Vale Peter Craig
Harness racing historian Peter Craig is being remembered as someone who made a massive contribution to the sport on both sides of the Tasman.
He died suddenly in Christchurch this week.
"It’s with great sadness that we have the task of letting the harness racing community know that Peter Craig, a true superstar of the sport, has passed at just 67 years of age," says long-time friend and colleague Dean Baring.
"Peter made a massive contribution to harness racing both here in Australia and back home in NZ."
"In our view, no other person has ever helped, inspired or given as much towards keeping the history of harness racing alive as Peter. The shock of his passing will have a massive effect on so many for the years to come."
A keen follower of harness racing particularly overseas Peter Craig had been to more than twenty Inter Dominion Championships, and also attended many world drivers' championships including New York and Paris, and went to the Little Brown Jug in North America in 2014. He took a very active interest in racing in the USA and particularly followed the success of ex-pat Kiwis like champion driver Dexter Dunn.
Always affable and very well-liked, Craig was a retired accountant. He was born in Auckland and worked in Wellington for over 20 years before moving to Christchurch in the 1990s where he lived with his wife Catharine. In February this year he sponsored the Peter and Catharine Craig Trot at Methven.
As a historian he was meticulous. Every week for many years he was a regular at the Harness Racing New Zealand offices researching races past and present. He knew the archives as well as anyone.
"He was the driving force behind Harnessbred.com since 2015 and his wonderful stories, history and insights will be greatly missed," says Baring.
His involvement included :
• Member of Classic Families team (www.classicfamilies.net) responsible for updating and maintaining the New Zealand data. This included researching old newspapers and books for the speed and earnings records of New Zealand trotters and pacers from the early years of racing. The result is the most accurate electronic collection of elite New Zealand standardbreds ever compiled. In addition, involved in ensuring Classic Families has the most comprehensive details available on current and historical race tracks worldwide.
• Contributor to NZ magazine HARNESSED
• Member of following clubs : NZMTC (Addington), Forbury Park TC (Dunedin), Banks Peninsula TC (Motukarara) and dual gaited with membership of Canterbury JC (Riccarton)
• Member of Addington Harness Hall of Fame Committee
Former involvement included –
• Owner (Scottish Hostess)
• Breeder under auspices of Capital Standardbreds Ltd (bred 24, 18 qualifiers with 17 winners). Best having been (Mister) Skye Rocket and (Mister) Veejays Fella
• Contributor to The Right Track (NZ Breeders publication early/mid-nineties, Harness Racing International John Peck’s Melbourne based publication, Harness Racing Weekly in NZ
• Wellington area representative for NI Branch of Standardbred Breeders Association
"Our hearts go out to his wife Catharine and her 2 boys," says Baring.
Harness Racing New Zealand would also like to send its condolences to Peter Craig's family.
"It's very sad news, Peter dedicated a large part of his life to our sport, and has been taken far too soon."