Behind every New Zealand Cup champion there’s always a harness racing story of an unsung hero – a person behind the scenes who does his bit to ensure glory. For two years Southbrook farrier Adam White has done just that.
The 33-year-old horseman admits Monkey King isn’t his favourite horse when it comes to shoeing, but he readily admits he’s by far the fastest.
“I had a tear in my eye when he and Ricky (May) crossed the finishing line last Tuesday (Cup Day – November 9). It doesn’t get any better than this. To see him win last year was huge. To do it twice well that it was just unthinkable. I’m still living the dream,” White told Harnesslink.
A trainer and driver with a small team at Andrew Stuart’s Rangiora racetrack stable, White now admits he will probably have to give away his training and driving duties to concentrate fully on his blacksmith job.
“The workload is increasing and if you want to be good at something you have to go full-on. It’s a trade where you never stop learning.
Monkey King, the 8-year-old black Sands A Flyin gelding, who has won 38 of his 77 starts and $3,404,998, had his last race for Steven Reid and Graeme Rogerson’s Hamilton stable on March 6 last year.
Nineteen days later Brendon Hill took over the training at Kaiapoi. That is when White became the champion’s official farrier
“Sam’s (nickname) the complete racehorse but he can be a real b….. to shoe. He bites and one day he even urinated on me. Nothing surprises me with him. He kicks out and always looks at me as if he’s the boss,” White said.
He insisted Monkey King never got any special treatment.
“I shoe him along with half a dozen or so every two to three weeks at Brendon’s Dancingonmoonlight stable. He doesn’t get preferential treatment. I don’t do him first or last but when I do shoe I know who I’m shoeing and I make sure I do a better than good job,” White said.
Does he what!
White has steadily built up a reputation as being one of the finest, most thorough/articulate and promising blacksmiths in the South Island. He is doing 10 or more horses a day for numerous trainers throughout Canterbury. He also shoes hacks and some gallopers.
“I have a lot to learn in this game. In fact you never stop learning. This weekend for example I will be studying frozen legs in a freezer and cutting them up to suss out where problems like club foot, pastern alignments and laminitis stem from. There are always ways to advance and undertake better corrective shoeing techniques,” White said.
Asked if had suffered any injuries through his job White replied:
“About three months ago a yearling kicked me in the jaw. I was knocked out and spent a night in hospital, but was released the next day without any serious injuries or repercussions. I was a bit out of it. I remember when I came too I was raving on about Haley’s Comet for some reason.”
When asked who was the second best horse he had shod, White instantly replied – ‘Kiwi Ingenuity’.
“Undoubtedly she’s the best mare I have shod and probably one of the most satisfying too because she has had a lot of problems with her gait. I was really chuffed when she won the Harness Jewels Final at Ashburton last year. We got it right that day. She flew in 1:52.1 and came home in a tick over 55. Those sorts of days you never forget,” White said.
But even eight day’s after New Zealand’s biggest race White said he was still buzzing over “Sam’s” second consecutive New Zealand Cup victory.
“It’s something that I will take to the grave with me. To do it once made all my dreams come true, but to do it twice – well even today it’s still a bit hard to take in.
“I remember when I was 16 I used to sit on a bucket and watch Murray Edmonds shoe his horses. I used to work for him before and after Lincoln High School. I remember him saying to me as a joke:
“‘One day son you will be as good as me’. I still laugh at that. Maybe one day I will,” White said.
By Duane RANGER (editor) Harnesslink