Harness racing's big day is just around the corner with the Harness Jewels at Cambridge. It is the day we recognise the best of the best with much fanfare and adulation.
Tonight at Forbury Park in Dunedin on a freezing winters night we witnessed the other side of our industry but one that is just as important as the Harness Jewels to the health of harness racing in New Zealand.
Jaspers Blue Jean set a new New Zealand record for the most race starts by a race horse when he faced the starter for the 220th time this evening.
The winner of four races lifetime, Jaspers Blue Jean has raced 98 times for his present owner / trainer Eion Latimer for two wins and 13 placings but has struggled in recent times with his last placing being over 45 starts ago although he has run several fourths in that time.
He may never have been good enough to grace a Jewels field but if it weren't for trainers like Eion Latimer and his old warhorse Jaspers Blue Jean, then plenty of clubs in New Zealand would struggle to fill their fields.
The Latimer's of this world don't do it for the money or the glory but for the enjoyment they get from our sport.
Long may it continue!