Robbie Holmes to debut as galloping trainer

By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk

He’s the fourth generation of a famous harness racing family, and now Robbie Holmes is branching out into the thoroughbreds as well.

The North Canterbury based trainer-driver will saddle up two gallopers at Ashburton tomorrow. They are the first to be trained under his name, with Savannah Gold in race 2 and Hey Soul Sister in race 3.

His foray into thoroughbreds has come about through his sister Corrina Holmes and her husband Bevan McCallum, both long-time employees at Cambridge Stud, who bred and co-own both horses.

“I said to her if she gets them here I’d train them… I’m enjoying it and it’s nice to see some new faces.”

Holmes trains the pair on the beach alongside the 35 or so standardbreds he has in work.

“I rode one of them a bit when she arrived and had a couple of dismounts – my riding ability is minimal.”

Holmes is the latest of many to try their hand at both codes, alongside the likes of Graeme Rogerson, Todd Mitchell and Michael House.

“The big difference is the amount of work you put into them. We just gallop them two or three rounds of the track or ten minutes at the beach.”

As for his chances tomorrow, he prefers Hey Soul Sister.

“I really like her – she out gallops the other filly”

Previously with Shaune Ritchie she has one second and four thirds from nine raceday starts, while Savannah Gold was unplaced in her only start.

For Holmes it’s a fresh challenge as he tries to add to the 526 harness racing winners he’s had since his first in the late 1990s.

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