Harness racing identity George Shand died in Invercargill on his 83rd birthday yesterday.
The former prominent Washdyke trainer, driver and administrator had spent his twilight years in Invercargill for health and family reasons after a lengthy setback.
He was a former president of the New Zealand Trotting Owners, Trainers and Breeders Association and a former president of the Waitaki Trotting Club, also a stalwart of the Kurow Trotting Club.
After a distinguished career as a horseman, Mr Shand was also acclaimed for pioneering the no acceptance fees legislation.
His first winning drive was gained with the Peter Gallagher-trained Lochella at Wanganui in 1951. His first placing in either code was posted with the jumper Pink Clover (third) in 1947.
His sons Peter and Gary, who followed him into harness racing, said yesterday his greatest thrill was winning the Waikouaiti Cup with Mighty Gay. He earlier lived on the verge of the course's back stretch. George was also the first trainer-driver to win two Methven Cups with Eastwood Jaunty and triumphed in the 2002 Caduceus Club Masters Trophy Mobile Pace for drivers 60 years or more.
He and Doug McCormick were the oldest reinsmen and drove the successful quinella combination. Born in Waikouaiti, George was urged to shift to Washdyke by Peter Gallagher when he was a young farrier to undergo an apprenticeship with that horseman's brother Bill. He remained there and married Peter Gallagher's daughter Aileen, later secretary of the Waitaki Trotting Club.
George and son Gary owned Blythbank Del, trained and driven by George, when she became the first pacer to beat 2.0 in a mobile race in Southland in the late 1980s.
Shand sen and owner-breeder Sam Woods won a host of races with progeny of prolific producer Worthy Scott, including Pointer Hanover, About Time, Conclusion (all open class), Obstinate, Glentohi, Glenwood, Gleniti and Worthy Del.
Other standouts he trained or drove included Borana, later to win a New Zealand Cup for Peter Jones, Mister Morn, Johnny Kawa, Dreamy Morn, Kawarau Gold, Bambi, Le Chant, Tyrone and Finestra. He also shared the ownership of fine galloper Waitohi.
Mr Shand's funeral will be held in Timaru later this week.
- © Fairfax NZ News