Ownership Profile - Glenn Ford

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Most owners will tell you that while winning a race with a horse is wonderful, the friendships made along the way when racing a horse are the real highlight.

When Glenn Ford recently won his first race at Alexandra Park it saw a chance meeting between relative strangers, connected by the Blanchard family, result in a memorable first for many of the connections.

A three-year-old pacer by American Ideal, Glenn Ford was successful on Friday 8 June for trainers Peter and Vaughan Blanchard, and driver Zac Butcher. The win came at just his sixth start after previously recording two placings.

Frank Hagerman, David Ingoe, Dwayne Mason, Dan Grebenar, Geoff Calder and Andrew Sinkovich are all first time harness racing owners involved with Glenn Ford, whilst Andrew’s father Tony rejoined the ownership ranks after a lengthy break from the sport.

The team races the horse in ownership alongside Peter Blanchard, who purchased the horse to train with his son and co-trainer Vaughan at the sales at Karaka in 2016.

For Dwayne, David and Dan it was a chance encounter after sponsoring a race at Alexandra Park in September 2016 that led to them becoming owners.

“We sponsored a race and named it the ‘Jades Dream To Walk Handicap Trot’ as one of the now syndicate members daughter required an operation in the USA to help her walk. After the race we were in the winners lounge with Robert Dunn and Karen Blanchard and we joked to them about owning a horse,” explained Dwayne. “Karen had an opportunity for us through her husband Peter and son Vaughan at Pukekohe. This sounded great as it was only 45 minutes’ drive from home.”  

So Dwayne, his co-worker David and good friend Dan all took the plunge into ownership for the first time.

Vaughan Blanchard was then able to bring onboard former school friends Geoff Calder and Andrew Sinkovich, who now lives in Sydney. Andrew’s father Tony, who had owned horses many years ago, came on board also and was able to bring in his friend, Frank Hagerman.

Frank Hagerman said he had been impressed by Vaughan Blanchard’s passion for horses when he had met him at family gatherings via Tony.

“I had owned gallopers in the past, however to be honest I always preferred Standardbreds as I spent many an evening at Alexandra Park in its hay day back in the 80’s. So the thought of possibly racing at Alexandra Park and owning a horse with some friends was a no brainer. Plus having it stabled with Peter and Vaughan made it an easy decision,” said Frank.

For Tony Sinkovich he has a unique perspective in the ownership experience, given he works overseas in Peru for six to eight months of the year as an Avocado exporter and has to listen to the races at random hours.

“For me I listen to those races between 2.30am and 4.30am in the morning, and unfortunately I dozed off and missed the race he won, I was rung up by my son saying we had a win,” explained Tony.

The group was grateful to the Blanchards for their help throughout this new journey also.

“Peter, Vaughan and Karen have been brilliant right from the beginning,” said Dwayne. “They keep us informed of Glenn’s progression, where he’s at with his trials and workouts and his experiences along the way.”

The overwhelming emotions after winning are something that Frank Hagerman remembers well.

“After some great efforts and promising runs to have him win his first race at Alexandra Park was a massive thrill as it’s not easy to win a race, let alone one at the Park,” said Frank. “After he crossed the line everything else was a blur but I do remember a few ‘man hugs’ which must have looked a little awkward. We were then entertained by the Club and Committee and the hospitality shown was outstanding.”

“The best part of being an owner is the thrill of not knowing what may or may not happen, plus the hope that you have a winner. Watching the horse develop through all the stages and following it with friends and other owners who have become friends was also very rewarding,” Frank went on to say.

Even though he’s thousands of kilometres away, Tony Sinkovich recommends being part of the action.

“Frank and I have been family friends for over 30 years and we like to do things together to share the joys of life, and winning racehorses meets that excitement. I recommend ownership, especially for me as it keeps me in regular communication when I am far away from the action.”

The feeling is similar for Dwayne Mason.

 “The best part is heading to the races knowing you have a horse that has a chance. But also meeting new people and having family and friends follow the horse is great. The rest of the owners are all great people and we now have some new friends,” said Dwayne. “I think seeing your name as an owner in the racebook confirms it as well.”

“We walked away from his first two starts, which was a fourth and a second, celebrating as if we had won the race. The smiles on our faces were from ear to ear,” Dwayne said.

“But the emotion after the win was jubilation with ecstasy, as well as the fact we could not believe we had just won a race at Alexandra Park. We had heard how difficult it was to win a race, let alone winning at the Park, and two weeks later we are still smiling and talking about the win with family, friends and colleagues.”

Dwayne would definitely recommend ownership to others.

“It has been one of the best things I have got involved with. And it’s been affordable with the options given to us as well.”

For Karen Blanchard the journey to get new owners involved has been extremely rewarding.

“We have made some new friends, they have made some new friends and it has introduced and re-acquainted people to the industry.”

“Each time this little horse has raced they have come and supported him, but have also brought other friends and family along at the same time. Which is great for the industry.”

The chance meeting has now seen some of the syndicate purchase shares in a weanling sister to Agostini from the recent weanling sale.

“There are a few shares available for anyone looking to race a horse with this great bunch of blokes,” said Karen.

To find out more about getting involved in harness racing ownership, please contact Jess Smith at Harness Racing New Zealand [email protected]

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