The death occurred last Wednesday of Leeston horseman Peter Cowan. He was 62. Cowan died of a heart attack caused by acute stress response after being kicked in the ribs by a weanling early that morning.
Originally from Mosgiel, Cowan and his wife Vicki moved to Canterbury four years ago. The former dairy farmer had had a long involvement in the sport, tracing right back to when he and the late Andy Laidlaw bought Witchlight at a sale, whose descendants like Orbell, Lento and Bella Chip enjoyed great success.
First licensed as a trainer in the 1990/1 season, Cowan got underway in this respect when Orbison scored at Forbury Park on April 9, 1991. Licensed as a driver from the 1997/8 season onwards, Cowan's first victory in the sulky came behind Executive Lady at Invercargill on September 7, 1997.
In total Cowan drove 13 winners, and trained the winners of 67 races. The best from his stable were Flying Sands(11 wins), Trotupastorm(eight to date), Joe Boy and Tartan's Blue Chip(six each),and Classic Kojak(five), and notably, 14 of the 21 horses he trained to victory went on to record multiple successes from his barn.
Vicki said the support from the harness racing community had been "just fantastic". Cowan is survived by his wife Vicki, their son Thomas, and four sons from a previous marriage.
Credit: HRWeekly 30Apr08