Champions run in the Hull family

SUCCESSFUL: Gary and Tracy Hull with 2-year-old colt Party’s Over at Branxholme yesterday.
SUCCESSFUL: Gary and Tracy Hull with 2-year-old colt Party’s Over at Branxholme yesterday.

The parents of one of the Australian riders at the Juniors Track Cycling World Championships in Invercargill are involved in harness racing in Victoria.

Gary and Tracy Hull cheered on their son, Evan, and others in the Australian men's pursuit team to a gold medal performance on the opening night of the championships on Wednesday.

A trainer in Ararat, Gary Hull and his wife own trotters and are big fans of Christchurch-based sire Sundon.

''He's so dominant (in Victoria),'' Gary said of the success of Sundon's progeny.

As well as following the fortunes of the Australian cycling squad in Invercargill, the Hulls have visited Branxholme trainer Kirk Larsen and wife Michelle. Mrs Larsen's brother, Mark Hayes, of Maryborough, breaks in all of the Hulls' young horses.

''He's one of the most successful breakers in Victoria. He's always got 25 to 30 to break in at any one time,'' Gary said of Hayes.

Gary is a plumbing contractor and trains in his sparetime.

''In Victoria 70 percent of the trainers do it for a hobby. Most have a day job to pay the bills and hope to get a nice horse.''

The first horse Hull owned - The Godfather (20 wins), by Maori's Idol - was raced in partnership with wife Tracy, her sister Karen Hamilton and father Michael Bond.

The Godfather was unplaced in Pride Of Petite's 1996 Interdominion Trotters' Final at Moonee Valley in Melbourne.

The Hull-trained Sundons Pride won 16 races, including the South Australia Trotters' Oaks. She ran second to Springbank Richard in the Victoria Trotters' Derby.

Grazing on the Hulls' 148ha (365 acres) property is a royally-bred Sundon 2-year-old filly out of Africa (11 NZ wins). The filly is the only foal the Hulls bred from Africa, who ran second to Lyell Creek in the Interdominion Trotters' Final at Moonee Valley in 2000.

Africa developed lung cancer and was put down two years ago.

Meanwhile, Gary Hull also left his mark as a junior cyclist. He was a five-time Australian champion.

''I never got to the world champs . . . The young bloke's got one over me,'' Gary said of his son's achievement.


The Southland Times