New Zealand Cup and Show Week is a crucial time for magic making, with witches from all over the country descending on Christchurch's Addington Raceway this November.
The Witches of Westview Syndicate are a new, ladies-only syndicate taking the harness racing industry by storm.
Founded with a dash of fire and brimstone by industry veteran Nigel Armstrong and wife Brenda, the syndicate is made up of a hundred “Witches” ranging in age from early twenties to eighties.
“After being involved in harness racing for over forty years, I could see the only way forward for horse ownership was syndication,” Armstrong says.
“The thrill you get when a horse you have some sort of share in wins is indescribable.”
Racing syndicates are common in the harness and thoroughbred industry as race enthusiasts come together to share the thrill of racehorse ownership for a smaller cost.
Aiming to attract new members with affordable investment options, Armstrong cast his spell and the Witches came into being.
“We wanted to target lady owners, especially those new to the game,” Armstrong says. “So, I put my money where my mouth is and approached Harness Racing New Zealand with a proposal to start this syndicate. They showed great faith in me and gave us the green light.”
“The thrill you get when a horse you have some sort of share in wins is indescribable," - Witches of Westview manager Nigel Armstrong.
Today he leases 10 per cent of three of his top horses to the Witches at no cost, with each member paying a one-off payment of $100 to cover the running cost of the syndicate.
It’s tricky when people ask him which part of the horse he owns, as Armstrong says, “it’s hard to argue with a witch when it comes to co-owning a racehorse.”
Expect pointy hats to be the fashion statement of the day at the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup Day, one of the stand out events of Christchurch’s spring calendar.
These modern-day witches will be there in form, swapping broomsticks for high heels to take part in a spectacular celebration of racing, fashion, food, fun and music while cheering on their racehorses.
Keryn McElroy from Addington Raceway & Events Centre says it’s great to see more women getting involved in the harness racing industry.
“Harness racing is a sport for everyone and the availability of syndicates like these mean people can take part of the magic of Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup Day,” she says.
It’s a certainty that magic will be made at this stand out event, with the annual Christchurch Casino New Zealand Trotting Cup heralded as the country’s most prestigious two-mile harness race.
For full details of the many stand out events of New Zealand Cup and Show Week, including the New Zealand Agricultural Show at Canterbury Agricultural Park and the Al Basti Equiworld NZ 2000 Guineas Day at Riccarton Park Racecourse, click here.