The Northern harness racing fraternity was left in shock over the weekend after the passing of Kumeu trainer Errol Downey in a car accident.
Downey and a friend were in a car that left the road and collided with a tree shortly before midnight on Friday night.
The accident scene was only a few minutes’ walk from the Kumeu trotting track where Downey prepared most of his 62 career winners.
Downey rose to prominence in the 1990s as the trainer of grand trotting mare Sanchiola, who won 15 races and over $130,000 in stakes.
Her first foal, which Downey bred and sold as a yearling, was the brilliant young trotter Kyvalley Road, who won 20 of 27 races and over A$250,000 in stakes across the Tasman.
More recently he prepared San Diego Love and Empire Earl to win races, the latter subsequently sold to Victoria, where he won 12 races, and then America.
Downey, who was 68, is survived by his two sons, Roydon and Nathan, and daughter Stephanie.