News Briefs - August 16

Vale John Higgins

Harness Racing New Zealand would like to pass on its condolences to the family of John "Higgy" Higgins, who died suddently in Westport last week. The ever popular Higgis, an insurance agent for more than 40 years, was born in Westport where the family are well known but spent most of his life in Southland. According to HRNZ records Higgins either co-bred/bred or raced around 60 horses including Padraig (5 wins in NZ), Eilis Rose (10 wins here and overseas), Hemisphere (3 wins), Empresso Jaccka (4 wins), and Bardot (2 wins). By all reports Higgins loved a a yarn and a laugh (and a beer). A service celebrating John's life was held in Invercargill yesterday. He was 68.

Ruds gets new gig

Experienced racing administrator and former Blackcap Ken Rutherford has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of the Albion Harness Racing Club in Brisbane. Among his previous roles was Chief executive of the Waikato Racing Club. He played 56 tests and 121 one day internationals for the Blackcaps, scoring five centuries in all, and captained the side from 1992 to 1995. Rutherford takes up his new job in early September.
“The Inter Dominion Championship (ID23) is less than four months away and I am looking forward to working with Racing Queensland and other Industry bodies to provide a spectacular event for the city and state” he said.

Gandalf headlines auction

Promising three-year-old Gandalf is up for sale in the latest gavelhouse. com auction. The Captaintreacherous gelding had attracted a bid of $15,500 at last look. A last start winner at Cambridge on July 16, Gandalf is being sold by Entain boss Dean Shannon's Montana Park Pty Ltd, the same vendor who sold Miki Montana for $47,000 on gavelhouse in June. Gandalf is one of 12 lots up for sale from 7pm tonight.

Top sire dies in France

Europe's leading French trotting stallion Ready Cash has died aged 18 from colic. As a racehorse he won 40 of 70 starts, retiring with earnings of more than $7m, making him the richest French trotter in history and the fourth richest overall. After racing he became a champion stallion siring top trotters like Bold Eagle, Face Time Bourbon, Readly Express and Back of The Neck.

Dunn in record breaking form

Ten-time Kiwi champion driver Dexter Dunn has been in world record breaking form in North America again, this time with Seven Colors. In August 2022 he set the world's fastest ever time with Bulldog Hanover winning at the Meadowlands in 1:45.8. Over the weekend he won the $300,000 Carl Milsten Memorial at Northfield Ohio by two lengths in a world record 1:48.2 for the three year old colt and gelding pacers (on a half mile track). It broke the record of 1:49 set by Betting Line at the Delaware County fair in 2016. It was Dunn's second win in the race, having ben successful previously with Bettor's Wish in 2019.

Equiconnect on tomorrow

A three hour session specifically tackling mental health in the racing industry will be held at Addington Raceway this Thursday. Called "Equiconnect" the seminar will canvas a number of issues relating to harness and thoroughbred racing, and more. "We want to connect with trainers, drivers, cadets, coaches - in fact anyone involved in equestrian sports," says Equiconnect organiser and rural health mentor Craig "Wiggy" Wiggins. It will be held at the Terror To Love lounge from 7pm. For more information contact : [email protected]

Harness racing turnovers from the past week :

Winton - Thursday - Turnover $368K, Gross Betting margin 14.3%
Cambridge - Thursday - $567K, 1.2%
Addington - Friday - $800K, 11%
Ashburton - Sunday - $813K, 23%


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