Still winning races after 66 years
By Garrick Knight
Those watching race 3 at Stratford on Thursday afternoon will likely have heard the commentator pay tribute to Ray Bradley.
The 86-year-old, from Ohaupo, is a lifetime horseman who is enduring his first year since 1953 without his trainers’ license.
But he’s still actively involved in the game as a light-duties worker and as the owner of that Stratford winner, Panspacificjet.
The commentator was the horse’s co-trainer Jason Teaz, who is based at Bradley’s stables and property, along with wife Megan, so it was an especially unique situation.
“Ray and Elwyn Bradley are like family to Megan and I and they’ve been like grandparents to our daughter, Emma,” Teaz told HRNZ.
“Without their help and support, we wouldn’t be training.
“So to train a winner for them, in their colours, was one of our most satisfying days.”
Bradley and the Teazs would train side-by-side until last year when Bradley had some health setbacks.
“I had a couple or three little strokes that stuffed me up a bit,” said Bradley.
“So I didn’t take my licence out this season; the first time in 66 years.
“I still get out and clean the pens and give them a bit of a hand.
“But if I got in the cart now, I’d just fall flat out of it.
“So, I leave it Jason and Megan – they are very professional with their horses.”
Bradley watched the win from at home in Ohaupo and said he was overjoyed.
“It was a great thrill. It was a long time between drinks.”
Bradley saw Panspacificjet advertised for lease in The Informant last year, broken in but barely handly in Southland.
He’s a half-brother to now Perth-based Wildwest, who was sold out of Lauren Pearson’s stable after a 12-length debut win back in May.
“He’s already won six or eight over there in Perth,” said Bradley.
“This horse will take a while, because he’s a big boy and he’s got to get in to his frame.
“It could be another 12 months yet because he’s only three and he’s 16 hands two.”
The other layer to this is that Panspacificjet was driven by another Ohaupo local, and good friend of the Teazs and Bradleys in John Robinson.
Interestingly, it was Robinson’s first driving winner for another trainer since he piloted Needlecraft to win at Claudelands in 1990 for Dianne Primmer.
“I’ve known John since he was a young fella,” said Bradley.
“He drives good and is nice and patient. Plus, he’d driven a couple of rubbish horses for me in the past so I decided to give him another go.”
Panspacificjet is the only horse Bradley owns and, despite a bit of recent interest, he has no desire to sell at this stage – the fun being derived at his age is worth more than money in the bank.
Teaz reckons there will be more wins in store.
“He has improved with time which is a great sign. He’s a big, green horse – very similar to his brother, Wild West.
“I just hope he turns out half as good.”