Street on the late Trevor McKee: He was an astute, hard worker but a gentleman above all
Today he’s arguably the biggest racehorse owner in the country but when Lincoln Farms’ owner John Street was first starting out it was Trevor McKee who sparked his passion for racing.
Street has joined in the growing list of people paying tribute to the iconic Auckland trainer who died on Friday at the age of 81, saying McKee’s astuteness and willingness for hard work were two traits which he quickly discovered.
It was in the early 1990s and Street recalls buying a horse at the sales and approaching McKee to train it for him.
It was the start of a successful relationship which saw Street and his wife Lynne race a dozen horses in the McKee colours and enjoy some exciting times.
Street remembers his early visits to McKee’s stable where he could always be found.
“He was an old school, hands-on trainer who was always there. It was his life and he was a very hard worker.
“And he was very astute. We had our differences from time to time but he was an absolute gentleman.’’
The Streets have raced hundreds upon hundreds of horses in the intervening three decades but won’t ever forget their first, Weekend Warrior, whom McKee trained to win six races.
One of John Street’s most fond memories is the day Weekend Warrior won at Ellerslie in November, 1995, in front of the Queen who was in Auckland for a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
“We didn’t have any superstars but we had a lot of fun with horses like Shinnecock Hills (five wins), Delaney (five wins) and White Eagle (two wins).’’
Even after Central Districts trainer Lisa Latta took over training his horses, on the death of Malcolm Smith, Street says McKee always had time to stop and chat at the races, an observation made by so many people in recent days.
And whether it was attending celebration parties for the deeds of McKee’s champion mare Sunline or playing golf with his son Stephen, Street recalls being made welcome by the family.
At Royal Randwick in Sydney yesterday to watch his horse Platinum Invador contest the A$2 million Australian Derby, Street wondered if it all might never have happened without his first experience with one of racing’s treasures.
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“She has drawn perfectly in barrier seven so Robbie (Hannam) should be able to possie up just behind the pace, which is an advantage at Woodville. Her work has been very good since her last run and she should strike the perfect track for her, a dead 5. This is a very even line-up and she should be right in the finish.’’
News in brief
TOP TIP: Trainer Lisa Latta was right on the money about $35 starter Lincoln Hills who ran a terrific fourth in very strong company at Awapuni. “He would have run even closer had he not pulled himself into the ground,” Latta said. Follow him on April 25.
INVADOR HOME: Platinum Invador is back in the country and will go straight to the spelling paddock after failing in the A$2million Australian Derby. Trainer Lisa Latta says in hindsight the three runs in two weeks he had on his NZ Derby camapign left him a tired horse.