Colin DeFilippi Already an inductee to the New Zealand Trotting Hall of Fame, leading South Island driver and trainer, Colin John DeFilippi is one of the 2015 inductees to the Addington Harness Hall of Fame. Rapidly closing in on 2,000 NZ driving victories (1,960/430 trotters; 15,971 drives since 1986 season for stakes of $17.484m, UDR of .1894 as at early October 2015), it seems likely he will be the fifth to achieve this milestone after Tony Herlihy, Maurice McKendry, Ricky May and David Butcher. His best season came in 2005/6 when driving 121 winners.

From a prominent harness racing family, horseman father RH (Rod) DeFilippi, brother Michael (Mike)/former prominent trainer (301 wins)/driver (1,063 wins,) harness racing has played the major part in Colin’s life (aside from brief three months part time at University). Son Darren (junior driver with 14 wins from 263 starts) tragically lost his life in a motor vehicle accident following 1995 Geraldine meeting. His life is remembered each year in the eagerly sought after junior drivers Darren DeFilippi Memorial Trot held each July at Addington and warmly supported by the DeFilippi family. Wife Julie, a daughter of highly-respected trainer and mentor, Bill Denton, has officially been part of the training partnership with Colin since the 1998/9 season.

Colin DeFilippi was licensed as a professional horseman (driver) for matinees and trials in early 1972 when working for his father. Granted a probationary (junior) driver’s licence at the beginning of 1974/5 season, he recorded eleven wins with his first win coming in the Members Hcp on Brother Eden at Greymouth on 23 October 1974 (trained by father Rod). With considerable early success in the probationary ranks, this culminated in his finishing third in both 1974/5 ((11 winning drives) and 1976/7 (17 wins) seasons.

Becoming a trainer in 1975/6 whilst still a probationary driver, he has been self-employed ever since. As a trainer, initially on his own until 1997/8 season, he had 277/54 trotting winners (2,481 starters since 1986 – 1997/8 seasons) for stakes of $1.587m, UDR of .1879 and a seasons best of 30 training successes in 1985/6. Training at Broadfield together with wife Julie from 1998/9 season, he has had 240/86 trotting winners (2,109 starters) for stakes of $2.960m, UDR of .2092 with seasonal bests of 20 in both 2001/1 and 2001/2.

Whilst always been based in Canterbury, DeFilippi did spend a short stint of six months training in the North Island in 1987 where he was stable driver for Kenwood Stud Ltd (and their syndicates) and trainer Charlie Hunter. Among many junior drivers attached to his stable have been Ricky Alfeld, Craig Thornley, Darren DeFilippi, Risa Tanaka, Katie Cox, Samantha Ottley and currently Loren Lester.

Stand out horses driven and/or trained by Colin DeFilippi apart from the ultimate dream of winning the NZ Cup with Kyms Girl, have been champion juvenile pacer Courage Under Fire (“The Pocket Rocket” in NZ and ”Mighty Mouse” in Australia) and the Trevor Casey owned trotter Stent. A North American campaign next year remains a possibility for Stent and would cap off DeFilippi’s career.
Colin DeFilippiColin and Julie DeFilippi Colin DeFilippiKyms Girl Colin DeFilippiCourage Under Fire
Colin DeFilippiStent

A brief outline of Colin’s achievements to mid October 2015 follows:

Colin DeFilippi has driven numerous group and listed race winners in NZ plus in Australia. The more prominent among his many NZ victories (a number multiple feature wins/those trained shown as tr) are set out below (to mid October 2015) :

Australian successes include - 20 wins from 50 starts -

Colin DeFilippi joins an illustrious group of horsepersons to have been inducted to the Addington Harness Hall of Fame.

Compiled as at 10 October 2015.