All Blacks, Super players join syndicate

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
Highlanders stars Ben Smith and Aaron Smith dived headfirst into harness racing ownership at the national yearling sales on Wednesday.

The Smiths and fellow All Black Jordie Barrett are members of a syndicate for which Canterbury trainer Mitchell Kerr secured a Bettor's Delight filly.

The 40-strong syndicate has James Lentjes, Hayden Parker, Joe Wheeler, Rob Thomson, Gareth Evans, Tom Franklin, Richard Buckman, Ash Dixon, Craig Miller and Marty Banks in its membership.

Barrett and Banks are among the first-time owners in the group, which also includes non sporting stars.

Banks is known as a keen follower of racing, and said it was a natural progression for him get involved with horse ownership.

"I love the thrill of backing a winner, so I can imagine owning one will be even better.

"And it's a good bunch of lads together to paint the town red, once we do just that as well."

Black Caps bowler Matt Henry and Canterbury Wizards captain Cole McConchie are also syndicate members.

The filly the group will race is from the family of prolific winners Adore Me and Dream About Me.

Kerr said he felt he had picked up a bargain when he secured the Bettor's Delight-Wat A Woman filly for $45,000.

"I thought we were very lucky to get her at the price we did.

"She was a standout; had the pedigree on the page and I loved how she looked.

"She just had everything going for her.

"I had marked out three for the boys and when she was there within the budget. It was a bit of a no-brainer."

Kerr said he hopes his group of sports stars will raise harness racing's profile.

"Doing such a big syndicate was daunting to start off with.

"It was a big process that took a lot of time and effort.

"But I think the industry needs help and with guys like this, and word of mouth, it should be a real boost.

"The whole idea of buying a filly is that hopefully most of them stay in and breed her after she's finished racing, too.

"I'm very proud that we've pulled it together like we have." - Additional reporting: NZ Harness News

 

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