Story: Horse and greyhound racing

Lyell Creek

Lyell Creek

Trotter Lyell Creek is led out onto the track before his last-ever race, at Alexandra Park, Auckland, in 2005. Because pacing dominates in New Zealand, there are fewer trotters, but Lyell Creek stands out far above the rest. His formidable career saw him nicknamed 'Creek the Freak', while his part-owner Graeme Bruton earned the soubriquet 'Steel Balls' for his bold betting coups. The other part-owner, Anthony Butt, drove Lyell Creek, who was trained by Anthony's brother Tim for 34 wins from his first 37 starts in New Zealand and Australia.

Among Lyell Creek's victories were New Zealand's two biggest trotting events, the Dominion Handicap at Addington and the Rowe Cup at Alexandra Park – both of which he won three times. He also won the 2000 Inter Dominion Trotting championship. Lyell Creek was voted Harness Horse of the Year in 2000, and New Zealand Trotter of the Year and Australian Trotter of the Year in 2000 and 2001. During most of 2001 and 2002 he raced in the northern hemisphere, winning 18 times in the US and once in Sweden. Altogether he won 56 races with 26 placings from 113 starts. His lifetime earnings of $2.95 million is an Australasian record for a trotter.

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Photograph by Sandra Mu

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How to cite this page:

Mary Mountier, 'Horse and greyhound racing - Harness racing: late-20th-century trends', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/39027/lyell-creek (accessed 20 April 2019)

Story by Mary Mountier, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 4 Nov 2015