Norm Heads Into Retirement After 95 New Zealand Wins

It’s time for life on the couch for the outstanding sprinter Wheelchair Norm. The John McInerney trained winner of a New Zealand record 95 race wins (plus two Richmond 400m wins) was retired following his Tuesday afternoon 310m sprint at Forbury Park.

Pictured: Wheelchair Norm who will now enjoy a thoroughly deserved retirement from racing

“Norm really looked after us on the race track – it’s now time for us to look after Norm. He had some recent niggly issues and with age catching up to him we feel now is the right time to hang up his muzzle,” advised Jonathon McInerney.

Wheelchair Norm was a sprinting phenomenon who injected huge interest into Tuesday afternoon racing on the two southern greyhound tracks. His outstanding career was keenly followed on both sides of the Tasman and his racing activities received frequent comment on social media sites. Tuesday’s racing certainly won’t be the same any more.

Wheelchair Norm and John McInerney built a fantastic relationship between them. That rapport between the canine and the human was graphically illustrated in a pre-race behind the traps shot captured by Trackside TV in the build up to Tuesday’s sprint.

In it you could clearly see Wheelchair Norm standing beside his conditioner, glancing affectionally up at him, while J Mac was standing there scratching Norm’s ears. That moment summed up the respect and trust held between the two of them.

Wheelchair Norm lined up in 199 races – he won a staggering 97 of them. He placed in a further 45 races, earning his owner Mark Bell $174,812 in stake earnings. This February 2013 whelped son of Spring Gun and Jumpin’ Canary is the current 22.06s Ascot Park 390m track record holder, which he set on the very last day of the 2017/18 racing season when he lowered his own track record. It was to be his last career victory.

“Norm has told us its time (retirement) – he’s had a terrific career. It’s been remarkable how competitive he has been all the way through his career, especially considering his age. Norm and Dad are the best of mates – one of a kind together.

“No firm decision has been made going forward with Norm. We’ll speak about that with Mark. We would like to stand him at stud for a time, however he will finish up going back across the Tasman to be a pet with Mark,” added McInerney.

On October 13 in Hamilton, Wheelchair Norm will be presented with his second GRNZ Sprinter of the Year trophy having successfully defended the title during the 2017/18 season that he had won the previous season. Wheelchair Norm is also a nominee for the ultimate award to be presented during the awards evening – the 2017/18 New Zealand Greyhound of the Year title.

Wheelchair Norm Wheelchair Norm Wheelchair Norm
Wheelchair Norm with his mate John McInerney; Wheelchair Norm delivering his July 31 Ascot Park 22.06s 390m track record; Wheelchair Norm also broke the 17s Addington 295m barrier – he’s pictured here delivering his slick 16.94s Galaxy Sprint heat win - pics supplied by Dave Robbie – drobbie91@gmail.com – 021 607 869 for all your South Island race photos.

Greyhound Racing New Zealand salutes you Wheelchair Norm – enjoy your thoroughly deserved retirement. Thank you for being the great greyhound star you have been!

By Peter Fenemor

 

Posted on 12/09/2018 2:10:40 PM

< Back