Day At The Track

Harness racing is missing the boat

04:20 PM 05 Feb 2016 NZDT
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Lot 61 Hicori - A typical Mach Three colt from an outstanding maternal pedigree Hicori
Lot 61 Hicori - A typical Mach Three colt from an outstanding maternal pedigree

One of the great differences that exist between the Thoroughbred Racing industry and the Harness Racing industry in New Zealand is the reluctance by the harness racing industry to use high profile New Zealanders who are heavily involved in harness racing in its promotion.

With the recently completed Thoroughbred yearling sales still fresh in the memory, one couldn't help but notice the amount of main stream TV and newspaper coverage throughout the sales that was centered around the involvement of high profile sporting celebrities.

Brendon McCullum and Richie McCaw were popping up all the time in coverage of the sales but they were just two of the many high profile people that the thoroughbred industry used to get that all important media coverage at their biggest time of the year.

Harness racing on the other hand seems almost reluctant to use high profile sports people in the same way and it is something that we should really address as in the view of Harnesslink, we are missing a great promotional opportunity here.

Mainstream media will cover our upcoming yearling sales but the amount of coverage will be guided in a lot of ways by how many human interest stories that have a wider public appeal they can report on.

Brendon McCullum has been involved in harness racing for a long time now and is one obvious route we could go down but to us the involvement of the Whitelock brothers in harness racing presents a great opportunity to present harness racing to a wider mainstream audience.

The family have been heavily involved in harness racing for generations and All Blacks such as Sam have helped out at the All Stars barn when learning about the game.

The fact that the Whitlocks are seen as such great role models for aspiring rugby players in New Zealand is a big plus in the wider community.

Braeside Lodge at Palmerston North, the boutique breeding establishment run by Braeden Whitelock and his wife Caroline is one of New Zealands most successful and they have had a presence at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale for several years now.

This year is no exception where they have four yearlings entered and all from quality mares and all by leading sires.

We found it hard to select one above the others but we took a real liking to Lot 61, Hicori after watching the video of him parading.

A son of Mach Three, Hicori is typical of that stallions progeny and you would struggle to get a better maternal pedigree page than his one.

The dam Paddy Brown 1:57.7 ($46,726) is a daughter of leading broodmare sire Christian Cullen and Hicori is just her second foal.

The second dam Braeside Star 1:59.8 $(67,225) has left six winners from eight foals including such smart horses as Braeside Derby 1:54.2 ($160,784) and Ohoka's Artsplace 1:57.9 ($94,313) while her unraced Artsplace daughter Braeside Lady has already produced the champion three year old filly O Baby 1:54.8 ($391,273)

The third dam is the champion broodmare Tuapeka Star so the pedigree page is as good as you will find in this years catalogue.

Promotion of harness racing through people like Sam Whitelock and his wider rugby family is essential for the industry if harness racing is going to attract more widespread coverage in the main stream media.

Harnesslink Media


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