Bigger not always better

Sue Veint, of Wanaka, on Drum Major at the Glenorchy Races in 2007.  The 14-year-old Clydesdale...
Sue Veint, of Wanaka, on Drum Major at the Glenorchy Races in 2007. The 14-year-old Clydesdale will line up again tomorrow in an effort to finally break his losing streak. Photos from ODT files.
The horse in action in 2008.
The horse in action in 2008.

The race track has been mowed, the horses primed, the equalisator is ready and the mercury is predicted to hit 29degC today during the 51st annual Glenorchy Races.

Up to 60 horses were expected to turn out for one of the most competitive - and social - events on the Glenorchy calendar, included among them one horse which, despite competing for many years, is yet to win a race.

Drum Major, a 14-year-old purebred Clydesdale which stands at 18 hands high, was born in Clyde, but taken on by Dart Stables 10 years ago.

A company spokeswoman said the horse, affectionately known as ''Drum'', was ''like a Rolls Royce to ride'' and, despite his abysmal winning record, was undoubtedly a crowd favourite.

''He's not the speediest of horses, so he hasn't won anything, [but] he does love to go out and meet all the crowd.''

Ten races will be run during the event, including the double banking race - Drum Major's specialty - at the Glenorchy Recreation Grounds from 11am. Anyone with a horse could register to race, the only rule being riders must wear a helmet.

Races secretary/treasurer Anne Percy, of Glenorchy, said the forecast for today was ''finally looking great''.

Despite heavy rain in the area earlier this week, the race track ''should be quite safe now''.

''It's almost better than when it's too dry.

''We're hoping that people will be looking for something to do, having [had] cabin fever.''

Mrs Percy said those who wanted to make a day of the Glenorchy fundraiser - proceeds from the event are to be allocated to a community group during the year - could set up a free campsite around the race track. It was the only day of the year camping was permitted at the site, she said.

Following the final race and prizegiving, live music from Craig Adams and Cruise Control would keep race-goers entertained into the evening.

''We had a band last year [at the recreation ground] for the first time and it was so popular we decided to do it again,'' she said.

''We're having [them] on the ground and that will begin as soon as the last race is over, which may be 5.30pm or 6pm ... but we don't really run to a timetable.''



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