Nek Time for the Symons

Rob Courtney

Not for the first time, the Symons (Robert and Sharon) enjoyed owning 2 winners on the one day when Nek Delight and Always Ticking duly obliged at Winton in early May but alas they were not there to see it as they were holidaying with family in Canada & Alaska.

Robyn and Sharon Symons
(C) Bruce Stewart, Harnesslink

Probably not a big issue when you are closing in on 140 wins with horses you have raced over the years and Robert quickly recalled another occasion at Wyndham when Joes Rock & Snow Robyn accomplished the same result at Wyndham for the well-known deer farming couple from Southland.

The harness bug came from his father Russell, who amongst others, raced the 1990 Messenger winner Alert Fulla (7 wins from just 14 NZ starts), defeating NZ Cup winners Inky Lord & Neroship in the process.

“I believe at one time Alert Fulla may have been the fastest ever pacer to leave NZ shores and it was Dad that designed the pink colours that were handed down to us and our horses proudly carry those colours today,” Robert explained.

Nek Delight is the first foal from Symon’s good mare Nek Time (Gotta Go Cullect – Braithwaite) who won 8 races and close to $160k in stakes.

“Like most of our horses at the time, she was trained by Terry & Glenys Chmiel and won the Southland Oaks plus 2 more Oaks in Australia. She still holds the 2400m NZ record for a mare,” Robert proudly shared.

Her next foal, Blaze Lightening (by Sweet Lou) trained by Brett Gray won a workout before going for a spell and hopefully will be seen on a racetrack in the spring.

She has a Bettor’s Wish filly (yearling) and a Captain Crunch filly (weanling) coming up in behind but unfortunately missed to Lazarus the season just past. She is a permanent border at Macca Lodge and is currently the only mare the Symons are breeding from.

Always Ticking (Always B Miki – Happy Ticker) was purchased out of Canterbury as a ‘running along’ youngster and has been a model of consistency in her 13 starts to date, having been only once out of the top 4, amassing 2 wins & $43K in stakes.

Happy Ticker was also the dam of American Eyretime (by Tintin In America) who earlier had won 5 races and placed 18 times a few years back for the Symons and so they were quite familiar with the ‘family’ when deciding to purchase their latest winner.

“Things have been a bit lean this year as to date we have only had the 3 winners but back in 2022 we won 17 races in the one season.” Robert added.

Memphis Tennesse (10 NZ wins + $152k + 1:52.4), Snow Robyn (6 wins + $60k) + 1:54.4), Buy Chevron Direct (7 wins + $66k), Franco Tai (7 wins + $90k) and Joes Rock (6 wins + $103k to date) are other good horses that have successfully donned the Symons pink silks.

“Franco Tai went to Australia and tragically broke his pelvis after only being there a short time and had to be put down. Joes Rock (5m Racing Hill – Netty’s Kingdom) is probably the best performer of her sire here in NZ from very small crops and was the first horse to lower the colours of top mare Aardie’s Express. I have sent her up to join Arna Donnelly’s team at Cambridge hoping that a change of scenery will bring a change in her fortunes”.

Rough And Ready (14 wins + $160k) has also returned to that same stable after a trip to Australia did not produce the outcomes the Symons were hoping for.

Nek Time aside, The Symons don’t see themselves breeding seriously again.

“The farm is less than half its original size and now that we are in our 70s, we are more likely to buy a ‘going concern’ than to breed a horse.

Whatever the future may hold, the joy and success they have had over a long period of time has most likely paid for a few of those overseas holidays.