Brian Anderton with mare Renee Maree and her foal, a colt
by Raise the Flag, at White Robe Lodge last week. Photo by
What started out as a look through some old memorabilia
has grown into a book on the life and times of Taieri horse
trainer and breeder Brian Anderton.
BJ, the White Robe Legacy, the Brian Anderton story,
describes the life of Anderton (76), from when he was a young
child and aspiring jockey right up to the present day,
including his entry into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame
Anderton said he did not set out to have a book written about
his life in the horse racing game but it just turned out that
''It was the girls' idea really,'' he said, referring to his
wife, Lorraine, and other women in his family.
Journalist Wally O'Hearn came down to help sort through some
clippings and old scrapbooks.
But once he got talking to Anderton, and started recording, a
book suddenly opened up in front of them both.
''He spoke to a nearly everyone about me and before we knew
it we had a book ... It brings back lots of memories and
thoughts on everything, really. It has certainly jogged the
old memory a bit.
''He has managed to capture pretty much every detail on what
I've done over my life. I suppose I could have said a lot
more about a lot more people.
''You do not set out in life to achieve certain things. All
you try to do is make a go of anything that you come
Anderton and his family have been immersed in thoroughbred
racing all of his life and they own White Robe Lodge, near
the Taieri Golf Club.
''You meet so many nice people in the racing game. And when I
read the book there are people who you remember you have been
involved with and have made such nice memories with.''
Most times a book on your life signals times are slowing down
but in Anderton's case he is showing no signs of giving the
He still has 38 horses in work, although he admits he no
longer gets up early as he used to.
Great horses that he was involved with include Kumai, which
he rode to more than 25 wins, and champion sire Noble Bijou.
Owning and working at White Robe Lodge has been a huge
pleasure for Anderton, who got into racing through his
father, Hector. He trains in partnership with his son, Shane.
O'Hearn, a Matamata journalist, said the book started out
with a set of anecdotes involving Anderton and grew from
there. He really enjoyed writing the story about a character
such as Anderton and his life came through in the story.