Star Ruler Gets His Win

Bruce Stewart

Star Ruler finally got his maiden win at Gore today and co-trainer Geoff Knight was happy about that.

The most consistent non-win horse running round in the south, held on to beat Futura Easton by three quarters of a length for Knight, his wife and co-trainer Jude, and the Corner Shop Syndicate.

It was a winning ‘double’ as the syndicate is headed by race sponsor Brian Pitcher; the Gore representative for AON Insurance.

“We’ve made him the patron of the syndicate because he’s only ever missed one of his horses’ races,” said Geoff.

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Co-trainer Geoff Knight watching the mobile dispatch with Star Ruler second on the outside and heading to the front - Photo Bruce Stewart.

  

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Hanging on to beat Futura Easton - Photo Bruce Stewart 

  

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Enjoying the win with follow trainer Kirsty Adams - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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  Enjoying the moment with sponsor and owner Brian Pitcher - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Coming back to scale - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

Today was the Washington VC gelding's twenty third start and before today’s win he’d recorded six seconds and five thirds.

 

“He’s a great syndicate horse because he’s run a lot of places and today in a $10,000 maiden he’s got the job done. I’m rapt for the horse because he’s finally won a race.”

Star Ruler was driven by Canterbury driver Tim Williams.

“Really grateful to Tim because he’s stuck with him all the way through. He liked him because he always tries.”

Over the years the Knights have been great advocates of syndicate racing and the Corner Shop Syndicate is one of their oldest groups.

“Central Courage Syndicate is the oldest and the Corner Shop Syndicate is the second oldest. They’ve probably been with us for fourteen years. It was called the Corner Shop Syndicate because in Oturehua near Poolburn there’s a new pub that started up. It used to be the old Poolburn Pub and the boys used to say 'let’s go down to the corner shop for a beer on Friday night.”

The syndicate have raced a number of horses including Lionels Meddle which won four races for the group and Valhalla which won two races and was placed numerous times.

“We’ll look for a junior driver’s race next. He loves the grass so maybe we’ll go to Oamaru while he’s in the zone because the one win horses get preference up there.”

After years of racing a big team the Knights are looking to scale down their Roxburgh operation to concentrate on race horses rather than young stock.

“We’ve got the RD 1 and RD 2 mail runs now so we’ve scaled down and we're only going to work ten to twelve horses. A lot of the younger horses will go south to Nathan Williamson and Craig Ferguson for their early education and some of them may even stay there. We’re just at a time in our lives where we want to spend time with our grandkids and do a few more trips. Working racehorses is quite easy but young ones are a big commitment. Unless you give them a 100% the horses (young ones) need to be somewhere else.”

They have five grandchildren – four in New Zealand and one overseas.

“We’re heading to Perth in March for my sixtieth birthday. We’re all going to catch up with my brother over there and my sister’s coming over too.”

Geoff has always been a forward thinker when it comes to the harness industry and he says the wider harness family needs to help boost the diminishing horse population.

“We’re at the crossroads really. Most of the owners that are still in the industry are still breeding but I reckon if every trainer bred one horse it would make a huge difference.”

Today’s stake was $10,000 for non-win horses after Southern Harness announced last week that all maiden races were going to carry that stake level.

“It’s unbelievable. Southern Harness should be really commended because they’re putting the industry money back into the industry. There’s a few clubs that aren’t.”

As a footnote one of the Corner Dairy Syndicate members was course photographer Wayne Huddleston. For this race he had to get Kirsty Adams to take the winning photo.

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Wayne Huddleston, Geoff Knight, Jude Knight, Tim Williams and Brian Pitcher - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

Meanwhile Lady Zara capped off a consistent formline when she came down the middle of the track to win the Hokonui Honda Trot for Winton trainer/driver Alister Kyle.

The Pegasus Spur four year old had recorded two thirds prior to today’s race and the win was her first in eight starts.

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Lady Zara getting a well deserved win for trainer Alister Kyle - Photo Bruce Stewart.

 

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Winning connections - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

Ellie Barron did the right thing for the Teal Pants Campaign when she won the Gore Town and Country Club Trot on Nottingham K Two.

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 Nottingham K Two on the inside winning for Ellie Barron - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

Barron is the local Ambassador for the Teal Pants Campaign.

The win means Harness Racing New Zealand ($200), Woodlands Stud ($100), Gore HRC ($100) and Southern Harness ($100) donate money to the Australian New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group for help with research into ovarian cancer.

Later in the day other Teal drivers Sarah O’Reilly (Bigandme), Kim Butt (Sheeza Sport) and Sheree Tomlinson (Hurricane Banner), added to the fundraiser. A great day for the cause.

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Another Teal win - Bigandme winning for Sarah O'Reilly - Photo Bruce Stewart 

 

  

 

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