Day At The Track

McKendry honoured

05:30 PM 05 Jun 2017 NZST
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Maurice McKendry.jpg

Maurice McKendry believes his recognition in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours is more a reflection on the people who have helped him achieve all the success he has had in his career more so than of his own accomplishments. 

The Methven born and raised horseman, who is second only to Tony Herlihy on the list of all-time winners in the history of harness racing in New Zealand, was made a a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in today’s honour’s list - an achievement the humble and quietly spoken star of the sulky was rather chuffed about. 

“It’s a huge honour and something I’m quite proud of,” McKendry said. 

“But it’s also a great thing for the harness racing industry to be recognised as well. 

“I think something like this is more for all the people who have helped me out along the way too and I’ve been very lucky.”

McKendry relocated from Methven as a youngster and based himself in the North Island with his first winner coming at Cambridge in 1975 when he drove Pleasant Command to success. 

In the following 42 years he’s saluted 3,184 more times in New Zealand, 33 of those coming at the Group One level. 

Race Ruler, Dillon Dean, David Moss, Classical, Sovereignty, Sir Lincoln and in more recent years The Orange Agent have been top-liners to have enjoyed the services of McKendry in the sulky. 

“I’ve been able to drive some wonderful horses which helps the cause a lot, you need good horses. 

“I still really enjoying being out there, I just probably don’t chase it as much as what I used to, but you are always on the lookout for that next one.”

McKendry keeps himself busy with a small team of his own that he trains and with 115 winners next to his name that number will increase in the coming years. 

Matt Markham

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