Well known North Island harness racing identity Jeff Crouth will retire from training in mid-October after more than thirty years of involvement. But, before that, he would like to get that winning feeling one more time.
“I may line-up a couple of horses next week but that will be it,” said Crouth. “So it would be nice to get at least one more winner,” he added.
The Pukekohe based conditioner will start three horses on Friday at Alexandra Park, which all look at least each-way chances.
The first of them is Home From The Sea, who competes in race one and looks a good chance on the back of a handy fresh-up third.
“She came from the outside of the front line last week, so it was a good effort,” said Crouth. “From the four draw you would think she would have to be at least a place chance.”
The next of Crouth’s runners is Tormenta, who is a full-brother to his former stable star Stormy Sirocco.
“He is a very nice maiden with a lot of ability,” said Crouth. “He doesn’t have a great draw and there are a few handy ones in the field, but he is definitely an each-way prospect.”
The last of the runners that will sport Crouth’s red, white, and black colours on Friday is Molly O’Shea, and Crouth rates her as the best of his three charges.
“She is a lovely filly, who has trialled up really well,” Crouth enthused.
“She has drawn two, and I expect her to go very close to winning.”
“Millie Sampson dead-heated with her in a recent trial so perhaps she will be the hardest to beat,” he added.
When asked what he is going to do once retired, Crouth said him and his wife Trish would spent a year on the road travelling around New Zealand before making any other plans.
“We haven’t had a decent holiday in years, so we will get that out of the way first,” laughed Crouth.
Crouth said that he believes that things need to change dramatically if people are going to stay in the game.
“It’s hard for anyone outside the top 10 on the trainers’ premiership to survive these days.”
“We are also losing too many good horses to Australia. Stormy Sirocco is doing well over there but exports are tough on trainers. I’ve lost a couple recently,” he added.
Crouth has recently purchased a retirement home at Marsden Cove just south of Whangarei.
“I’ve had some close shaves with my health in recent years and the Grim Reaper has confronted me three times. I think it’s now time for us to be doing better things than training horses.
Crouth rates Great Northern Oaks and Harness Jewels winner Running On Faith as the best filly he trained during his career, while he said Casino Lord and Butlers First are among the best male pacers he has been involved with.
“Cheetah Man, Thunderstorm, Vital Eyes, and Kamwood Kango, are other nice horses I have been associated with,” he added.
The former Franklin Trotting Club president had a great association with the rich Sales Series Final and won the race an amazing four times.
Crouth has also been president of the Horseman’s Association and was vice president of the North Island Standardbred Breeders Association.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in harness racing but now it’s time for me to do something new. I might own one, one day but that will be it,” Crouth concluded.
By Mitchell Robertson