Former Whangārei Racing Club president Shayne Heape has been awarded life membership at its annual members' meeting at the Northland Club on Wednesday evening.
A member since 2008 and a president for four years, Heape has made a significant contribution to the club with his proactive role on the board, but also with his generous business sponsorship and gathering of supporters to enable a number of projects to be completed at the club.
In addition, with his racing partner Gary Hannam, they have an interest in a considerable number of horses under their banner of GS Racing that display their orange and white colours.
On receipt of his life membership honour, Shayne regaled how his interest in racing only started following a spur of the moment decision at an auction at a Northland rugby fundraising event.
A share in the racehorse Kaarera, being trained by Donna Logan was being sold to raise funds. With no previous racing involvement Shayne and Gary decided, on a whim, to win the auction and so their racing journey started.
There was a big bump in the road when Kaarera provided to be very slow, and after four starts was retired to be a broodmare. GS Racing have been very loyal to this initial interest in racing with her producing unsuccessful foals, but their loyalty could be repaid today.
Kaareraway is a 3-year-old filly from Kaarere and is the first of five foals from Kaarera to win. The daughter of Makfi won last start at Ruakaka and tackles the $50,000 Trevor Eagle Memorial today at Ellerslie.
A win today would be great reward for the patience and auger well for the big summer and autumn racing plans they will have.
GS Racing's day today is not just limited to one runner as they also race Annie's Song with leading Whangārei breeder Terry Archer, who successfully sold three youngsters at the Ready-To-Sale last week. Annie's Song is also engaged in the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial.
GS Racing also has Rikk Tikki Tavi. This 6-year-old mare races well at Ellerslie on a good track and was most unlucky last start when wide throughout and down to rating 82 class she must be a backable each way chance.
The only doubt is that her wins were back in 2017 and early 2018.
Most of the GS Racing horses are part owned with many other Whangārei or Bream Bay residents so it could be a long drive home tonight.