John Dickie to hand over the reins
By Michael Guerin
A successful comeback to racing for one of the north’s most successful harness stables is actually the beginning of the end.
Well, officially anyway.
Top father and son training team John and Joshua Dickie won two races when horse racing returned to the North Island for the first time in two months at Cambridge on Sunday.
But after nearly 600 career training victories in New Zealand, John is getting ready to take his name off the stationary.
“From next season it will be Joshua’s stable,” says John.
“I will still be here, working as stable foreman and travelling foreman when needed.
“And I still intend on being a big part of the business but we are looking toward the future and this is the next step toward that.
“So we will have the same set-up just with Josh as the official trainer.”
John was one of New Zealand’s most respected trainers of trotters in particular when living in the Waikato but his career moved to the next level after he transferred to one of the country’s premier standardbred training facilities at Rosslands in Clevedon.
He went into partnership with Joshua in 2014 and they have trained 236 domestic winners, exactly half of them being trotters.
King amongst them was Speeding Spur, who won over $1million including the Great Southern Star in Australia and the Rowe Cup, cementing his place as the best horse in John’s elite line of top trotters.
“He would be the best and Last Sunset the next most talented but I have been lucky enough to have some good ones.”
Dickie says he always intended for Joshua to eventually take over the family business but as well as still being heavily involved there he wants to potter around with a few thoroughbreds with his partner Lynda German.
German already trains a couple of gallopers and her son Lewis is making a big impression as an apprentice jockey in Victoria.
“While the harness horses will still be our biggest focus I like the thoroughbreds and want to spend some time on them too. And I also want to be able to tell Joshua I am taking a few weeks off every winter if I want to,” smiles the 59-year-old.
The Dickies could continue their winning start to post-lockdown racing when it returns to Alexandra Park on Thursday night as they have trotters like last season’s Jewels runner-up Tricky Ric and Sertorius ready to go.
The stable also have Inter Dominion heat winner Paramount King and Breeders Crown champion Kratos in training so Joshua won’t be lacking for trotting talent for his first season training in his own right.