Day At The Track

Big benefactor John Green has had enough

05:09 AM 04 Feb 2013 NZDT
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Kylie Price, John, Moria & Hugh Green John Green, Moira and Hugh Green John Green with reinsman Todd Macfarlane
Kylie Price, John, Moria & Hugh Green - & Graham LeGros of Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
High Green Foundation photo
John Green, Moira and Hugh Green - after donating funds for Brain Research.
Hugh Green Foundation photo
John Green with reinsman Todd Macfarlane
Duane Ranger Photo
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John Green believes he has injected up to $10 million into harness racing, but the Ardmore (South Auckland) conditioner has had enough and it is highly likely you will ever seen him at a trotting track again.

"I've had a gutsful and I do not know when I will go again. I've pulled all our sponsorship and I won't be buying at the Sales again. I will still breed from my broodmares, but I bought a couple of gallopers at the Magic Millions Sale in Australia.

"I'm totally despondent with harness racing here. I haven't been to the track for almost a year now and won't return. Officialdom has ruined it for everyone," Green told Harnesslink.

The comments come just three days after the Green and Brian Hughes trained Delightful Christian won the Listed $170,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Classic for 3yo fillies at Addington Raceway.

"Bunty (Brian) had to give the speech and Maurie (McKendry - driver) had to un-gear the horse. I watched the race on TV from Auckland," Green said.

Green became despondent with the sport 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 (2nd June 2012).

"We have already spent $100,000 on this case and we will defend it to the end. Hong Kong is the only racing establisment in the world that tests for Arsenic. We used a product called Caco-copper which was administered by our Vet and it has been used in New Zealand for about 40 years without a positive.

"The RIU and harness racing officials in this country are ruining our sport. I want no part of it and it's time someone made a stand," he said.

"We are not guilty and we will try to prove that," he added.

He said the RIU's bid to catch drug cheats by sending samples to Hong Kong had instead unleashed a giant which threatened to damage the entire industry.

"Individuals in high positions are doing no good for the industry. We need a complete clean out at the top. Administration in this country is diabolical and causing people to leave the industry," Green said.

Apart from working the odd horse his only association with his Ardmore stable now was giving his horses water at night.

"I get up early every day and work for the Hugh Green Group and the Hugh Green Foundation, of which I am the director. I am currently selling beef to China for the Hugh Green Group," Green said.

Green's father, Hugh, passed away in Auckland last July aged 80. He was one of Auckland's most generous men.

A recipient of the Queen's Service Medal, the Mt Albert resident was the creator of the Hugh Green Group, a multi-million dollar set of companies with interests in everything from land to farming, gas and oil exploration. He was the man behind the Hugh Green Foundation, worth $50 million, which donates all of its proceeds each year to mainly New Zealand charities.

Born in Ireland's County Donegal, a fairly depressed area at the time, Mr Green left school aged 12 to work as a cattle drover.

After working in Scotland, England and Tasmania, he arrived in New Zealand in 1952.

"We give away about $2 million in charity every year. It's a very satisfying job and one I am very proud of. My father was a hard-working, generous man. I enjoy carrying on his good work," Green said.

Click here to find out the generous work Green and the Hugh Green Foundation undertake.

For the record Green and Hughes recent Group winners have also been Ideal Scott, Devil Dodger and Courage to Rule.

"All the credit goes to Bunty. We have been training for 10 years now. He's the man behind our success. Delightful Christian's win was all down to him and Maurie," Green said.

Green and Hughes have not been charged but their horse has allegedly tested positive for a miniscule amount of arsenic in her blood.

"We are not a cheats and we will get our chance to prove our innocence next month," Green said.

The case will be heard in the Auckland High Court on March 18th.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

Delightful Christian winning the Listed $170,000 PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Classic at Addington Raceway last Friday:

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