For the love of the horse

1 Aug 2023
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

At the very heart of our industry is a raft of participants whose main motivation is simply the love of the horse.

When viewed dispassionately, the commitment expected by those in the industry is simply not an appealing career prospect. The early hours, long days and lack of free weekends and public holidays doesn’t present a compelling picture. It can be a challenging job yet without these people whose alarms go off when others are heading to bed, the industry as we know it would cease to function.

The ‘unsung heroes’ of the track, the caregivers and the faces behind the scenes – the passion these individuals show is to be admired and we, here at Auckland Thoroughbred Racing, know that behind every successful thoroughbred is the commitment and care, the 3am starts, and the attention to every little detail that adds up to a trip to the winner’s circle. And it’s our goal to match the dedication shown to each racehorse with the effort we put in to providing the best possible raceday experience, for everyone oncourse.

The heartwarming stories of the dedication individuals within our industry show to our thoroughbred athletes are worth telling and more importantly, worth celebrating. So, we here at Auckland Thoroughbred Racing have a competition lined up to do just that.

Rusty Williss, NZ Country Director of Hawaiian Airlines, has been a firm supporter of Auckland Thoroughbred Racing for many years now.

“Our partnership with Auckland Thoroughbred Racing is one we here at Hawaiian Airlines values. This relationship has resulted in many racing attendees and fans getting to experience all that Hawaii and our ‘beyond USA 15 city network’ has to offer. The racing industry is one that is also close to my heart and I’ve seen first-hand the love and commitment shown by those doing the hard yards each day to ensure my thoroughbreds benefit from the very best possible care. To partner with ATR & reward one of these amazing “hard yards” individuals is special project and I’m excited to see the whole industry get behind this opportunity for one of our own”

Do you know a deserving industry participant who goes above and beyond?

Our partners, Hawaiian Airlines and the Japan Racing Association, share our admiration for those doing the hard yards in the industry and in recognition of this, we’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime trip planned for one lucky winner.

Flying Hawaiian Airlines, we want to send a special industry professional (and a friend) to Tokyo, Japan for 4 nights with the chance to experience a Group 1 raceday at Tokyo Racecourse in Feb 2024. Then, they’ll fly to Waikiki, Hawaii for 4 nights of sun, sand and relaxation – an incredible trip.

If you know someone who deserves this amazing prize, use the link below to nominate your pick. You’ll need to outline why you’re nominating the individual in question and then they’ll be in the running!

An independent panel, consisting of Daniel Nakhle, Dennis Ryan, Michelle Saba, Gina Schick, John Thompson and Russell Williss will evaluate the entries and select our winner PLUS the nominator of the winning industry participant will also receive 100,000 Hawaiian Airlines air miles so they can enjoy their own sun-filled vaccay.

Nominate your pick here

Introducing our panel…

Daniel Nakhle

Daniel is founder and principal of Byerley Park, founder of the New Zealand Equine Academy and is a former director of the Auckland Racing Club

Dennis Ryan

Founding editor and co-director of RaceForm, Dennis is one of New Zealand’s pre-eminent racing journalists. He has also held various administrative roles, most recently as the former chair and current director of the Matamata Racing Club.

Michelle Saba

Michelle is a respected racing journalist with over 40 years’ experience in the industry. An Auckland Thoroughbred Racing life member, Michelle is also a member of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association council.

Gina Schick

Founder and director of EventStars, one of New Zealand’s most prominent thoroughbred rehoming facilities. Gina is also co-owner of Windsor Park Stud.

John Thompson

Part owner and managing director of Rich Hill Stud, John is also the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association president.

Russell (Rusty) Williss

New Zealand Country Director for Hawaiian Airlines and keen racing fan and supporter. Rusty has ownership in several thoroughbreds in New Zealand and Australia.

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