As of Monday (January 16) Pukekohe horseman Logan Hollis will begin work at New Zealand's top harness racing stable. Hollis has been named stable manager at Mark Purdon and Grant Payne's recently opened Pukekohe barn.
The appointment comes after Purdon decided to re-establish his Auckland stable after closing it last year.
"Logan has done the hard yards in the game and is a very competent horseman. I think we are lucky to have him. He was an outstanding junior driver of course, but he has been training in partnership with Shane Robertson in Pukekohe for a few years now and is ready to take on such a responsible position,'' Purdon said.
Robertson will still over see the Hollis/Robertson stable, which is situated a mere kilometre up the road. Hollis said he would help out his training partner as much as his new job permitted.
Hollis has been training in partnership with Robertson since the 2007-2008 season and they have had their share of success with a smallish racing team. They have won 24 races and just under a quarter of a million dollars.
In the sulky Hollis has won 62 races (18 as a junior) and $445,900.
Hollis began as a junior driver in 1988-89 and was a leading force in the Auckland junior ranks, winning the national junior driving title in 1992 and 1995.
"The size of the team will vary over the months but it means Auckland is again a permanent stable for us to take advantage of with the good stakes up here," Purdon said.
Meanwhile, Hollis said he was rapt to be working for New Zealand's premier harness racing stable and stressed he was primarily there as a trainer.
"I'm really looking forward to the challenge. The stable has plenty of drivers and I see my role as one of training only, but I've told Mark that if he ever had three in a race I'd be happy to drive for him," Hollis said.
The 40-year-old said he would be working a team of 14 and that number would rise depending on the races the stable targeted in Auckland. He also has two junior drivers working for him - Jeremy Markham and Tabatha Fensom.
Hollis wanted to stress that nothing changed at the Hollis/Robertson barn.
"We want our owners to know that we are still very much committed to them and our team of eight. We will also be preparing yearlings for the Sales.
"Shane has our 2-year-old Imajollywally going along really nicely. Sure I'm going to be busy but I'm always up for a challenge and to be able to work for a top stable like this I know will be rewarding," Hollis said.
By Duane RANGER (editor)