Top horse owners, trainers and breeders celebrated at awards

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The connections of pacer Taittinger Rose had plenty to celebrate at the Nelson Owners, Trainers and Breeders Association annual awards at Nelson Suburban Club on Saturday.

Taittinger Rose was named Horse of the Year after recording three wins, all at Manawatu, for Richmond trainer Ian Thomas. Ian was named Trainer of the Year, while Taittinger Rose’s owners, Marie and Ted Steele, Darryl and Kath Eginton and Sue and Nicole Thomas were named Owners of the Year.

Dave Neale and Kevin Sturgeon’s Major Patron won the Joe Hill Memorial Cup, Tookie Inwood’s Tarn won the Peter Malone Memorial Cup, Bishop Brian’s win at the Nelson Harness Racing Club’s summer meeting was named Best Run at Richmond Park while the Unsung Hero Award went to Roger Ferguson.

Sue, who is also the association’s president, says the awards celebrated a good season by Nelson trainers who recorded 11 wins, 10 seconds and 11 thirds during 2014-2015.

“When you consider the small number of trainers and horses, this is a huge effort from a small club like ours,” Sue says. “It’s proof that we can foot it with the big boys.

“I personally feel it just reinforces to the industry that the small clubs like ours are the backbone of harness racing and can be competitive despite their limitations”.

Harness Racing New Zealand’s race manager, Darrin Williams, was guest speaker at the awards.