'Project could set up the ATC for life,' says Green

03:27 PM 07 Apr 2014 NZST
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Ardmore trainer, John Green
John Green - was appointed to the Board of the Auckland Trotting Club on April 1
Duane Ranger photo

Prominent harness racing identity and Auckland businessman, John Green was appointed to the Board of the Auckland Trotting Club on April 1 as an independent director.

Green not only has had a lifetime involvement in harness racing as an owner, breeder, driver and trainer, both in New Zealand and Australia, he is also the CEO of the Hugh Green Foundation - which is focused on giving financial aid to medical research and to people in need in the New Zealand community.

He is also a director of The Hugh Green Group, which is one of the largest family owned commercial and residential property developers in New Zealand.

Green said he was specifically appointed to the Board for his skills in property development.

“I am currently involved in a project that would set the Auckland Trotting Club up for life. Harness racing in this city would have a secure future and no longer have to be reliant on the Racing Board funding or slot machines,” Green said.

“It would be a complex five or six stories high comprising retail and residential development. I am now assisting by being a member of the Project Control Group along with President Hoggard, Director Bruce Carter and our CEO,” 58-year-old Green said.

“This is all about the Club being totally self-sufficient one day,” he added.

The ATC’s chief executive, Dominique Dowding, said Green brought a wealth of commercial, property, racing and governance acumen to the director’s role.

“John is a welcome addition to the Board, and will be an enormous asset to the development project on 223 Green Lane West.

“We know members will be pleased to have John back involved with the Auckland Trotting Club and the team looks forward to working with him on what is the most exciting time in the Clubs history” Dowding said.

His appointment now makes the governance of the ATC an eight-strong board. It comprises:

Kerry Hoggard (president), Jamie MacKinnon (vice president), Dene Biddlecombe, Bruce Carter, Phil Cook, Scott Plant, and Peter Smith.

Green trained 91 winners in New Zealand from 1990 to 1996 and 194 more with Brian Hughes between 2002 and 2013.

He also trained about 300 winners during his time in Australia and drove 80 more. He drove his first winner with his first drive at both Harold and Albion Park and has won a Group race in every state in Australia.

His only driving success in New Zealand however, on December 10, 1992 was his most sentimental.

“That was at Taranaki. The horse was Letterkenny Lover. I owned, bred, trained and drove her. She paid $60 to win and I took great delight in beating Maurice McKendry and Tony Herlihy (MNZM) that day,” Green laughed.

Green has also trained numerous Group One winners in New Zealand.

He won the Noel Taylor Mile with The Suileman in 1995; the 2005 Easter Cup with Alta Serena; the 2012 Great Northern Derby with Ideal Scott; the 2005 Great Oaks with Tosti Girl.

He also trained Beefy T to win the 1996 Miracle Mile at Harold Park in Sydney and more recently Courage To Rule to win the Victoria Derby in 2010.

Green gave away training last season after injecting more than $10 million into the industry.

He wanted to concentrate on business, but admitted he did become despondent with training when the New Zealand Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) said it found traces of Arsenic in Delightful Christian after she won the Group One $150,000 Harness Jewels Final for 2yo fillies on 2nd June 2012.

He has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting the case.

By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)

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