One of the great names in New Zealand harness racing was back in the winner’s circle after a season’s absence at Alexandra Park on Tuesday (Dec 10).
The surname Wolfenden appeared on the winner’s sheet when Flanyattice scored in the seventh race – the $5,000 Kumeu/Manukau Graduation Pace.
It was 78-year-old Peter and Glen’s (51) first training win since the 2011-2012 season.
It was also the father and son’s first victory since relocating from Drury to Pukekohe last year. They had been at their Bremner Road farm in Drury for 30 years.
When the property sold Glen Wolfenden did something he had always wanted to do – travel.
“It was time for a break. I’d been driving since the mid-1980s and training since 2006. My partner and I went to a lot of places in Europe and Dubai. We went all around Italy. That was enjoyable,” Wolfenden said.
The Wolfendens had just one starter to races last year for a second.
Flanyattice provided them with their first win in three starters this year.
“Although I needed the break, it actually feels good to be back. It was especially good to be back winning again. We are working about four or five and we have a few promising young ones,” Wolfenden said.
“Yes, I still would like to win a Group race,” he said.
Peter Wolfenden (MBE), is the man who drove champion pacer and New Zealand great, Cardigan Bay. He won 14 driving premierships, including eight consecutive titles from 1974, and twice won the Australasian Drivers Championship.
‘Wolfie’ represented New Zealand seven times in the World Drivers Championship, placing second in 1977 and third in 1971.
He won 1,762 races in the sulky and has trained more than 800 winners.
These days Wolfenden senior operates in a largely advisory role.
“Dad seldom gets down to the stable these days but he’s still very interested. We all live in Pukekohe. We’ve invested a bit of money into the game. I’ve got a bit of time for two young trotters in particular,” said Wolfenden.
“Three-year-old Cheval Rapide (Love You – Natural Pearl) is a promising colt. I also like Ashton Hall, a 2-year-old Angus Hall – Natural Glow colt,” he added.
Wolfenden was delighted that Flanyattice had finally triumphed for his loyal owners – Wayne Flanagan, R.D. Price, and P.C. Wyatt.
“Wayne has been a client of ours for 25 years and has had some good horses over the years like Arawa Jack. I’m pleased for him because it was him who wanted me to persevere with the horse after he was off the scene for 12 months with a bad virus.
“The way he went on Tuesday I’d say he’s a chance again in next Tuesday’s final.
Flanyattice, a 5-year-old Julius Caesar – Delightful Jaccka entire, has now raced 20 times since July 2011 for one win and four seconds.
He was driven by Wolfenden and was the fourth favourite of 11, paying $7.60 to win.
For the record Wolfenden’s brother Ross is New Zealand’s most successful reinsman having won 5,713 races and more than $51.7 million in purses in the United States.
By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)