Day At The Track

Croon Bloodstock gives back to industry

02:00 PM 14 Jul 2017 NZST
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Mark Johnson,Harness racing
Mark Johnson
HRNZ photo

Young North Island harness racing participants will now have the opportunity to up-skill themselves thanks to the financial support of Croon Bloodstock and the NZ Equine Education Trust.

Spokesperson, Anne Phillips, termed the concept as an "exciting one" for the future of harness racing in the North Island.

She said the new industry initiative, known as the 'Croon Bloodstock Award' will enable North Island harness racing participants from all sectors of the industry to apply to the award fund for grants towards up-skilling.

"The successful candidates will be people with a long-term future in harness racing, and who will use their expanded knowledge or experience to add value to our industry.

"As well as targeting stud staff, drivers and trainers for stable or stud work experience opportunities, the grants will also be available to people who want to learn more about running a small business, not only to assist in their current positions but also to up-skill them to follow career paths in club/industry administration. A way to keep successful and talented young people in our industry," Phillips said.

She said courses such as farrier, dentistry, computer skills and communication/media were just some options.

The Award fund will be administered by New Zealand Equine Education Trust (NZEET), which has charitable trust status. To kick start 2017, the Croon Bloodstock Award Sub-Committee of NZEET Board Trustee; myself, sponsor; Rod Croon and Northern Region Harness tutor; Sally Waters have selected initiatives to get the grants underway," Waiau Pa-based Phillips said.

Meanwhile, Phillips said current 'Premier Harness Racing Cadet', Mark Johnson, has had the opportunity to spend two weeks with the 'All Stars Stable' in Rolleston, as well as time with John Dunn at Woodend.

Johnson thanked Croon Bloodstock and the Waikato Harness Racing Trust for the opportunity to have two weeks in the South Island learning new things from the different stables.

"It was a good experience seeing how other trainers train their horses and vary their training strategies, and the different ways they liked having their horses driven in work. The opportunity to drive at Nelson, being around exciting horses like Smolda and Cash N Flow, and driving work on the beach were certainly highlights of the trip," Johnson said.

"Thank you to the All Stars team and John for their willingness to teach me,” he added.

In other news Phillips said Waiuku horsewoman, Michelle Hackett, is currently working on a computer course focusing on Excel to up-skill her for the work she has been doing with the northern cadets.

"A communication and media course will be held at Franklin Park on August 12 and 13. Many of our younger drivers will remember the very popular and successful media training courses, held a few years ago with Dick Weir. Unfortunately, a lack of funding brought these to a halt but with the Croon Bloodstock Award we are again able to offer this opportunity.

"A vibrant and enthusiastic facilitator Dick builds on each individual’s strengths, giving them strategies to improve their communication skills and develop confidence in media situations. In recent years Dick has worked with Trackside providing training for presenters, and in an on-going mentoring role.

“Since 1996 Dick has been employed by New Zealand Racing Board to train not only Trackside presenters, but also studio directors, executives and bookies in communication and media skills," said Phillips.

As Weir put it: “Everyone can be an excellent communicator in their own way, it’s just that training can help them reach their potential," Weir said

The scholarship is available for 2017 and 2018, at the end of this period Croon will evaluate and review the scholarship.

Croon is a Current Director of the New Zealand Racing Board, a former Chairman of Northern Harness Racing, former Auckland Trotting Club President and current vice president of the Auckland Trotting club.

Phillips said he was a successful owner and breeder in New Zealand and a leading vendor at the Australasian Yearling Sale.

"Rod has said that this award fund is a way to give back to an industry that he is passionate about and that has given him much pleasure and excitement over many years. It is also a way of giving something to the future of harness racing, by helping people in the industry up-skill and to be better prepared for the times ahead.

For anyone interested in attending the communication / media course in August, or accessing the grant, please contact Anne or Sally for further details on how to apply.

Anne Phillips:   |   Phone: 021 672 959

Sally Waters:   |   Phone: 027 494 2850

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