Day At The Track

First winner for Crawford

09:08 AM 20 Feb 2017 NZDT
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Genevieve Crawford's after winning at Gore
Photo - Bruce Stewart

It was more than a hometown win when aged gelding Jerry Fitz won at Gore today.

Jerry Fitz raced in his early days for local harness racing trainer Ross Wilson who bred the gelding. But today he lined up for Geoff and Jude Knight and provided their junior reinsperson Genevieve Crawford with her first winning drive.

After winning for Wilson as a two year old back in 2011 the Live Or Die gelding has raced every season from two to eight and won at every age.

In the latter years he's been a regular in claiming races and at the end of that he was supposed to have been rehomed by Crawford.  However he's been given a reprieve by a syndicate of owners which includes Crawford's parents.

And to complete this great story the race Jerry Fitz won today was sponsored by Ross Wilson, who not only bred the gelding but trained and raced him to win five races. 

The Knights have had him for the majority of the latter part of his career and they were thrilled with today's win. 

"Ross has been great. He said "you guys just take him and do what you like." He's a real fun horse. He's like a three year old coming up. He's now eight and is as sound as a bell and it's great for Minnie (Genevieve's nick name)," said Geoff after the win. 

The horse has had a number of owners over the years and is currently ownded by the Gabriels Gold Syndicate from Lawerence which is run by Genevieve's parents Jimmy and Kerren Crawford.

Genevieve has been working for the Knights off and on for four years; the last three fulltime. 

"She's a great girl who comes from a farming background and horses are a passion in her life. She's rehomed over a 100 horses. She's been with us since she was a school kid. She helped us in the school holidays and had a small stint with Gavin Smith. We then had an opportunity to take her on full time and she's become a lot more like a family member than an employee. King Kone is a horse we bought for her to give her practice, and her driving has just got better and better." 

Crawford who was having her thirty third race day drive today was also rapt to gain her first winner.

Jerry Fitz (blue and yellow colours) on the inside winning at Gore      - Photo Bruce Stewart.

"It's quite cool to win on Jerry because we've had him for a while. It's his twelfth win and my first. Geoff drove him in his last workout before today but normally I drive him and have the most to do with him. He does what he likes most of the time and deserves to I guess," she said.

Crawford is not only a junior driver but her passion extends to rehoming standardbreds that have either not made it as racehorses or have reached the end of their careers. 

"I probably rehome about thirty horses a year. The best one I've rehomed is King Kenny who was trained by Graeme Anderson. Jerry was actually given to us to rehome but we thought "we're give him one last go." As long as they (the horses) can come home to the South Otago farm I'll carry on doing it." 

And to make this story even more complete Ross Wilson had ten dollars each way on his old mate Jerry Fitz which more than covered his sponsorship of the race. Jerry Fitz paid $42.70 to win.


Bruce Stewart
Southland Harness Racing

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