Wakatipu high country farmer Stu Percy can’t wait to take on his daughters at this weekend’s Glenorchy Races.
Percy, who manages Greenstone-Elfin Bay Station at the top of Lake Wakatipu, will be taking one of his farm-bred hacks down to the Glenorchy Recreation Ground tomorrow for a gallop with his daughters Grace, 16, and Michelle, 23.
Percy is a Glenorchy Races stalwart – he’s been pounding the paddock with his farm-mustering horses annually for about 30 years.
“I’ve always really supported it, more than anything – just taken horses and ridden in it. I still really enjoy it,” he says.
“I’ve always enjoyed horses and a good blat round the track is just good fun.”
Percy’s wife Anne also used to race – “but she’s retired now”.
Stu enjoys racing against his daughters, who are talented riders. Grace, who does show jumping, last year won
the most successful rider for the day by scoring the most points.
“It’s hard racing against them because they take the fast horses to the track,” Percy says.
“But I’ve got experience.
“Sometimes I beat them and sometimes they beat me, it’s just the way it goes.”
Organisers are expecting another good turn-out for the 51st annual races – which aren’t your typical gallop sprints.
The Glenorchy Races consist of 10 races and include a saddling race, where riders gallop one length of the track bareback, saddle up and then charge back to where they started.
There’s also a double-banking race, where riders race to pick up another passenger before galloping back, plus a walk, trot, gallop race, a relay race, a quarter-mile sprint, a stockman’s race and barrel-racing.
It can be dangerous and only experienced riders take part.
The community fundraising event is run by the Lakeside Rugby Club, which distributes thousands of dollars raised from the races to the Glenorchy community each year.
Rugby club president Pete Reid says the track should be in good condition with recent rain.
“It’s a great community day,” Reid says.
Radio jocks reuniting for GY’s big day out at track
Local radio personalities Craig “Ferg” Ferguson (far left) and Grant Stewart (left) reunite at the racetrack in Glenorchy this weekend.
The pair commentated at the popular annual race day each year for 10 years but haven’t been able to attend together for the past three due to other community commitments.
“We are really looking forward to it,” says Stewart, who used to share a breakfast radio slot with Ferguson on Q92, before Ferguson moved to Classic Hits.
“We have made a lot of friends out there and we know most of the people who attend. It’s a great community day and it’s all for a good cause.”