Leading harness racing administrator Dave Branch has decided his immediate future will be in New Zealand.
The chief executive of Cambridge Raceway and the key figure behind the $1m Race by Grins had been “seriously considering” a move to Australia. He’d been linked to a high profile job in Queensland he called “tempting”.
“But in the end I feel there is a job that’s only been half done at Cambridge and I feel a lot of loyalty to the team there.”
“We are on the cusp of a really exciting milestone in our strategic plan with important consents due in the next few weeks,” says Branch, “it’s been a six year project to this point.”
It involves a 36 section subdivision, the construction of new stables and offices and a new roof on the grandstand.
Branch and his team have long stated they want Cambridge “to become a leading harness racing complex and also a first-choice events, business and community hub in the Waikato region.”
Branch is also focused on The Grins Night of Champions and its marquee event, the $1m slot race, The Race by Grins. The race has been held twice (won by Self Assured and Copy That) and is New Zealand’s equal richest race.
And Branch’s challenges don’t end here.
Cambridge Raceway has also signed up for next February’s Coast to Coast, New Zealand’s iconic multisport race from Kumara on the West Coast to New Brighton.
He will do the 60 plus kilometre paddle down the Waimakariri River as part of a three strong Cambridge team that includes colleagues Michael Douglas (cycle) and Vicky Riley (mountain run).
Branch & his team got the idea after hearing about Addington Raceway’s team negotiating the famous race this year. They will be back next year.
“We get on great with the Addington crew and we thought it would be a lot of fun to go up against them.”
“All we need now is a trophy – it will be game on!” - HRNZ