Clark Barron

Clark Barron Joins The Club)

 Bruce Stewart

 In typical Clark Barron style he was a relaxed about reaching what only 22 other harness drivers have achieved in New Zealand – 1000 driving successes. 

“I wasn’t too worried. The family was egging me on but I was pretty relaxed because I’d given myself a target to get to by the end of the season. It isn’t a real career highlight as it was going to be one of those things that was going to happen anyway but I’m tickled pink to get it,” he said after training and driving Flight Deck to win the Olphert Contracting Mobile Pace at Ascot Park yesterday.

From an inside second line draw Barron ended up second last. He improved Flight Deck to sit parked at the 800 and took over the lead at the 600 metres, holding on by a neck to beat Tilly Patron.

The win didn’t surprise his driver.

“He’s actually been going very well at the races and hasn’t had the runs.”

Although he was destined for some involvement in harness racing, his parents as they did with their three boys, insisted there was a backup plan and made Clark, Ken and Tony all take up a trade when they left school.

“I got my trade certificate as a chippy and worked for four year with Ray Harper and never regretted it. I’ve always had the ambition to build my own house but I’m probably getting a bit old now.”

Clark’s first win was with his father’s horse Free Trouble at Forbury Park in October 1980.

Over those learning years he received tuition and guidance from a number of the province’s senior horsemen.

“Starting right back it’s got to be Maurice Skinner and of course Dad gave me the opportunites. The fella you always wanted to be like was Henry Skinner. Also Doug McNaught and Bryce Buchanan were others. I was also a big fan of Peter Jones when he started.”

Barron also had a stint driving for Canterbury trainer Michael House for whom he drove thirty three winners.

“I probably didn’t enjoy it at the time but it was the right time to try something because Ken had gone. I think it grew me as a driver and I got opportunities. Michael gave me the chance to drive everywhere and I was still able to keep my contacts down here. The exposure was a good thing and gave me the chance to go to the next level.”

Alec McDonald has also being a huge help in Barron’s career.

“He gave me Lento to drive. I ended up training the good ones and I’ve since owned and raced them.”

So any goals for the future?

“I won’t get another 1000. I cut the travel out three or four years ago. I don’t go to Forbury.”

Five races later we saw how good a driver Clark Barron is when he got I’m Full Of Excuses home by a nose to win the Southern Supremacy Stakes. 

Clark Barron’s list of achievements in 1000 winners

Caduceus Club of Southland Two Year Old Fillies Final
2002 River Valley Belle
2006 Presidential Reign

Invercargill Cup
1996 Prince Rashad
1997 Prince Rashad

Invercargill Winter Cup
1997 Incredible Fella

Robin Dundee Crown
1991 Graymoore Gem
2003 Joyfulbelle
2007 Zitura
2014 Still Laughlin

Southern Supremacy Stakes
1991 Handiboy

Southland Oaks
2006 Zitura
2011 Jumpforjoy

Winton Cup
1991 Spendy’s Boy

PGG Wrightson AON Insurance Equine Stakes
2003 Joyfulbelle
2010 The Peace Rose

Gore Cup
1991 Foulden Holmes

Central Otago Cup
1989 Mister Sparks

Wyndham Cup
1998 Michael’s Medley
2004 Joyfulbelle

Riverton Cup
2008 Presidential Reign

Leading Southland driver: 1995 (35), 1996 (38), 2000 (56), 2001 (69), 2002 (51), 2003 (60) and 2004 (57).

Southland Harness Personality of the Year: 2001

Best season as a driver: 2001 366 – 69 – 39 – 39 – $273,102 UDR .2832

Trainers he has driven the most winners for:

1. Self: 163
2. Tony Barron: 134
3. Ron Barron: 91
4. Murray Brown: 39
5. Michael House: 33
6. John Lischner: 31
7. Alan Paisley: 30
8. Austin Stack: 26
9. Ken Barron: 20
10. Tim White: 18
11. Roger and Katrina Price 14
12. Graeme Anderson 13
13. Henry Skinner 13
14. George Bennett 12
15. Alec McDonald 10

Biggest winners by races won:

Prince Rashad 11
Presidential Reign 9
Joyfulbelle 8
Perfect Hold 7
Jumpforjoy 7
Allegrato Del 7
Incredible Fella 7
Titan Chip 6
Vuldiro 6
Lento 6
Rocket Ship 6
Talk About Rhonda 6
Natom 6
Whale Of A Tale 5
Raksdeal 5

Other milestone:

500th winning drive: Waikouaiti TC 18th February 2001 – Glad D’or

Most successful tracks:

1. Ascot Park – 330
2. Forbury Park – 156
3. Central Southland Raceway Winton –123
4. Gore – 102
5. Young Quinn Raceway Wyndham – 95
6. Addington – 66

Winners in one day:

6 winners in one day: Invercargill HRC 5th October 2001: Wibahe Ash, Franco Nirvana, Wing Defence, Rakanra, Godet and White Foot Cam.

6 winners in one day: Roxburgh TC 22nd April 2003: I Like Popular, Happy Jaccka, Divine Lustre, Deadly Medley, Uni Bound and Tycoon Bill.

5 winners in one day: Invercargill HRC 8th December 2000 Stormin Away, Kurahaupo Legend, Nuclear Dew, Slatina and Highview Mistress.

 Group One wins:

1994 Air New Zealand Free For All – Addington – Lento
1995 Canterbury Draught New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes – Addington – Lento

Group Two wins:

1995 Meadow Fresh 2000 FFA – Addington – Lento
1996 Meadow Fresh 2000 FFA – Addington – Prince Rashad
1997 Firestone Firehawk New Zealand Trotting Championship – Addington – Holdonmyheart
2011 Macca Lodge/Nevele R Southland Oaks Final – Ascot Park – Jumpforjoy

1000 Drivers Club
1. Tony Herlihy*
2. Maurice McKendry*
3. Ricky May*
4. David Butcher*
5. Colin DeFilippi*
6. Peter Ferguson*
7. Peter Wolfenden
8. Maurice Holmes
9. Anthony Butt*
10. Jim Curtin*
11. Mark Jones*
12. Mark Purdon
13. Brent Mangos*
14. Dexter Dunn*
15. Mike DeFilippi
16. James Stormont*
17. David Butt*
18. John Hay*
19. Jack Smolenski
20. Robert Cameron*
21. Ken Barron*
22: Blair Orange*
23: Clark Barron*