For harness racing fans and followers it would come as no surprise to see the surname Hunter attached to the winning results of a Southland meeting. At the Gore Harness Racing Club's meeting held today (Sunday) it was no different, but it may have surprised many to see the first name wasn't Hamish or Peter, but their brother and ex-pat Southlander Henderson.
Henderson relocated to North Canterbury with his wife Shelley and their two children eight years ago.
Not that Henderson is any stranger to success, having trained and driven Trusty Scot to win the 1978 New Zealand Cup as well as taking his last good horse, Onedin Legacy (12 wins), through to a high-class assessment.
It's just that the man doesn't make that many trips to the deep South to race horses these days. Why would you, he and Shelley are well established in their Fernside lifestyle block from where they can enjoy the fruits of North Canterbury's relaxed environment, tinkering with the odd horse and running a few cattle, aided by daughter Charlotte who also holds a full-time position with HRNZ. But there's an old saying that goes, "have horse, will travel," and all the better when it's a good one. Arnoux is that horse and showed again today that he's not a bad nag to have around.
The son ofand Margaux H, bred by the Hunters, was simply too classy for the opposition in the Caduceus Club Of Southland Four Year Old Stakes, running away to win by two lengths after leading mostly throughout for his trainer. The win was the son of 's seventh in 32 starts and took his earning past the $50,000 mark, it was also achieved in a 1.59 mile-rate, Arnoux paralysing his victims with a 56.9 last half and a 27.9 final quarter. The former Edendale farmer was tonight enjoying the sweet taste of success in a part of the country synonymous for great hospitality.
"He was going to head home tonight but decided to stay and come back in the morning," says wife Shelley. "It's been a while since he visited his Mum as well, so he can do that while he's down there." With tough opposition regularly confronting Arnoux in Canterbury, the Hunters decided it may be time to cast the net a little further, a $15,000 age group race fitting the bill perfectly. "He's been racing against some really good opposition up here, so we thought we'd go South and see if it was any easier. The second line draw suited him because he can get quite keen off the gate, and he goes particularly well around the smaller tracks," Mrs Hunter said.
"He is a speedy wee horse and loves being in front, Henderson put a running over-check on him today and it seemed to work well, he can tend to over-race but didn't seem too bad today," she said. The Hunters have a number of youngsters byhaving purchased a breeding share in the former superstar. "We have a full-brother to Arnoux but he is totally different. Margaux H is quite a shy breeder and struggles to stay in foal, but we have a positive test to this season, and we've also got a sister to Arnoux who is in foal to ."
Shelley Hunter is a sister to Peter Bagrie who trained Code Red to win the feature race at the Reefton meeting today.
Top Sire:3 wins.
Top Trainer: 10 trainers from 10 races.
Top Driver: Clark Barron 3 wins.
Top Junior Driver: Regan Todd 1 win.
Results from the Gore Harness Racing Club's meeting held today (Sunday) were:
Race 1: The Lindsay Veint trained FLORRIE BENDIX () Brad Morris.
Race 2: The Jim Morgan trained RIPALONG () Clark Barron.
Race 3: The Owen Lawrence trained ARANCIA () Carol Graham.
Race 4: The Gay McClymont trained LARIX () Nathan Williamson.
Race 5: The Wayne Adams trained DONTHAVTIME () Brent Barclay.
Race 6: The Clark Barron trained and driven ELECTRIC OLLIE ().
Race 7: The Henderson Hunter trained and driven ARNOUX ().
Race 8: The Dean Taylor trained RIVER BLACK () Mark Jones.
Race 9: The Mark Jones trained WESTERN FLARE () Regan Todd.
Race 10: The Ron Barron trained NOTABADEXCUSE () Clark Barron.