“All Things Harness Racing was founded in a bid to help rejuvenate the sport and encourage young people to embrace horse ownership.
It is about helping grow the industry for the long-term.”
Passionate harness racing identity Gary Preston cut his teeth as a young child at Forbury Park in Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand where, by the time he was in his late teens, his love of the horse and industry was solidified.
Now Preston, a former harness racing trainer and taxi driver, has founded All Things Harness Racing in a bid to help rejuvenate the sport and encourage young people to embrace horse ownership.
The Queenstown resident plans to buy standardbred yearlings to be syndicated and then trained and driven by some of New Zealand’s most talented young people involved in the sport.
“What I want to do is to incorporate the young trainers and drivers – those under 30 – that don’t get a well-bred horse because they don’t have the finances or the resources to be able to buy them,” Preston said.
“It is just to try and give them a bit of a lift and establish a team culture, if you like. We are looking to spread around four to six to trainers and the ones who don’t drive, we would have drivers on standby.”
Preston, who started out owning thoroughbreds before moving to harness racing in recent decades, said owning standardbreds has enabled him to make life-long friends he otherwise would not have met.
“One of the key things that I have got out of owning horses is the friendships that I have made in the industry, not just fellow owners,” he said.
“What I find interesting is the different emotions that you experience when you are involved with this industry.
“You can be on top of Everest one week and down in the gutter the next. It certainly tests you at times, but it is a heck of a lot of fun. It is enjoyable first and foremost and if you want to get more serious later on by increasing your investment, then that is great.”
Preston’s syndicates will cover a spectrum of sizes, with small partnerships involving four to six owners, as well as the larger, cost-effective syndicates involving 25 to 30 owners.
His All Things Harness Racing is about helping grow the industry for the long-term.
Preston, who has battled ill health in recent years, also sees this project as a way of giving back to a sport that has given him so much enjoyment.
“I feel that I’ve been able to establish relationships with a lot of people in the industry and, therefore, I can help newcomers who may be like me when I was in my late teens and early 20s in wanting to find a way to get involved in owning horses.
“I feel All Things Harness Racing will be a good way of being able to foster that.”