Taranaki's most successful racehorse, Rough Habit, was inducted into New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame at a gala dinner in Auckland last night.
Affectionately known as "Roughie", the gelding won 29 races for leading New Plymouth trainer John Wheeler from 1200m to 2400m, including 11 prestige Group Ones.
The champion graced tracks in New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the United States during his illustrious career.
Six of his wins were in Queensland, where he won a Derby, the Stradbroke-Doomben Cup double twice and added a third Doomben Cup for good measure.
His other four Group Ones were spread between Victoria, New South Wales and New Zealand.
Rough Habit was a rags to riches story. Neither his sire Roughcast nor his dam Certain Habit won a race – nor did his maternal grandmother. He is so plain that some punters were put off backing him because of his looks.
Roughie earned his connections $5,182,791 in a racing career that stretched from 1989 to 1995. He featured on a New Zealand postage stamp in 1996.
Wheeler, who was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2010, said last night Rough Habit was a worthy of the accolade.
He said Rough Habit's second Stradbroke in 1992 was his fondest memory. "He came from last to first. They said he couldn't win because he was carrying top weight and drew out wide."
Rough Habit lives in retirement at Cambridge Lodge.
Joining Rough Habit as an equine inductee were former champions Show Gate and Redcraze, along with trainers Jim Gibbs, Bill Sanders, Graeme Rogerson; former top jockeys Jim Ellis and Brent Thomson; and administrator Dr McGregor Grant.
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