins, well done, it's an emotional victory - it's as special as it gets."
It was Vertigo's third win in 27 starts.
But it was so much more than that.