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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.’’

One of the Streets’ early winners with Trevor McKee was Shinnecock Hills, ridden by Peter Johnson.One of the Streets’ early winners with Trevor McKee was Shinnecock Hills, ridden by Peter Johnson.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.

Our runners this week

Saturday at Hastings

Master Lincoln, Lincoln Town, Port Lincoln, Father Lenihan, Lincoln Hills, Almo Street, Lincoln Star.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Thursday at Waverley

Race 1: Platinum Bordeaux

“I have put Charlotte O’Beirne back on her as she went so well for her at Awapuni two runs back. She had 10 days in the paddock after the Castletown which was run on a very heavy track. She is very bright and well and worked very well this morning. The wide draw is not ideal but the better track at Waverley will suit.’’

Race 3: Platinum Volos

“He has a wide draw to overcome but will move in to barrier 13 with the ballots coming out. He has good gate speed and the better track will play into his hands. Hopefully he will behave himself in the gates and based on his jumpouts and trials this shouldn’t be an issue. His work has been very good and I expect him to be right in the finish.’’

Race 4: Lincoln Dreamer

“He has had a stone bruise this morning but I hope to get him there if he gets the two more scratchings he needs to regain the field. If not, there is a race for him at Awapuni next Saturday. His work has been good since the wet tracks arrived and he has trialled well so I am expecting an improved run.’’

Lincoln light

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