IN Racing
Kemp enjoying racing ride
Tony Kemp has had plenty of highs in sport, but he gets no greater satisfaction than winning races with his best mates Bruce and Allan Sharrock.
Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | July 21, 2023
Photo: Peter Rubery

Tony Kemp has had plenty of highs in sport, but he gets no greater satisfaction than winning races with his best mates Bruce and Allan Sharrock.

The SENZ Breakfast co-host and former New Zealand Rugby League representative and Warriors Coach has known the brothers since he was a child and was lured into the sport through their involvement.

“Bruce Sharrock, the CEO of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, is my best mate. We went to school together and Allan is his older brother, and I grew up in that family, we are basically brothers,” Kemp said.

“By default, I got into the racing game because that was their industry.”

The trio have raced a number of good horses together over the years, highlighted by Group One winners Kawi and Sinarahma.

“Ever since I could afford one, I have been racing horses with them,” Kemp said.

“Allan is the boss really, he sets the direction and what our strategy is with the horses and he lets us know what he is doing.

“Bruce and I sit back and go along for the ride and it has been a hell of a ride so far.”

Group One performer Justaskme has been another good horse for the trio, having won 11 races, including the Gr.2 Tauranga Stakes (1400m), Listed Opunake Cup (1400m), Listed Rangitikei Cup (1550m), Listed AGC Training Stakes WFA (1600m), and was runner-up in last year’s Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m).

The seven-year-old gelding will attempt to add to that record in the Listed Sinclair Electrical And Refrigeration Opunake Cup (1400m) at New Plymouth on Saturday.

The trio will also line-up his half-brother Mr Didgeridoo in the Seaton Park (1400m), with the promising son of Derryn looking to add to his debut victory.

“Our mare, Often, has produced both Justaskme and now Mr Didgeridoo,” Kemp said.

“Justaskme has been fantastic for us and he has won a number of good races. He is rated out of it a lot of the time because he has got to carry topweight.

“He is such an honest horse and is laidback. I went down to Te Rapa (last week) and watched him as we were bringing him back to get him ready for the Winter Cup (Gr.3, 1600m) and he ran the fasted 600m of the day and he is in pretty good form.

“You know if you are going to jump on him you are going to get an honest race.

“Allan really likes Mr Didgeridoo.

“One thing about him being a master horseman is that he knows what he is talking about, so it is nice to hear when he says you have got a really nice horse that reminds him of a young Justaskme. If he is as good as Justaskme, we will be happy.

“The only thing about Saturday is that they are both carrying topweight, but we know they will both give their best.”

Kemp is hoping he can celebrate more success with his mates on Saturday, however, it won’t be trackside as he needs to remain in Auckland to fulfil commentating commitments.

“If I wasn’t doing the Warriors game on Friday night, I probably would have gone down to watch them,” he said.

Racing is now ingrained in Kemp’s life and he is looking forward to his future involvement in the sport.

“I enjoy surfing, but my hobby outside of rugby league and the radio is horse racing. I am constantly watching what is going on because I have got a vested interest in it,” he said.

“The other thing that I like about racing is that ever since I have been involved from a young boy through to a middle-aged man, I have met all of the really good racing people and they remind me a lot of the league people.

“They are honest, hard-working people. You don’t see too many people with big egos in the racing game and you can sit down and have a beer with a lot of them.

“It is a great industry to be involved in and I will always be involved because my best mates are in it, that is their life.”

Allan Sharrock Bruce Sharrock Justaskme New Plymouth Opunake Cup SENZ Tony Kemp