Alan Clarke (Clarkee) Obituary
Alan Gary Clarke (Clarkee) was born on November 18, 1958 to Harold and Ngaire Clarke. Growing up on Racecourse Road in Riccarton was the start of a passion for horses and horse racing for Alan and younger brother Steve.
Alan was a part of the start crew in Canterbury and was also interested in the ownership side of racing horses.
Alan was invited to join the start crew by Jack Mulcay 20 years ago and even in his final days he could still recall the horses in the cup field from his first NZ Cup. The 1999 NZ Cup was won by Homin Hosed. A race Alan would never forget.
Over the 20 years that Alan worked at the start he made a lot of great friends and worked on many different race tracks from Waikouaiti to Nelson including the West Coast races in Westport and Reefton.
Westport and Reefton races were a highlight for Alan each year. For the Christmas races Alan and a group of family and friends would head to Reefton, set up tents and spend the week together, with him, working at the start during the week. It was always a great week and Alan enjoyed spending the time on the track with his racing mates during the Christmas holiday.
Over the years Alan raced horses with Steve or in syndicates including the Weedons Racing Syndicate and the Organ Donations Save Lives Syndicate.
His first win as an owner came from Glen Mist at Greymouth raceway on 6th March 1982, trained by Trevor Thomas.
Another special win for Alan as an owner was Curly’s Pride, trained by Steve.
Alan also helped out Jim Curtin on a Saturday morning for quite a few years. The Curtin family were always well regarded in the Clarke household and in his final days, a visit from Jimmy and Sandi truly brightened his day.
At this time he had shares in Devilish Loie which Jimmy trained. The gelding won two races while he was in the ownership.
In the last five years the syndicate horses have won approximately 15 races, headlined by the unbeaten Nemera Franco which is due to return to racing next season.
Although racing was a big passion of Alan’s he also had a lot of interests and friends outside of the racing game.
Alan was a strong competitor in indoor bowls, representing the South Island, winning numerous titles including a Gold Star. As a youngster he enjoyed playing rugby and cricket and more recently enjoyed the Weedons Golf Club 19th hole. Other significant places where he would meet up with mates were the Swamp where he worked for a few years and recently the Springston Hotel which he would visit most Tuesday nights.
Clarkee has left a big gap in the Harness Racing Industry, bowling scene and amongst his beloved family and friends whom he had a lot of. You could always count on Clarkee to put a smile on your face.
Alan was 60 years old and is survived by his wife Rayleen, daughters Danielle, Rebekah and Emma and granddaughter Ruby.
A celebration of Clarkee’s life will be held at Westpark Chapel on Wairakei Road, Burnside on Thursday 11th July at 2pm.