By SHELLEY TOPP
A trip to Australia in August ended in a dream result for young Swannanoa horse trainer Jack Harrington.
Jack took a young trotting filly he trains called Renezmae to Melbourne for the Group One $90,000 Breeders’ Crown Final.
It was a big assignment for Renezmae, which only began racing in March this year, but looked all class in a brilliant win from the outside mobile barrier draw at Ashburton on Saturday April 29.
The three-year-old filly by The Pres from City Lane, ran third in her first Melbourne assignment and won her Breeders Crown qualifying heat.
She then lined up in the final as favourite, cruised to the front early and distanced her rivals at the finish with untouched ease.
It was a confident drive from Dexter Dunn and an exciting result for Jack and the filly’s owners, Jacks father, Dave Harrington of Swannanoa, Maxine and Noel Green of Ashburton, Lindsay Hall of Hamilton, Neville Smith of Hamilton, Jacks grandmother Jill Bush of Kaiapoi and Ashburton’s Jim Cruickshank, many of whom were in Melbourne for the prestigious win.
“We had a big celebration after that,” Jack says.
After returning to New Zealand Renezmae was turned out for a spell and is due to resume work this week. Jack has only been training professionally for two-and-a-half seasons.
Last season horses he trained won 12 races. Seven of those were trotting races.
Renezmaes win in the Breeders Crown attracted great publicity for Jacks Gold Star Stables.
But it was Hey Yo who kick-started his training career off in the best possible way with her racing performance, beginning with an impressive winning debut at Addington in October 2015.
Now a six-year-old, Hey Yo is by Swedish stallion Revenue, from classy trotting mare Toomuch To Do, a former New Zealand record holder who won 11 races and more than $150,000 in stakemoney.
Hey Yo was purchased by Jacks father off Horse Trader for $1500 and is raced by Dave in partnership with Jacks partner Ashley McKay and the Gold Star No.1 Syndicate.
She has now won six races (with six seconds) for almost $70,000 in stakemoney.
“When she started going well, that brought other horses to the stable,” Jack says.
That included Renezmae whose dam, City Lane won seven races in Australia. Renezmae’s breeder, Michelle Caig, of Winton, approached Jack about training her after the filly failed to sell at the 2016 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch.
He now has 20 horses in work.
Jack has an obvious affinity with trotters and admits he enjoys working with them.
“There is nothing like sitting behind a good trotter,” he says.
Jack became interested in harness racing after his parents moved from Australia to New Zealand.
Jack’s mum and dad used to own gallopers in Australia and were in a syndicate which owned the top thoroughbred racemare and successful broodmare Nina Haraka, who was sold to the late Robert Sangster, one of the worlds leading thoroughbred owners until his death in
“Dad had always liked harness racing, but galloping is big over there in Australia,” Jack says.
When the family moved to New Zealand in 2002, they began going to harness racing meetings and Jack became interested in becoming a trainer.
He contacted Rangiora trainer Andrew Stuart and began working for him. He later worked for Tim Butt at Rolleston and Robbie Holmes at Leithfield.
Another one of the young trotters Jack trains, B D Son, won at the Kaikoura Trotting Clubs meeting last Sunday.
He is hoping to have horses racing at the next Rangiora meeting on Friday November 10, a track he likes the new surface of and which was laid earlier this year.
“It is one of the best things they have ever done. It is a lot softer and kinder on the horses and it is quite fast too.”