Clare Harding wins monthly GRNZ Board Award

Over the past 10 years, 26-year-old Clare Harding has been an integral part of the Big Time kennel operation.

Her positive contribution to not only her work, but also to the industry as a whole sees Clare being deservedly named as the January GRNZ Board Award winner, which celebrates the young achievers in the sport.

“I’m a bit surprised to find out I was a winner. I didn’t know I had been nominated for the award,” said Harding.

However, a career change looms for her, as she embarks on new life opportunities. Harding will shortly move south from Palmerston North to Christchurch, where she will link up with partner Dylan Voyce.

“I would like to have a career in the Defence Forces and I’m keen to train up as a Medic,” she explained, adding, “I will still help out as a handler at Addington when I can.” 

“Clare is going to leave a massive gap in our kennels. We truly appreciate the strong work ethics she has displayed while working for us and we wish her all the best for the future,” expressed Brendon Cole.

Clare Harding became involved in the Cole kennels when in April 2013 her brother Luke, who was working in the kennels, came home and said to his sister, “You can start work at the Coles’ tomorrow”. She has remained there ever since.

“I quickly found greyhounds to be lovely natured dogs and really nice to work with. It is very rewarding to watch and assist them through from being pups and turn into race dogs. The whole process is so rewarding.”

When asked for her racing highlight over her 10-year involvement, Harding responded with, “That’s a really hard one to pick out. I guess winning Group races is always a highlight, especially when doing the work with the dogs and getting the results.”

She summarises her time at the Big Time kennels: “I have been so lucky to have worked there. I have learnt so much knowledge and life skills. I’ll carry that with me through the rest of my life. Brendon, Lisa and Ella have always made me feel like I am part of their family.”  

Ella Cole, who was the March 2022 Youth award winner, found Clare more of a friend, rather than a kennel worker, saying, “Clare is such a hard worker. She has always helped at all times – she won’t go home until all of the work has been finished and she often comes in to help out on her days off.

“She is so good with the dogs who click with her and adore her. Clare is a great leader; for example, if Dad and I are away, she will coordinate the work and workers.

“Clare has always been very reliable and trustworthy – she is like family to us. We will miss her terribly when she goes.”

And we couldn’t conclude this article without asking Clare Harding who her favourite greyhound/s were.

She didn’t hesitate to say, “Big Time Katy has been my favourite and I hold soft spots for Typhoon Tim and Big Time Baby.”


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 10 March 2023

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