The corner with Garry Chittick

Hi you five! What do you know, it’s Christmas. Does that make a great deal of difference to you? Of course it does, it is a yardstick for the year, a time that confirms we have nearly completed another year, hopefully well, with fresh memories of our racing results. As always, winners are grinners, the rest of us look to the new year hoping for an encouraging result to keep us racing the next two-year-old.

I was quoted what appeared to be a foundation mare many years ago, when Mary and I first started. I didn’t buy her. I suddenly realised if Fairdale were selling, why? More importantly, Gerald’s mother Mrs Fell took Mary home, sat her down with a fresh cup of tea and asked, “Do you really know what you getting yourself into? You will spend your life looking forward to next year, wishing your life away.” 

We often talk about that very sage advice. Was she right? Definitely! But then I would imagine non-racing people also wish and hope – if not, then I feel for them.

I have to imagine how they feel because this all-consuming passion of ours has been centrepiece of our wishes and hopes for so long. But aren’t we lucky. Yes, it’s frustrating when the two-year-old goes shinsore, the three-year-old filly hasn’t worked out what’s going to happen to her if she doesn’t run a bit faster, the sire we had great expectations for is going to serve his career out somewhere on the West Coast…still, Mrs Fell you are right, we have had more than our share of joy but still looking forward to next year. 

We have witnessed our customary quota of outstanding race results. I am entitled to be biased, but the 2000 and 1000 Guineas success of the offspring of our mate Savabeel, is quite remarkable. No chance of Savvy heading to the Coast. Then our wish list for up-and-coming sires may be on the way to be fulfilled with Tivaci’s results.

The news that Jamie Richards has secured a training licence in Hong Kong is certainly more than he would have dreamed of when joining Te Akau. At his age, this will be a dramatic change. He will do well, but we are losing one of NZ ‘s future industry leaders. Good luck to him. 

His good fortune will open the door for other aspiring trainers to dream big knowing there is a pot of gold out there. Watching the year, one would have to be impressed with the young trainers keen to make their mark. The regretful point is they all have one eye on prize, not here. To have a chance of keeping them here, we need the proverbial shot in the arm. See Mrs Fell, we are really wishing for something better.

Christmas racing I really enjoyed, the interaction with all of us with a common passion you can’t put a price on. This year, well it’s unlike anything we have been confronted with, however by the skin of our teeth we are still racing, so many horses will get their chance to put their foot in the till. We will be couch watchers and share the success of the five of you. 

A couple of you have identified yourself – so Denny, Denise, Wally, Gerald, Dame Lowell, good luck with your dreams. They will be the same as mine, just different to forty years ago.

She was right, Gerald’s mother, but what would you sooner wish when you snap the Xmas cracker. Have a good one. 

Garry and Mary

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