Home track heroics for Gill

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Kendra Gill was on cloud nine after recording her first training win at Waterlea Raceway on Friday with Amarla in the Carters Blenheim Mobile Pace (1850m).

Gill is in her second season training in partnership with her grandfather, Mark, who has been instrumental in her involvement with harness racing.

“My Grandad, Mark, has been training since before I could walk,” Gill said.

“I did the equestrian side for many years and then I had a couple of knee reconstructions, so riding became a bit too hard on my knees. I then got into racing, got the bug, and haven’t looked back.

“With Mark getting on into his seventies, it made sense to go into partnership with him last year. It’s a bit more exciting to be more family orientated. He was really proud of the win today.”

The local trainer brought up her maiden training win in emphatic style, with Amarla running out a 5-1/2 length victor, belying her $46 winning odds.

“It was very exciting,” Gill said.

“Her work leading up to the race I thought she would go close, but I didn’t expect her to win like she did. It was a nice surprise.”

The win was made even more special because of Gill’s close association with Amarla and achieving it on her home track.

“It was great to win with a horse I bought from the sales four and a half years ago,” Gill said.

“I liked the way she walked through the ring and had nice straight legs. She was on the smaller side, which I don’t mind. She grabbed my attention.

“I broke her in and have done most of the work with her, so that makes it a bit more special.

“Doing it on the home track and in front of the home ground was also a great feeling.”

Being based at the top of the South Island has made planning a racing programme difficult for the Gills, so they ensure they make the most of their home meetings.

“Every year we target these smaller meetings and it is always great to support these smaller clubs,” Gill said.

Gill has also recently expanded her involvement in the industry to breeding and has welcomed two foals this season.

“I have bred two foals this year – a pacer and a trotter,” she said.

“I thought I would try and breed a couple of nice ones of my own. Being a hobby trainer, it is hard to get your hands on a nice enough horse without paying big money.”


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