Harrison Orange making a name for himself in north
By Brigette Solomon
While we are very familiar with the Orange surname heading the Drivers' Premiership Table, it’s Harrison Orange’s name that has begun appearing alongside Trial winners in the North Island.
Harrison is the son of successful reinsman Blair Orange, a five-time New Zealand Drivers Premiership winner who looks set to make it a sixth this season. His Mum, Lisa Godsall, also had success as a Junior Driver.
The 16-year-old, originally from Canterbury, began his career in harness racing in earnest this year achieving his Trials Licence in April and making the move to work for the successful Purdon & Phelan Racing Stable in Clevedon in May.
Having grown up around racing, Orange is no stranger to the industry
“I’ve competed in Kidz Kartz from about age 10 and have spent every school holidays since I was 12 helping out at the Dunn’s stable in Woodend,” says Orange.
“I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in harness racing so when I finished school this year it was Mum and Dad that suggested Barry Purdon and Scott Phelan’s stable might be a good fit for me” says Orange.
“I’m loving it here, Barry and Scott are great to work for and I’m learning heaps and working with some nice horses.”
The Purdon/Phelan stable has long been associated with producing talented Junior Drivers including current leading North Island Junior Driver Crystal Hackett.
Trainer and Driver Scott Phelan has been impressed with Orange’s work ethic and says “he’s a really good kid, he sits nicely in the cart and they seem to run for him too which is a very good start.”
(Photos courtesy of Val Simpson Photography)
Godsall, Harrison’s Mum, says “Naturally as parents we were apprehensive with Harrison driving, but John Dunn was amazing in helping him achieve his Trials licence.
Bob Butt was also good enough to take his trotter Heston Hall to the Hurunui Picnic Races in February for Harrison to drive and he won the race which was pretty awesome!”
Both parents are proud of Harrison’s journey to date and have allowed him to choose his own path. “We’ve always told Harrison it doesn’t matter who his parents are he has to walk his own footsteps and write his own story – there will be no expectations around driving from us” says Blair Orange.
When asked if he felt any pressure in living up to his Dad’s name, Orange was quick to respond “No, definitely not at this stage. I’m pretty close with Dad and he told me he wasn’t the top Junior Driver out there when he started driving.”
Blair Orange is pretty sure his words to his son were something more like “I was terrible when I started driving!”
“For now my goals are to keep getting experience driving at the trials, learn as much as I can and get my Junior Driver’s Licence next year,” says Orange.