After 30 years of working on the gates at Southland race meetings, Sunday 16 May marked the final day on the job for Kerrin Price, although it “hasn’t sunken in yet.”
How long have you been a race starter?
I’ve been doing the job for the past 24 years and was a barrier attendant for the six years before that.
How did you become involved in racing?
I was at a Stud’s dispersal sale in 1984 and purchased a three-year-old mare. After six weeks in the stable, the horse’s trainer invited me to have a ride on my horse. Despite never having ridden a thoroughbred I took him up on the offer. My stirrups were too long, and she bolted on me around the track. That didn’t put me off though. Following that I ended up riding trackwork at Ascot Park for three different trainers.
What will you miss most about the job?
The fellowship. I was a local traffic sergeant with the New Zealand Police for 43 years and I took on a second job working on the gates for social interaction. It was also great fitness. In the old days, you used to have to lift the gates on and off.
What is your proudest achievement in the role?
The team I built over the years, especially the female team members. A special mention to barrier attendant Paula Bray – she had a wonderful affinity with horses. She was an incredibly competent horsewoman, and there were some horses that could not be settled by any other attendant but Paula. She had a real knack of helping rattled horses to relax and never got scared.
What does the future hold?
I’m a keen huntsman, having started hunting back in 1992. I’ll be kept busy by an off-the-track thoroughbred I recently took on. I hope to do a bit of schooling with him and take him hunting next season. I also have a job as a handyman on a Southland sheep farm so I won’t be bored!