Negus out to farewell Forbury in style
By Jonny Turner
Leading Forbury Park trainer Bruce Negus will remember the Dunedin track as a venue that created opportunities that were not possible elsewhere as its 110-year run comes to an end tonight.
Negus will bring five horses south from his Canterbury stable to be a part of the last ever meeting at the Forbury Park Trotting Club’s venue.
The trainer goes into the goodbye meeting having trained 140 winners at the track, second only in modern day records to Graeme Anderson and Cran Dalgety.
Much of Forbury Park’s lifespan has seen it as a competing ground for Australasia’s best standardbreds with its hosting of the 1965 Interdominion Championships an undoubted highlight.
However, in the past two to three decades the Dunedin venue has been known as a track that has provided important opportunities for horses that weren’t highly competitive at metropolitan tracks.
“It has been a great place to race the sort of horses I’ve had,” Negus said.
“If they couldn’t quite get placed at Addington they could place at Forbury and the slightly shorter straight meant they didn’t have to be quite as tough.”
“If you got an economical run it helped your chances at Forbury, where as even a good horse couldn’t afford to have a bad run there.”
The trainer’s concern following Forbury Park’s closure is not as much about opportunities for the kind of horses that have raced there but with the crowd it has engaged over its many decades.
“The students used to turn up quite regularly for a social occasion,” Negus said.
“If there is no other introduction to harness racing they will never know about it in any other jurisdiction in their lives.”
“There will be a lot of people that have had an interest in horses that they wouldn’t have garnered it elsewhere.”
“I hope the Forbury Park Trotting Club won’t lose that fraternity, because they could be lost forever.”
Personally, it is the trainers, drivers, club officials and insiders that Negus will miss the most after tonight’s closure.
“I did love going there and for the eight years I was in Waikouaiti, it was easy to support it.”
“It was always good fun and the people were always very hospitable.”
Negus looks a big chance of adding to his 140 wins at Forbury Park tonight with big winning threats Dashtothebeach (race 8) and Dreaminsover (race 10).
“Dashtothebeach hasn’t raced for a while and she hasn’t had a trial but I have been happy with her.”
“It looks a good race for her and she has got a good draw (3) so I am expecting her to go well.”
Dreaminsover gives Negus a decent shot at winning the last ever race at Forbury Park.
The pacer went a huge race for third after working hard in his last visit to the track and has subsequently run a tidy fifth at Addington.
“I would say Dreaminsover is just as good of a chance as Dashtothebeach is.”
“He has got a good draw (3), he has got a good driver (Ricky May) and he seems to be getting better.”
Negus also starts Moment Of Kaos (race 6), Myrcella (race 7) and Sundons Flyer (race 9) tonight.