The future of harness racing in New Zealand looks bright if the performance of a group of aspiring young drivers at the Kāpiti Coast Harness meeting at Ōtaki on Sunday is anything to go by.
There were seven young drivers who were part of a circuit run by Taranaki Kidz Kartz, who ran a series of races in between the main races at the Kāpiti Coast Harness meeting on Sunday.
The competition, with sulkies behind a group of well-behaved ponies, welcomed new drivers Blake Fleming and Robbie Saysell at Ōtaki with both boys acquitting themselves well and coming away with placings.
Saysell said he really enjoyed the experience and would be back to do it again. While he wasn't entirely sure at this stage of his life, he thought that one day he might like to be a fully fledged harness racing driver.
The initiative was in its 17th year and organiser Lesley Chittended said many of the leading drivers of today have said they wished Kidz Kartz was around when they were first starting out.
"Its developing their horsemanship. Some see it as a hobby but for others it could be a stepping stone," she said.
A former graduate of the class was Brodie Ellis who is now driving in the big league.