Twenty Questions with Greg Crawford

Tuesday July 20, 2015

Greg Crawford has an interest in 16 harness horses through syndicates, and became hooked on harness racing in 1972 after winning some money on a bet at the Oamaru races.

1)You were appointed the Harness Racing Owners’ representative

on the HRNZ Board of Directors. How did that come about?

1) I was asked to stand which I consider to be a great honour and privilage.
I want to the best that I  can.

2)What made you interested in becoming involved at that level?

2) Over the years I have been treasurer of many organisations.  In actual
fact I am still Treasurer of some organisations now. I have been on many
boards in the past and I am currently a Life Member of Sockburn Park Swimming
Club,  Riccarton Jaycees, and Canterbury West Coast Swimming Centre. I am very
proud to have received these three accolades.

3)What do you do for a living?

3)I work in the office for Michael House at Roydon Lodge, at Templeton in
Christchurch.
4)What is your involvement as an owner, and what most appeals to you about harness racing?

4) I have an interest in about 16 horses through syndicates of which I am
the Treasurer of  5 syndicates. What appeals to me most about harness racing is a difficult question as I like both codes and do watch the major thoroughbred races eg Melbourne Cup. I am not involved in the thoroughbred code like I am with standardbreds. What appeals the most, I would have to say is that  it is cheaper to race  or breed a standardbred  compared to a thoroughbred.

5)How many horses do you have an interest in?

5) About 16 horses.

6) Do you have a favourite and if so who and why?

6) My Favourite is a trotter by the mighty Sundon  called Sol Invictus who
has won 7 races with hopefully more  to  come. The syndicate bred this horse
and he was really our first horse.


7) Are any other members of your family interested in harness racing now (or

in the past)?

7) I am very fortunate that my wife Pauline is also very interested in  the
horses, Trackside goes all weekend at home and we both attend many race
meetings.

8)What  is the main thing you would like to try and achieve in your new
position?

8) The main thing that I would like to see achieved is for me to do the best
I can and enjoy the time. Racing is such a great sport and you get to meet
many different people  and make friends. I really enjoy the fellowship.


9)In your view what are  the key problems facing harness racing at the
moment?

9)In my opinion the key problem facing harness racing at present is low stakes
and the decling number of horses being bred.


10) Do you have any thoughts on how these problems might be fixed?

10) This is a difficult question which I am sure that all participants are
trying to address. The industry has to change to survive.
11)In your view what are the key positives that attract people to harness
racing?

11) Good stakes and fast horses. Look at what Black
Caviar has done for the thoroughbred code.

12) What attracted you to harness racing?

12) My first job was with the Bank of New Zealand in Waimate. When I joined
in 1972 the first week I was there thay said to me come on we are away to
the  Oamaru races on the Saturday. I went along and won some money  and was
hooked. Prior to this my uncle Ivan Simmonds raced a  thoroughbred called
Strad mainly on the West Coast  but the horse did win on the east side a few
times. I used to follow his races much to my mother’s disgust  as she did not
like me betting. Whilst in the Bank  Phil James, who used to run the tote for
the coast meeting and Waimate, was in the Bank one day and asked if any of
the staff were prepared  to work on race days.  I put my hand up and I
worked for him for quite some time  in the bank part of the tote. Even when
I transferred to Methven I still used to go back to work at the Waimate
races. An interesting sideline. Before my father married he used to board in
the Royal Hotel at Waimate and Phil’s father used to do the tote in those
days and developed  a good friendship with my father. Dad was the only
person allowed to drive any of Phil’s father’s trucks if required.
It was not until much latter that I developed an interest in horse ownership
and eventually I did get into a syndicate and then a few friends decided we
would form our own syndicates and I have had no regrets since.  The first
syndicate was to be in a thoroughbred called Slinky Planet. I was asked on a
Tuesday  to join and because the horse was racing the following Saturday I
had to make a decision there and then but I wanted to discuss with Pauline
first and get her agreement  and  if we signed the following day it would
have been too late.  I did not sign on the Tuesday and this horse went to open
class. However I did eventually get into a thoroughbred syndicate of which I
was Treasurer but unfortunately this horse never made it to the races.
13)Are you are regular racegoer or do you prefer to watch the racing at
home?

13)  I am a very regular racegoer and do watch the racing at home on
Trackside.

14)What needs to be done to attract more people to race meetings?

14)  A difficult question. It would be nice to see the crowds back at the
races like in the past. Maybe to get people the important thing is to make
it attractive for people to attend, a horse like Black Caviar would help.
However I do think that certain meetings are attracting people especially
over any holiday period.

15)What is your favourite track, and why?

15 ) Two tracks, Addington and Methven.  Why, because the facilities at Addington are
first class, and at Methven because it is uphill from that last bend to the winning post and
makes a horse a good stayer. Methven is a very difficult track to run arround and I have done this a few times in the past when I was at Methven

16)What is your favourite club and why?

16) Favourite club would have to be Addington  because of the facilities and the close proximity to my home.

17)Do you have any other interests outside harness racing? If so what are
they?

17) Golf is an interest, stamp and card collecting.

18) What is your favourite all-time trotter and favourite all-time pacer?

18 Favourite all-time trotter I am going to be biased and say Sol Invictus, and all-time pacer  Terror To Love.

19)What can be done to promote harness racing better?

19) Be proactive and positive.

20)What is one thing about you that people might not know?

20)  I am a very big stamp and card  collector. Cards being the old Weetbix and cigarette cards This is a really big hobby and  I am about 2 years behind doing everything I want to do with my collections and cards.Ω

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