Racing matters: Highlights

Highlights . . .
I have reacquainted myself with my desk here in Lower Stuart St after a busy couple of weeks following the summer holiday circuit. While the drawer handles are ergonomically pleasing and the bookshelf space is ample, it's not quite as much fun as getting some sun on the face and talking to excited owners and trainers about their animals.

My highlights included:-
The look on Chauntel Kentish's face after she and partner Lawrence McCormick trained their first winner at Oamaru on Tuesday. She told me she was still shaking as we walked back to the stables. I haven't trained a horse and probably never will, as I lack the ringcraft, but I can imagine it's a pretty good feeling.

. . . from the . . .

-The outstanding beef and bacon burger at the Cromwell races. You can keep your McDonald's and Burger King when a burger like that is dished up for just $5.

- The sombre mood at Waikouaiti on New Year's Day as the jockeys thought about the tragedy that had befallen Ashlee Mundy before pulling out typically professional performances on the track.

. . . holiday races

-The nerves around the inquiry room at Roxburgh, as the JCA deliberated as to whether Matthew Williamson had breached the push-out rule on Roxburgh's horse, Pembrook's Delight. I was shown the vision of the incident from the various angles, and the right decision was made, although I hate to think how loud the boos would have been if she was disqualified. And it would have been a good thing the grandstand is made out of concrete.

-Those stoic members of the crowd who stayed on at the Omakau harness meeting on January 2 despite awful weather and those equally stoic people who turned up for the gallops the next day, battling mud and inclement weather. Not quite the hazy memories that I have of glorious dry days from Omakau meetings in the mid-1990s . . . my cheap shoes battled on, but it might be time to invest in some gumboots.

The Ace
I had a shocker last week, so our perceptive racing sub-editor Jane Davidson steps up this week. She likes Captain Kirk (Marton JC, Saturday, Race 7). He was a last-start winner on the Awapuni track over 1200m on December 22 and should handle the extra 200m in distance today.

- matt.smith@odt.co.nz