Harness trainer-driver Shand dies

DON WRIGHT
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2012

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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.

He was a former president of the New Zealand Trotting Owners, Trainers and Breeders Association and the Waitaki Trotting Club, and a stalwart of the Kurow Trotting Club.

After a distinguished career as a horseman, Shand was also acclaimed for pioneering legislation for no acceptance fees.

His first winning drive was with the Peter Gallagher-trained Lochella in Whanganui in 1951. His first placing in either code was posted with the jumper, Pink Clover (third), in 1947.

Sons Peter and Gary, who followed Shand 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.

Shand 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 older. Shand and Doug McCormick were the oldest reinsmen and claimed the quinella.

Born in Waikouaiti, Shand was urged to shift to Washdyke by Gallagher when he was a young farrier to take up an apprenticeship with that horseman's brother, Bill. Shand remained and married Peter Gallagher's daughter, Aileen, later secretary of the Waitaki Trotting Club.

Shand and son Gary owned Blythbank Del, trained and driven by the senior horseman, when she became the first pacer to beat 2.0 in a mobile race in Southland in the late 1980s.

Shand 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.

Among the other standouts Shand trained or drove were Borana - later to win a New Zealand Trotting Cup for Peter Jones - Mister Morn, Johnny Kawa, Dreamy Morn, Kawarau Gold, Bambi, Le Chant and Finestra.

Shand's funeral will be held in Timaru this week.

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