With bags packed (bless you, Sarah) and head distinctly in departure mode, what better way to spend a waiting-to-go day than … at the races.
Tuesday trotting is a new thing in New Zealand, introduced just this year to feed the ravenously hungry television-betting industry. Tuesday race-days have reduced stakes and (theoretically) reduced fields, sort of like dog racing with sulkies, and they were intended for the lesser lights of the sport and the lesser horses of ditto. Well, that was the idea. It hasn’t quite turned out like that.
Rangiora HRC was the organiser of this week’s event, which is why I was there doing my ‘meeting and greeting and congratulating’ act. Also, best-friends-Robin-and-Geraldine-Wilson had two horses in and Jan, Wendy’s sister, had brought Chrissie all the way down from Nelson. She’d run at the previous week’s event and finished a splendid second.
Well, what a grand day it was! I had some really delightful people to meet and greet (hello the Wakelin family, Mrs Strachan et al), the Wilsons' pair nailed up a first ('His Honour' aka Tony) and a second (my old friend 'Gridlock' aka Lockie) and I also ended up presenting the trophy and the traditional winner’s bit of a tipple to my Mum’s friend, Barbara, as well. I'm not sure who was the more shocked at our unforseen meeting, she or I!
And Chrissie? Well, Chrissie was in the last race. And on the turn she was in last place. Here’s the photo of the finish. That’s her at the very top (ie way out wide), almost – but not quite -- getting up to win. Right under my nose!
And who beat her? Which lesser light? Just a representative of the ritziest and starriest stable in the whole of New Zealand. Well, if you have to get beat, even on a Tuesday …
So bravo, Chrissie, and bravo Jan who now has the remarkable record of driving in four races at Addington, the HQ of NZ harness racing, for one win and two seconds.
And now, off for a jolly supper at the local resto, and then it's time to get that head of mine back into departure mode...