Port Delight’s win a triumph over disability

By Garrick Knight

Doug Gale has made a conscious effort to reduce his stable numbers this season, but he couldn’t say no when an old friend came calling.

The win of Port Delight on the grass at Tauherenikau on Thursday was the result of that request and it put smiles on a number of faces.

“Simon Holmes came to see me one day and mentioned that he was looking at purchasing a horse off the internet.

“He and his partner were sort of keen to be involved in the training of the horse but he does have limitations because of his cerebral palsy.

“But I was happy to take the horse and contribute as much as I could.

“I’ve known his mum, Belinda, for a long, long time and she has rehomed many of my ex racehorses for me when they’ve come to the end of their careers.

"Simon comes out most mornings and helps out and she is such a nice mare he is able to walk her round, even allowing for his limitations."

Port Delight was out of form and seven-years-old when she arrived in Bulls but with four previous wins in the bank, had proven ability. And Gale was immediately impressed.

“Once the horse arrived, I was very happy with the way she worked up.

“I was quite confident heading in to the two days at Manawatu for the junior drivers’ championship races.

“Both days the drivers came off the track and said she was very unlucky not to win.”

With Jay Abernethy in the cart at Tauherenikau, Port Delight proved too good as favourite, the second of a training/driving double for the combination following The Kapiti Express’ win in the day’s opening race.

“I was happy with The Kapiti Express and the other two horses I lined up because all three have been quite severely effected by a respiratory virus recently.

“I had to ease off all of them so it was good to see all three come back and race well; Onedin Punter got checked late by The Night Hawk and Lincoln Moment came home well from a long way back.”

Gale says his family had an enjoyable day at the dual-code meeting and he hopes that officials were watching.

“It’s an amazing day with a big crowd – very popular with the locals and holidaymakers.

“It’s annoying to me that they aren’t running any of these meetings on the grass in January for various reasons.

“When you see the crowds they attract at the likes of Methven and Motukarara, it makes you wonder why we aren’t doing the same in the north.

“This year there is no Tauranga, no Te Aroha, no Te Awamutu and it will have serious repercussions going forward.

“Why can’t we organise ourselves to have good grass track racing through the summer when people are on holiday.

“It’s a day out for the family and gets young people interested in the sport.

“We need to be going out our way to ensure the grass circuit carries on through January and February.

“I really enjoyed it today; I loved getting back in to grass circuit racing, seeing the families out enjoying themselves.”

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