Gaye and John Harvey from Croyden Park pictured with Mail Train, sire to this year's Stanthorpe Cup hopeful, Mail Escort.
Gaye and John Harvey from Croyden Park pictured with Mail Train, sire to this year's Stanthorpe Cup hopeful, Mail Escort.

Harvey’s hang hopes on Stanthorpe-born Mail Escort

HORSE RACING: Despite roughly 20 goes at the Stanthorpe Cup Open, it’s one trophy that still eludes Gaye and John Harvey.

The couple have been running Croyden Park at Cottonvale for close to 25 years.

They’ve won big in Toowoomba, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, but it’s their home town prize they want most.

“It’s on the bucket list to win the cup but we haven’t had success so far,” Gaye Harvey said.

“We always try and nominate horses for Stanthorpe because we’re the local identity I guess.

“Two horses of ours have set track records but we still haven’t won the cup.”

Five year old gelding, Mail Escort, might just be their shot.

Trained by Tony Sears out of Toowoomba, he’s won three and has several placings.

“He’s done well. Been racing in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Ipswich.

“His father’s here - Mail Train. His mother was born here too so he’s a real local boy.”

The Harvey’s will hope to have Emma Lung riding Mail Escort on Saturday, having steered some of their other horses to wins at previous outings.

Typically used to 1200 metre runs, John Harvey says he’ll travel the 1400m distance well.

“We’ll step him up for the cup.

“He’s a horse that normally races back in the field and sprints home.”

Croyden Park's John Harvey with a one week old foal. The foal is the offspring of Well Sighted, last year's Stanthorpe Cup Opens' winning horse.
Croyden Park's John Harvey with a one week old foal. The foal is the offspring of Well Sighted, last year's Stanthorpe Cup Opens' winning horse.

For the Harvey’s, horse racing, despite their long association, was something they more or less fell into.

“It started by somebody giving me a horse. They didn't want it anymore,” Mrs Harvey said.

“It grew from there and John got obsessed with horses and then he got obsessed with racing.

“We just started out breeding ponies, stock horses, Appaloosas and the thorough breds won out.

“It was about then we started to get serious. It’s a good way to lose money.”

Their early horses were trained by Peter and Julie Evans locally in the beginning, before they left town.

They’ve now entrusted renowned Toowoomba trainer Tony Sears with most of their horses since.

They took out this year’s Bat Out of Hell race on the Gold Coast with Tycoon Ace and finished second at Toowoomba’s Weetwood Cup.

But the loudest cheer they’ll give this year will be if Mail Escort crosses the line in first at Saturday’s Stanthorpe showpiece.

“It is disappointing there’s only one race a year in Stanthorpe now,” Mrs Harvey said.

“It’s a good day out.

“The club has done a fantastic job. Spent a lot of volunteer hours. A real credit to them.”

Hidden Budget, part owned by Croyden Park Studs’ manager Clint McErvale, will also run in the Stanthorpe Cup Open.

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