Last year began with an incident that stunned the harness racing community in this Country, when we held our breath and waited for news on Ricky May. That episode, which thankfully had a happy outcome, was the ‘preview’ to a year that most people in the World would rate as one of the worst in history.
Sadly, Ricky’s much anticipated triumphant return to the delightful Omakau race track was washed away in rainfall that was the heaviest in the region for that time of year for over four decades, with both the track and stabling area being under water. Having a personal connection to the Club President, I know how much work and planning, for months ahead, goes into their one day in the sun (excuse the pun), and to say that Graeme Sinnamon was devastated doesn’t cover it. His mood wasn’t helped by suggestions from some officials that the meeting could be held the following day (impossible even if it hadn’t continued to rain) and even more ridiculous, that they could race the day between Roxburgh and the Wyndham meeting at Cromwell. That’s right, three days racing in a row for virtually the same pool of horses!
As Graeme put it, his Club has, in the past two seasons, had two race dates consisting of seven races, due in no way to their fault. Thankfully I understand sponsors and supporters of the Club have pledged their continued connection and surely the usually idyllic Central Otago weather will play ball in 2022.
We also have to hope that the events of 2 January in a remote part of the globe are not the prelude to more mayhem, although recent and ongoing events in the USA, the UK and Europe suggest that might be wishful thinking!
Happy new year everyone!