Friday, January 23, 2009
By the time you read this the Wellington Cup at Trentham has been held and won by the good southern mare Megapins. But the actual Wellington Cup? Yeah right!
The Wellington Cup, arguably second only to the Melbourne Cup as a premier staying handicap event in Australasia, and the premier event in New Zealand, has been raced over 3200m for eighty or more years now. As a staying race Auckland is third behind Wellington, and the historical New Zealand Cup raced since the 1860's. It has often been said that a good miler could win the Auckland and has on occasions.
If breeders are looking for early speed in their horses and consider 3200m as too long now, why has the Melbourne, Sydney, New Zealand and Auckland cups been retained at 3200m? It is actually a lot of nonsense because the changes and alterations in dates are all aimed at promoting Auckland; Wellington with its wonderfully designed testing left handed track has become an even poorer relation now. Riccarton was ignored for years until it got off its own butt and promoted itself by revamping its track and increasing stakes for its race meetings
Now that the Wellington Cup has been reduced to just another cup race over 2400m llike Waikato and Manawatu, it should be renamed as, perhaps the Wellington Gold Cup(with trophy). Money is ruining these historical events. I don't mind being called a traditionalist, at least I am being honest and not trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes.
It is actually the Auckland Cup that should be reduced in distance and changed to WFA(weight for age) and given a stake of a couple of million dollars and promoted as a world class event. It should also be put back to New Years Day and be used as a lead-up to a million dollar Wellington Cup changed back to 3200m. That would be real promotion friends!
In the harness racing code, it is also Auckland fiddling with its Auckland Trotting Cup by reducing it again from 3200m to 2600m. Auckland is second only to the world class New Zealand Cup raced over 3200m in New Zealand. If you have the numbers for the New Zealand Cup you will have them for the Auckland Trotting Cup too with the right promotion and stakes. Wellington will never have a decent trotting meeting because the Hutt City Council forced the Wellington Harness Racing Club into bankrupcy and pulled up the track to grow native plants around Hutt Park.
Traditions are important in horse racing as in anything else. Do you really believe the Melbourne Cup in Victoria, Australia, or major events held at Ascot and Epsom in England would be reduced in distance to promote racing? Hardly! There are other ways and means to promote the sport of kings across the board rather than destroying time honoured events such as the Wellington Cup. A race won also by Melbourne Cup winning greats such as the legendary Kiwi, and the giant mare, Empire Rose. A race that the great South Island mare Showgate should have won with a more experienced rider, and was beaten by dual cup winner Good Lord in his first win in the Wellington Cup. There have been other great winners of the great race on the great Trentham track. I have watched many winners since 1970 but stopped when the Wellington Racing Club forgot that ordinary people as well as the more affluent come to Trentham to watch their racing. Charging $20.00 to come through the gates of a racecourse before even buying a racebook, having something to eat and drink is no way to promote horse racing at Trentham in the Hutt Valley and Wellington region or any other race track.
Well that is my opinion and if you think it is waffling on, have a great day because we will probably never meet each other now or in the future because I may never step foot on the Trentham track again, unless they return the Wellington Cup back to its former glory.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I heard and saw the following story on television news recently. Sheep racing? Yeah right! If I told you, you wouldn't believe me or even bother to use the link to the story. So I decided to copy the actual article for you to read:
"Crusaders Mascot in starting line-up for Woollymunchers Sheep Racing"
Canterbury, New Zealand, 2009
Famous Canterbury Crusaders rugby mascot, Larry the Lamb, will race at the famous NZ Woollymunchers Music, Fine Wine and Lambfest sheep races on January 13.
Larry is an icon of Canterbury and is keen to test his racing hoofs out against the highly trained sheep at Canterbury’s iconic festival at the Ashburton A and P Showground.
But it will be no mean feat for the crowd pleasing lamb as he faces stiff competition from the likes of “King Woollymuncher”, who is a giant on the sheep racing circuit and rumoured to be insured for in excess of $100.
Sheep racing trainer and local farmer Mary Copland has put many hours into her prize racing sheep and promises the course will be longer, with more jumps this year.
She is confident that the Arthur Lydiard coaching method she used to build stamina amongst her flock, will see them leave Larry the Lamb and a little wool behind.
The sheep have been fed top quality high protein food from Golden Stockfoods and are now focusing on a carbohydrate diet in the lead up to the festival in order to build their muscles.
Indeed, if the lambs were analysed for meat quality, their shanks would be the very best on the restaurant menu, the committee of helpers believe.
Three sheep races will take place over the course of the day at 12.15pm, 2.30pm and 4.45pm. The public can bet on the outcome of all the races.
The festival itself will start at 11am with Jordan Luck and popular band dDub headlining the event.
Television celebrity chef Richard Till and Le Bon Bolli owner Phillip Kraal will start the day at 11am in the cooking demonstration tent.
In its third year the annual festival promises to be a fantastic day out for all the family with tickets just $22 for adults.
Other entertainment includes a celebrity BBQ cook-off starring Jordan Luck,
Mayor Bede O’Malley, Larry the Lamb and Rakaia MP Brian Connell, gourmet food and wine stalls and music from local band Tex Machine.
Organisers have put a cap on public through the gate and are advising people to pre-buy tickets to ensure they don’t miss out.
Woollymunchers will be held on Saturday January 13 at the Ashburton A and P Showgrounds and tickets are available from Camera World in Ashburton or online at ticketdirect.co.nz or by phoning 0800 TICKET. More information about the festival is available from Here
Acknowledgements to all concerned: (Domain now expired)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Prayer at the loss of Sonny Fai...
Submitted by Prayer Corner on Fri, 2009-01-09 12:04.
Dear Father of Mercy,
I lift up to you today the name of Sonny Fai, whose life ended far before anyone expected. I beseech you to touch the hearts of his parents, siblings, family, teammates and friends, even the nation that loved this selfless young man. Help them in their pain and grief not to turn from you in anger, but to turn to you for comfort and direction. Do not let this incident rob those grieving of the great joys they experienced in relationship to Sonny, nor the relationships that bind them together.
May they instead cherish each moment with those they love and live life to the full, with same zest and passion he had for his game and the compassion he had for his loved ones.
Help each one that loved Sonny, take the next steps before them here, as they look forward to the next life.
I ask through the Risen Savior, Jesus,
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Rising Kiwi football star drowns while saving younger brother in tidal rip...
2009 was the year that 20 year old Sonny Fai of the NZ Warriors NRL franchise rugby league team in Auckland was going to make it to the bigtime after 15 occasional games for the First grade. They all said this was HIS year!
Last Sunday the strapping backrow forward had his first pre-season hitout with a thirty man squad at Bethells Beach on Auckland's west coast, a stretch of coast well known for its rough water and tidal rips.
After the training run Sonny Fai, his younger brother and other members of his family went swimming at the beach. The younger brother got into difficulties and older brother,Sonny, went to his rescue. He helped him into the shorebreak, told him to let go of his hand and to swim to shore. Sonny said he would get ashore on his own.He was caught by another rip and taken further out to sea. Bystanders said the sea was like a washing machine. Sonny was never seen again!
The entire NZ Warriors squad searched for him for hours, and the management hired a helicopter for a wider search. He may have been washed into a sea cave.
Sonny Fai, undoubtably now the late Sonny Fai, was one of the most promising players signed up to the NZ Warriors club since the former great Kiwis captain, Stacy Jones. It is a tragic loss to the club, to professional rugby league, and New Zealand sport in general. One could go one step further and say a loss to world sport because such a talented young man would have become a world figure, even in a fairly restricted sport as rugby league. As we say down here in New Zealand: the cream always rises to the top!