Hazer making dreams come true
Dreams came true when Hazer prevailed in a thrilling finish to the Tuapeka Cup at Ascot Park yesterday.
With horses spread across the track, the chestnut sped along the passing lane to score a highlight victory in the careers of trainer Chris Gerken and driver Kerryn Tomlinson.
Hazer is raced by the Nickels For Pickles syndicate, a name inspired by his trainer’s surname. The syndicate is made up of Gerken, wife Sonia, their four daughters Mallory, Tarryn, Kelly, and Haylea, as well as their respective partners.
Though they weren’t convinced they were always going to make the Tuapeka Cup, Gerken and his family were thrilled to pull off something of a long-term goal with their win.
"This is something we have dreamt about," the trainer said.
"I said to the syndicate about two months ago that I'd love to start him in the Tuapeka Cup.”
“And then his ratings started going down and down and down, and they said they were pretty sceptical about the whole situation.”
“But he won good at Wyndham Thursday week ago, and he got up in the ratings, so we had to have to go."
Grateful for the support of his family, a thrilled Gerken rated Hazer’s win right up with the biggest joys of his training career.
"The family have followed me all the way through, right from the start, and to have a horse as nice as this fella is really special."
Hazer joined the Gerken stable after his previous owners had finished campaigning him from Brett Gray’s barn.
Hazer’s continued success has continued a lengthy association between Gerken and Gray. "We go way back; Brett actually drove for me when I first started training.”
“I think it might have even been my first or second winner – Hurricane Hugh at the Christmas Eve meeting over at Winton.”
“We worked together for nearly 20 years down at Blue Sky Meats.”
“He flicked me this one, and he won three races with King Cassidy for me.”
“It has been great."
King Cassidy produced another of the highlights of Gerken’s training career – victory in the 2021 Gore Trotters Cup at the trainer’s home track.
Hazer’s win in the Tuapeka Cup provided Tomlinson with one of the biggest driving wins of her career.
The victory was the junior driver’s first in a cup event and it came just a matter of weeks after she broke through for 100 career driving wins.