YEAR: 2004


Mid Canterbury driver Ricky May, unlucky not to win the Welcome Stakes with Marika, and less than a length from winning the NZ Derby with Spring Alot, had the misfortune out of the way by the time the last of Addington's Easter Meeting features came up for decision.

He drove a 'purla' in the George Calvert Cleaning Easter Cup behind Blue Chip Rock, a new recruit to the tough grade. Having only his 22nd start, Blue Chip Rock led and forced Maheer Lord to work hard to head him a lap out. The Tony Herlihy drive was no pushover and fought with great heart as May took the passing lane with Blue Chip Rock. With the drop on Maheer Lord, Blue Chip Rock steadily hauled him in, and won in the end by half a head.

He is owned by George Hill, aged 54, and trained for him by his father Joe, at Waimea West, near Nelson. While Joe was there, and made a fine speech which included thanks to the Broadfield trainer Michael De Filippi where Blue Chip Rock was stabled, he did not see the race himself. That came later when he was able to sit within a metre or so of a large television set which satisfied his failing sight.

Blue Chip Rock is a 5-year-old by Caprock from Bonny Blue Chip, an unraced mare by Bo Scots Blue Chip from Gay Hunting, by Lordship.

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 15Apr04


YEAR: 2007

Hop grower and harness racing owner, breeder and trainer, Joe Hill was big in both.

His recent death marked the end of a long, rewarding career in the Nelson district in which his activities were awarded with national honours. For his services to racing and the hop industry, he was awarded an OBE. He became a Paul Harris Fellow for his services to Rotary and he was awarded the Order of the Hop - the highest honour that can be bestowed from the world hop industry.

He joined the trotting club in Nelson in 1951, ans over a 20-year period he was either President, Vice-President or immediate Past President. He was elected a life member of both the Nelson Harness Racing Club and the Nelson Jockey Club. He opened the members' stand in 1958, was instrumental in the building of Redwood Hall, and was President when the club bought land and a house adjacent to Richmond Park.

He raced numerous horses, the first being the galloper Fairhall Lad, in partnership with his wife, Nana Jean, followed by Desert Cloud and Sovereign Cloud, and the pacers Polita, Daring Dancer, False Fella, Thunder Boy, Gold Boots, living Lady, Turf Lord, Joe Allan and Royalty. His best horse was Blue Chip Rock, which won the 2004 Easter Cup at Addington.

Hill made many friends in the harness racing industry, hosting parties at their Gladstone Road home over race weekends, and he shared a long friendship with the late Ted Lowe

Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 9May07

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