Dickie's overcome new challenge

By Michael Guerin

New Zealand’s most in-form harness racing stable will have to overcome a new challenge this week: having their training track washed away.

But co-trainer Josh Dickie says some help from his rivals should still see the stable he runs with father John arrive at Alexandra Park on Wednesday night with their horses ready to rock.

The Dickies have been the punter’s pals since horse racing returned post-lockdown on May 29, winning a remarkable nine races in a month, an average of almost two every meeting they have competed at.

That has been made possible by their excellent training facilities at Rosslands Farm in South Auckland, although their training track has been a victim of the recent northern storms.

“When the storm hit last Thursday we had 120mils of rain in an hour and was too much for the drains, they overflowed and on to our main track,” explains Dickie.

“That washed a lot of the top surface away and made the track unusable.

“Luckily it had no where to run off to so a lot of the surface material is still on the edges of the track but we have had to get a grader to come in and try and repair it and then we will see if we need more top.”

Rival trainers Brian and Gareth Hughes invited the Dickies to bring their horses racing tomorrow night to their property on Saturday morning so they could use their track.

“It was very good of them and means our horses haven’t missed any real fast work,” said Dickie.

This week's meeting is an extremely rare Wednesday night Alexandra Park meeting as harness racing bosses seek to see whether it is a night that has a future of the code.

The meeting is one of the strongest since lockdown with exceptional three-year-old pacer Copy That returning to the track along with several open class trotters.

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