Southern race journalist dies

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Don Wright, who 18 years ago penned “Win Without Boasting”, the hard book story of legendary horseman Derek Jones (grand-father of Mark Jones), has died. He was 75.

Mr Wright, a racing/sports journalist for 48 years, retired after suffering health issues four years ago. He had been in care at Riverton and died on Sunday.

He served for 33 years at the Southland Times newspaper until the year 2000, including the last six as Chief of Sport and Racing.

Mr Wright was understudy to the late Norman Pierce for many years, writing under the non de plume of “Gold Nib”, before taking the Times senior racing role in the 1980s.

During this period, he was instrumental in forming the careers of other racing journalists, Jeff Scott, Tony Clifford, Simon Osborn and Jamie Searle, who all assisted him in the Racing Department of the Southland Times.

He continued as a contributor to the Southland Times for his final 15 years of his work life, relocating to Christchurch for 10 years, then latterly returning south to Queenstown and Invercargill.

During his time in Christchurch, he became secretary-treasurer of the Caduceus Club Of Canterbury, and worked for the Harnesslink website.

Mr Wright won five national harness racing writing awards, and was inducted into the New Zealand Trotting Hall of Fame media honours list.

He bred and owned many horses in both racing codes, and was formerly a secretary of the Southland Standardbred Breeders Association for 11 years.

Mr Wright also co-authored “Jumping to Glory _ The History of the Great Western Steeplechase” (run annually at Riverton), and a hunting book, “Deer Were Their Lives”.