Rebecca Heads spent a large portion of the last holidays undertaking time trials to be selected to go forward to represent Southland in the Kidz Kartz New Zealand Cup. She had to run a time of 2.40 minutes over 1000m with her pony, ‘Night Allowance’. This time had to be verified by three independent time keepers and then forwarded to Harness Racing New Zealand to see if she could qualify for the NZ Cup.
On Wednesday, 29 October, she was notified that she had made the top 14 children in New Zealand to qualify to race at Christchurch during Cup and Show Week. Seven children from Kumeu, Auckland, Cambridge and Waikato along with six from Canterbury were selected. Rebecca was the sole representative from Otago and Southland.
She travelled through to Christchurch on Monday 10 November, meeting the other competitors and being issued with a uniform over a bbq dinner. Their first race was at the gallops at Riccarton on Wednesday, 12 November. The fourteen ponies and drivers assembled at 12.30 in preparation for their race at 2 pm. The Templeton Medical Kidz Kartz NZ Cup Prelude was raced over 800m on the grass track. Rebecca and her pony ‘Night Allowance’ were fortunate enough to win this race by 3 ¾ lengths. A fantastic effort from the unknown pony and driver having their first attempt at racing in a big field of experienced ponies and drivers from throughout the country. The drivers and their families had a group dinner together on Wednesday night after racing at Riccarton.
Thursday was a free day with many of the competitors meeting for a shopping session at the Riccarton Mall for the afternoon.
The big race of the week was the NZ Kidz Kartz Cup, which was raced for at Addington on Show Day, Friday 14 November. 14 very nervous ponies and drivers assembled at Addington at 12.30 pm. At 2 pm each pony was paraded down the main Addington straight, in front of the crowd and grandstand, with a flag bearer stating the ponies name and the region they were representing. Rebecca’s sister Laura had the honour of being her flag bearer. Twenty minutes later the field of 14 ponies assembled on the track for the 1000 m cup race. Rebecca’s pony “Night Allowance” hadn’t warmed up well and unfortunately decided to gallop for the entire race, meaning she was disqualified and put back to last placing! It appears he may have had muscle bruising after winning at Riccarton on the Wednesday. The pony that won the NZ Kidz Kartz Cup represented Canterbury and finished second to Rebecca at Riccarton.
Even though disappointed with the result at Addington on Friday, Rebecca and ‘Night Allowance’ performed credibly, gaining invaluable experience in much larger fields, with ponies of a similar size and speed during her week in Canterbury. She also took out the second biggest Kidz Kartz race in New Zealand. Well done Rebecca!