Ray Jenkins passes the baton
NZ HARNESS NEWS
After 35 seasons of training, Ray Jenkins has decided it is time to pass the baton.
The former Southlander, who part-owns two trotters racing at Addington on Friday night, has not renewed his licence.
And while he will continue to drive, his horses will be trained by his daughter Amber and her husband, Jason Lethaby.
“I’ll keep my hand in there and a horse like Globe Trekker will continue to race in my colours, but I think it’s time to give the younger generation a go,” said Jenkins.
“It was getting a bit awkward with the amount of time I was spending in Australia, so this move also cleans up the legalities.”
It is perhaps not surprising that a staunch Southlander has developed a liking for hot weather and for several years now, Jenkins has been based at West Melton while campaigning a team in Queensland during the winter.
He returned from his latest sojourn last Friday just in time to see Globe Trekker win first up for the season for Amber at Addington and he will handle the progressive four-year-old himself at this week’s Premier meeting with his daughter handling McLovin in the same race.
“I left in May and I think we saw about a day and a half of rain in the months while I was there.
“It does get horribly dry and I know it’s not great for those having to fight the fires, but I just love it.
“I eventually managed to sell all the horses I was racing in Queensland so we’ve come back with a clean slate.”
Jenkins will obviously still have a role to play about his stables and it will be a team effort with his daughter and son-in-law, while another former Southlander in Tony Barron has leased the other half of the barn.
“Tony’s team is also going very well and the whole thing just fell into place and made sense.”
Jenkins has racked up 266 training wins over the years - mostly with trotters.
Global Invasion was his last open class trotter and Globe Trekker is her first foal.
But it was a period back in the late 80s when he had trotters like Tobago and Torledo that Jenkins enjoyed his greatest success.
He trained Tobago to win the New Zealand and Northern Trotting Derby and then passed him on to driver Pat O’Reilly to train in Ashburton, and he won the Dominion with Tobago beating Directorship while finishing second in the Inter-Dominion in Auckland in 1991.
Torledo was unrelated although he was another son of Game Pride who won 10 races, the last of them with Jenkins driving from a 50m handicap at Gore.
Globe Trotter (10 wins), Golden Blue (9 wins), Globe Pride (8 wins) and the pacing-bred half-sisters Georgina Lobell (10 wins) and Rebecca Sunrise (9 wins) were other good performers for Jenkins around the same period.
Tobago, Globe Pride and Golden Blue were from the fine Johnny Globe trotting mare Ann’s Globe, who Jenkins inherited from his parents.
The four-year-old Globe Trekker has won three of his six races and is heading for the best classes, extending a run of top mares from Global Invasion to Globe Trotter, Globe Pride and Ann’s Globe.
This week is a big step up in class for Globe Trekker but he is well placed off the front to deal with the likes of handicapped runners in Over The Love, Muscles Galore, McLovin and The Dominator.
“McLovin is a big, gross type of horse who took about half a dozen races to hit his straps last season,” said Jenkins.
“So, we’re expecting gradual improvement from him and hopefully he’ll be peaking at the Cup meeting.”