Joshua Dickie confirms return back to NZ
By Michael Guerin
One of New Zealand’s most accomplished young harness horsemen is returning home and straight into one of our prime driving roles.
Multiple Group 1-winning trainer and driver Joshua Dickie will return early in the New Year and work at Stonewall Stud’s northern stables and assume the role of their regular North Island driver.
Dickie will be accompanied by his partner Sammy Kilgour, herself a talented horseperson, who will also work for Stonewall and Steve Telfer.
The 32-year-old Dickie moved to Australia two years ago and while he has driven 40 winners during his stay there including a Group 1 winner he says the time is right and he and Kilgour to return.
“Obviously New Zealand is my home and Sammy and I lived there together before and she loved it too,” says Dickie.
“We have really enjoyed our time in Victoria, where Sammy is from, and don’t regret a second of it but the chance to go home and being involved with such a powerful stable is too good to turn down.
“I have had some really good talks to Steve and everybody knows what sort of horses they buy and have to work with so we are looking forward to being part of their team.”
The move is likely to be in January with Kilgour to lease out her property where the couple has been based in Victoria.
“I am really glad we came over here and have so many people who have been really good to us, from owners to trainers like Mick Cole and Philip Chircop who have put me on a lot of their horses.
“It is a hard place to get the best drives because obviously many of the really big stables have their own drivers. But I have learned heaps.”
Dickie was established among New Zealand’s best drivers before his move to Australia, with 450 driving wins here as well as having a great record when he and father John travelled horses to Victoria, where they combined to win the Great Southern Star with Speeding Spur.
They have also won the Victoria Trotting Derby and numerous Breeders Crown Trots.
Senior trainer for Stonewall Stud, Steve Telfer, says Dickie was the ideal fit for them.
“I have known Josh for a long time and we have huge respect for his ability as a horseman,” sauys Telfer.
“He is also a good aggressive driver which suits us and drives Alexandra Park very well. So he will be our No.1 driver here in the north.
“But it is not just the driving that is important, to have guy with his experience here on the property working with the horses will be invaluable so we are really looking forward to him and Sammy joining us.”
Dickie will be home before his permanent return though as the couple will come to New Zealand Cup week as Josh shares in the ownership of one of the New Zealand Cup favourites, Old Town Road.
“We love Cup week and to have a horse in the Cup is special so we are looking forward to seeing plenty of our friends and, of course, Dad.
“That is another great thing about moving back home, being able to spend some more time with Dad too.”