Bob, 85: Racing horses with Lincoln Farms is just the Best
Eighty five-year-old Bob Best is having the time of his life thanks to a promise he made to his dying wife Joyce.
Best is one of 40 people who race last night’s Cambridge winner Trojan Banner, the biggest of Lincoln Farms’ special partnerships.
The first to visit the horse at the stables this morning to give him a pat, Best became involved only on the insistence of his wife before she lost her battle with cancer.
“Before Joyce died she said make sure you get a share in a horse.’’
Best, who once trained a few horses himself, admits the enjoyment of ownership has helped him move on with his life - “we were married for around 60 years so it’s taken a while to get over it.’’
And with small shares now also in smart two-year-old Double Or Nothing and classy three-year-old Make Way, who is about to start an Australian career, Best is really making hay.
“It’s the best deal in town,’’ says Best. “I can’t imagine why anyone would go anywhere else.
“Lincoln Farms looks after you so well and it’s so affordable.’’
Best has always been close to horses. He had his first pony at 10 and used to ride it to school.
In his teens he wanted to become a jockey - “my great grandfather had gallopers.’’
And between 1985 and 1995 he, along with his son Robert, trained a small team at Ararimu, recording a very respectable 11 winners and 17 placegetters from only 86 starters. In his final season he had four winners, two with his best horse Awesome Dude who won six of his 15 starts. Uncannily Lincoln Farms raced a horse by the same name who won on debut in May, 2016.
“At one stage we were looking after 70 horses on the place,’’ says Best. “We put a track in on the farm and also a pool and used to swim horses for Wolfie (master horseman Peter Wolfenden).’’
At the other end of the spectrum in the Trojan Banner partnership is a group of 23 owners who, under the banner the Green Machine Syndicate, has raced horses for 30 years.
The Christchurch team are all former Marist rugby mates - hence their racing colours of green and white hoops which have been carried by a string of horses, the best of which, according to spokesman Steve McCormick, was All Most who won nine races from Brian Kerr’s stable before being sold to the States.
The Green Machine Syndicate’s first horse with Lincoln Farms was the speedy Beaudiene Western who was sold to Perth last year, and they have recently taken up a share in two-year-old Man Of Action.
Their partners in Trojan Banner include the Four Legs Syndicate, a group of eight Waikato battlers who also share in Northview Hustler, Addington racing manager Brian Rabbitt and his sister Margaret, Joe and Raewyn Chojnacki and Lincoln Farms’ own team - owners John and Lynne Street, business manager Ian Middleton and office staffer Merle Gradwell.
More news in Harness
Argyle salutes at last and Mark confident he’ll keep the till ticking over in the next grade
Unlucky Argyle deserves to be rewarded at Albion Park tonight - just no bad luck please
Ray looking forward to Lincoln Lou and fully oxygenated Frisco Bay at Cambridge on Friday
Why Lincoln Farms had to buy lot 68 - his older brother Lincoln Lou is ready to rock
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”
Race 5: Commander Lincoln
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”
Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”
Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”
Race 9: Frisco Bay
“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”
Mark Dux’s comments
Saturday night at Albion Park
Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time
“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”