Day At The Track

Joe McKenzie is a big a loss to the indiustry

06:20 AM 17 Oct 2011 NZDT
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Joe McKenzie
Joe McKenzie

Tasmania lost one of its most colorful harness racing identities last Saturday when Joe McKenzie died early last week. McKenzie suffered a head injury as the result of a fall last Tuesday (October 11) while tending a horse at Triabunna.

Born in 1926 and raised in Collingwood in Victoria, McKenzie was introduced to horses when he became involved with the Armanasco family that figured prominently in thoroughbred racing in Melbourne.

McKenzie moved to Tasmania when he was 17 and worked for many years in the logging industry as a truck driver.

He became involved in harness racing through connections with the late Bob "Goosy" Andrews and the late George Johnson for whom he drove trackwork and learned the intricasies of harness racing and breeding.

McKenzie was involved in some of the best pacers to race in the state and had success with horses such as General John, Jimmy Maru, Standing Beauty and in more recent years Archimedes, to name but a few.

McKenzie trained many winners in Victoria and one of the best horses he ever sold was King Lear that won a number of country cups in Victoria and a Navy Cup at Moonee Valley in 1998 defeating Blueagle and Broadway Gal.

McKenzie's family remain heavily involved in the industry with his daughters Debra Hill and Laraine McKenzie prominent standardbred breeders while second youngest daughter Juanita is a talented trainer in her own right, enjoying much success this past few months with talented three-year-old Nitro Blue.

Some of McKenzie's most cherished moments were watching his youngest daughter Shelley drive in races, however she relinquished her licence at the end of last season.

McKenzie had his share of run-ins with the stewards over the years but one constant was his passion for harness racing and his ability to mentor young people and encourage many onlookers to become involved in the industry.

He was a great family man who adored his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He will be sadly missed.

McKenzie is survived by his children Laraine, Debra, James, Juanita and Shelley; grandchildren Jessica, Jeremy, Ashley, Jack, Isabelle, Lucy and Noah and great grandchildren Mason and Haylee.

The funeral service will be held at St Peters Church, New Norfolk at 11am on Friday.

Peter STAPLES

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