Jenkins missing the sunshine State
By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk
Ray Jenkins is not a big fan of Canterbury winters and in recent times has opted for the 20-plus degrees of Queensland instead.
“I haven’t had a cold for six years.”
Since 2014 he’s based himself near Brisbane, leaving New Zealand in April-May and staying there till October.
This year though his departure for his Australian home in Logan Village has been delayed because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“I wasn’t prepared to go into quarantine – you can’t train horses in quarantine and I’d be in quarantine when I came home so it wasn’t worthwhile.”
In the meantime Kiwi trainer Graeme Harris is helping him out in Queensland. Harris trained more than 200 winners here from the late 1970s till 2009.
“I have up to 6 in work, race them through and when it comes close to coming home and if people want to buy them I sell them,” said Jenkins.
He cites one of his former trotters as a prime example of a horse extending its career by racing on both sides of the Tasman.
“Horses like Monorail probably couldn’t have won any more than four races here and he’s gone over there and won another eight and we sold him.
Monorail won three races for Jenkins and his sister Diane Kean, who both bred and owned the gelding, before being exported to Australia in 2014. At Motukarara in 2014 he won paying $75 for Jenkins’ daughter Amber Lethaby. The other two wins were at Forbury Park.
Across the Tasman Nicole Molander guided the horse to more wins before being on-sold. Now, according to Harness Racing Australia statistics the horse has racked up 18 wins and nearly $130,000 in stakes and last raced for a fifth at Albion Park on April 14
Monorail is by Dr Ronerail out of Globe Trotter, a Sundon mare that Jenkins bred, owned, trained and drove to 10 wins from 109 starts.
Jenkins has been associated with a swag of quality trotters over the years, most notably Tobago.
He bred and co-owned the horse that won the 1989 Dominion handicap for trainer Patrick O’Reilly and driver Henry Skinner in a then record time of 4:08.4.
In 2018 Jenkins decided against renewing his license. His horses are now trained by Amber and her husband Jason Lethaby at the aptly-named Tobago Lodge at West Melton just outside Christchurch. They had a win on Sunday when Majestic Rollon won at Addington, with Amber the successful driver.