Motukarara going green for St Paddy

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

With a surname like his, Maurice McDermott’s partial to a St Patrick’s day celebration and on Sunday Motukarara will embrace all things green.

When McDermott, a life member of the Banks Peninsula Trotting Club, realised their March race meeting just happened to be on March 17 – the same day the world celebrates St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland – it got him thinking.

“I just thought we are racing St Paddy’s day on the grass at the Mot so why wouldn’t we do something different,” says McDermott, whose distant ancestors hail from Galway.

“I’ve never been there (Ireland) but it’s on the bucket list,” McDermott says, “and I certainly don’t need too many excuses to drink a pint of Guinness!”

And the idea he came up with?

“To have a race where all the drivers are dressed in green.”

That race will be the Lake Kaniere Sports Club Mobile Pace for the Junior Drivers, where all 14 drivers in the race will be dressed in lime, emerald, mint and everything in between.

“We are very grateful to the trainers and connections to allow their horses to run in different sets of colours,” says McDermott.

While some trainers (Bob Butt and Barry Ward for instance) have green in their own colours the majority do not. And that prompted some left field thinking.

Dare Devil, for instance, will not race in trainer Hayden Cullen’s usual colours but in the lime green of the late Ian Dobson of Christian Cullen fame while Razors Edge will be in Lindsey Blakemore’s old colours. They have been re-registered specially for the day. Blakemore is the club’s patron and is a life member along with Razors Edge’s owner Jim Geddes.

And the whole country will be represented.

“We have Ray Green’s colours from up north for Hey Tonight and then Wayne Adams (Judine) and Kirk Larsen’s from down south (Bettor Lover) and Nigel Armstrong’s horse Fergalicious will be decked out in Woodlands Stud’s colours,” says McDermott.

“It should be quite the spectacle.”

McDermott, who played his rugby for Marist back in the day, will have his own horse in the race with Flyaway racing in the hoops of the Marist club’s Green Machine Racing Syndicate. The horse is trained and co-raced by his brother John McDermott while Franco Humbie will wear Greg Prendergast’s colours, complete with Shamrocks!

While McDermott thinks the day will be a bit of fun he realises it might be challenging for one person in particular.

“The poor commentator .. getting the calls right!”

“But I’ve spoken to Andy McCook who’s calling on the day and he seems happy enough and hopefully he’ll have a bit of fun with it too.”

The day will also feature (backwards) kids running races, mystery TAB Paddy packs, a best dressed competition, some Guinness and Baileys giveaways, some bags of spuds, and a special Waihora Rugby Club raffle with a first prize of $5000.