Farewell to our 'Akky'

FAREWELL, BARRY: Barry Atkins with "So It Goes" owned by his great mate, Bob Keain. Barry was an esteemed member of the Port Pirie Harness Racing Club
FAREWELL, BARRY: Barry Atkins with "So It Goes" owned by his great mate, Bob Keain. Barry was an esteemed member of the Port Pirie Harness Racing Club

Was it either Ricky Connor or Spanner Coombe who said, earlier this week, the measure of a man can usually be measured by the size of his funeral.

Well, let me tell you, if measuring the esteem in which people held Barry Atkins was measured by the number of people that filled the grandstand, sat on the steps and flowed beyond, at his farewell on Tuesday afternoon, one can only think what one lovely human being this man must have been.

The Port Pirie Harness Racing Club has lost three esteemed members in as many weeks of late, with "Akky" being the last of those to leave us.

It has been a bit of a wild ride for the club, with two funerals, the Pirie Cup night and then the loss of Barry.

Apart from his strong involvement in almost every sport nameable, his involvement in harness racing was one of paramount interest.

He had been involved with horses the likes of Garryanna, Joan Moody, Gone In Sixty Seconds and Vicky Sheffield.

Apart from his strong involvement in almost every sport nameable, his involvement in harness racing was one of paramount interest.

He had travelled over time to the Interdominion when it had been held in Perth, New Zealand and Tasmania.

Coming from a strong football culture he had found his placement and his love for football belonging solely to the Props Footy Club, here in Port Pirie.

There had been some conjecture, at times, over the colour of his trotting silks.

Really? White with green sashes?

Had someone in the Port camp had an influence over his colours?

"My racing colours are white with green sashes, not green and white!"

I guess that had settled that!

There would not have been one person at Barry's farewell on Tuesday who would have been able to say a bad word against the man, the father, the friend.

The list was too long to mention actually, what he had meant to so many.

Barry's travel through life was not particularly an easy one, having lost the love of his life when she was in the prime of hers and their four children so young.

But Barry Atkins cultivated a life which surrounded himself and his children with the love and support of so many.

He had the support of family and friends, through difficult times and fun times and he never forgot it.

Barry thought he owed so many, so much - but really, it was everyone else who owed Barry - the privilege of knowing him, being his friend. Rip "Akky".

There has been a lot of publicity this week in regards to the decision of Harness Racing SA to come down hard on the Globe Derby Committee, known officially as SAHRC.

Due to ill-management over the past decade and the loss of millions of dollars the committee have been asked to resign by close of business, tomorrow night, Friday, April 5, 2019.

Failure of the committee to do so will result in the withdrawal of all assistance to the club and the committee by Harness Racing SA.

Unless they resign and an interim committee be formed there will be no more racing at Globe Derby.

This is a decision long in the making and has not been made lightly.

I will keep the public informed of any developments going forward.

However, Harness Racing SA have been most forthcoming with all developments and I am sure they will continue to be upfront in all that happens.

All is positive in Port Pirie, however, and it is trotting this Saturday night in Port Pirie with the Masters Games night right upon us.

With the first race starting off the evening's programme at 6.54pm, there is an action packed meeting of seven races in store.

Three of the races carry a $7,000 bounty, making the odds and racing all the more thrilling.

Race one sees the Ryan Hryhorec trained and driven Sovereigne Bay having his first start on the Pirie track.

A four-year-old Courage Under Fire gelding, he has one win, three seconds and one third from seven stats on his resume.

This must make for the favourite position in the event.

Lyndan Hall has a new starter in this event, Bezzaboma, fresh from Victorian tracks.

He, also may prove an interesting follow.

There are a few interesting horses entered in the second feature of the evening, a claiming race.

Price claims in this event range from $2,500 to $9,000, the lower end of the spectrum giving a willing claimant a cheap way to get into the industry, still with a chance to have fun and reap some success.

One would think that Mackalan would have to start favourite in the third event, but then I am nowhere no expert.

If you could see my betting record, you would have to laugh, and besides Mackalan is one of my little favourites, so take no notice.

Race four, I would be picking Marty Major, fresh from a win at Globe Derby last week and starting from barrier five.

He has only one race under his belt, the win, since a spell, over 1800 metres.

With this race over 1609 metres, he must be in with a chance.

The rest of the programme, I will leave you to your own devices, but don't miss race six, the Masters Games race.

Good weather is forecast for Saturday night.

Remember what a fabulous night we had last meeting, lets make it a great one again.

See you at the track!