Nelson Harness Racing Club patron John Trathen with Dadndave after it won the Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Cup on Sunday. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Dadndave storms home to claim Nelson Cup


Punters will be assessing the damage to their wallets after the annual Nelson Racing Festival saw a number of upsets at the weekend.

Nelson’s biggest racing festival attracts thousands to the Richmond Showgrounds.

While Christchurch enjoyed the share of victories on day one, the hometown horses came storming back on day two to take out the Nelson Cup.

Sunday saw the weekend’s iconic 2400m Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Cup race get underway just after 6.30pm.

Dadndave nosed favourite Huey Lewis by .1 of a second in a thrilling marquee event as former Nelson trainer and driver Tim Trathen claimed the win.

The three-year-old had a great run home after being in the middle of the field coming down the final straight to pocket his owner $7500.

Tim says it was a big thrill to get the win in his hometown.

“It was great for Dad [John Trathen] as a past president and a patron of the club to get his first win, he’s been around a while so couldn’t have worked out better.”

Tim says his horse ran a near perfect race.

“We got away ok, the favourite took off but being 3000m I didn’t panic too much.”

Tim was dead last with 400 meters to go.

“It wasn’t a big field but thought I better get going and he just cruised down the straight, where I asked for a bit of an effort and he dug in.”

Tim says he was aiming to place but even surprised himself to finish first.

“I thought if he got a good run away, we might push for a place but to win it was just unbelievable.”

Tim says he always tries come up for the Nelson festival as all his family are here as well as a heap of friends who all cheered him to the finish. He says Dadndave will hopefully be back in 2020 to defend their title.

“My sister’s boy also won the fashion in the field, so it was a great day for the family.”

The punters were out in droves to test their luck at the track as the annual festival got underway on Friday afternoon.

Club president Kristie Hill says it was another fantastic festival.

“We had plenty of quality horses, great crowds and fabulous weather.”

She says about 4500 punters attended over the Friday and Saturday.

Kristie says the festival was made more special with a local winner taking out the Nelson Cup.

“Tim owns the horse with our patron John who had never had a horse win before so it was a very popular result.”

While the final figures were still being tallied, Kristie says they are on track to exceed the $117,000 spent on and off course at last year’s summer races.