Academy founder Ricki Herbert has returned to harness race driving after a break of 27 years.
The former All Whites player and coach has regained his harness racing driver’s licence which he last used when co-training horses with his late father Clive at their South Auckland stables in the 1990s.
Herbert (59) drove the unplaced Chalberg, which he part-owns, in the opening event at Cambridge Raceway’s December 3 Christmas meeting and was delighted afterwards.
“I’m still buzzing,” he said after steering Chalberg around the track at speeds more than 50k/hr.
Herbert took up race driving in 1990 after he finished his professional playing career in Europe and Australia. Father Clive trained 178 winners from his South Auckland stables, earning connections almost $1 million in prizemoney.
“One of the highlights of returning to the track was being able to wear my father’s racing colours,” Herbert said.
The father and son Herbert team co-trained 22 winners and 33 place-getters before Ricki began his professional football coaching career which took him to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa with the All Whites, and to six seasons leading the Wellington Phoenix.
Herbert said he enjoyed race driving as a way to relax away from football, and he was indulging his passion for horses by helping local Cambridge trainer Kyle Marshall.
As well as driving trackwork, he was also working with the team at Kyle Marshall Racing as their business development manager, helping them strive to achieve the high levels of team performance that Herbert had managed in football.
Interview – Herbert returns to the sulky
Thanks to Jo Stevens for providing this video interview.
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