Minister recalls ‘thrilling’ nights at track

Grant Robertson.
Racing Minister Grant Robertson. Photo: ODT files
Minister for Racing Grant Robertson used to pester his father to take him to the "night trots" at Dunedin’s Forbury Park.

"I grew up just round the road in Pretoria Ave and when I was very young my father would take me there," Mr Robertson said.

"The combination of the lights, the thunderous noise of the horses and the dramatic reactions of the crowd were thrilling to me."

His father would bet a dollar each way on No 7 and No 9 - "not especially scientific, but it added to the excitement".

"In later years, as a student, I would from time to time convince friends and flatmates to ‘make a night of it at Forbury’."

Mr Robertson flatted one year with someone else who had an interest in horses and they tried to come up with a prediction system for racing.

"It seemed to mainly involve me heading to Forbury Park to watch midweek trials in the freezing cold."

It was not a great success, but he witnessed hard work put in by trainers, drivers and horses.

"It’s a sad day to see the end, but I know there is a commitment from the club to keep going in other ways and I hope the name of this club, with such a rich history and legacy, will continue."

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