The last time the Louisson Handicap was run it was 1984 - David Lange's Labour Party had just come into power, Bob Marley's One Love was the number single and Nomads were the next big thing in footwear.
In the 1984 and last edition of the then Louisson Handicap, Norton beat a star-studded field that included Hands Down, Derby, Our Mana, Double Cove, Borana, Hilarious Guest, Camelot and more. The race was run in August back then and heralded the start of a long slog into the New Zealand Trotting Cup. Times have now changed and when timing permits the Louisson Handicap will be run at or near the end of the ‘Road to the Cup’.
The 2012 edition of the race will be a Special Handicap so it will cater for a wider spread of horses. The stars are there; , Gold Ace, Sir Lincoln and Pembrook Benny, while some up-and-coming handicappers have their chance to test their mettle against the best with the of a 25 metre head start on the guns.
Addington Raceway Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt welcomes the return of a great old race and couldn’t be happier with the way the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup build-up has unfolded this year.
“The inception of the ‘Road to the Cup’ has been a real positive for the (New Zealand) Cup build up. It has given a strong focus to each individual race.
“This year, the way the dates fall we have the opportunity to run a good race and in keeping with developing those named races that people can relate too, we thought it ideal to call this one the Louisson in recognition of days gone by.
“It’s a logical move to give these races greater importance and build them up, thus further promoting harness racing.”
The first lead-up race next year will be known as the National Handicap, the sister race of the Louisson in days gone by. Both the Louisson and the National Handicaps were traditional New Zealand Cup lead-up back in time. They were run early in the season but still attracted strong fields, numerically and in quality.
The 2012 Louisson sees some horses arrive at the crossroads, just 11 days out from the New Zealand Trotting Cup. The race has come at the perfect time for Gold Ace and but both need to show their best before pressing on to the big race.
The 2012 Chevron Cars Direct Louisson Handicap will be run at Addington Raceway this Friday night 8.50pm.
by Andrew MORRIS