When the four-year-old mare Cut Above won the 2019 PG Norrish Memorial on Saturday, February 16 she climaxed a remarkable couple of nights for her owner Tim Blee.
Tim’s recent South Australian purchase Clarenden Hustler had won at Gloucester Park the night before and he went back to his former home town of Northam the next night full of hope.
Between 1974 and 1978 Tim worked in Northam as a schoolteacher, played football for Railways Football Club and was a member of the committee of the Northam Trotting Club which at the time was under the presidency of Frank Collins.
Jim Morris was president of Railways back then and his son Peter was inducted to the Railways Football Club Hall of Fame last September.
Peter Morris is also heavily involved as an owner of pacers including Dreamy Nights which won the Village Kid Sprint at Northam on February 2.
Tim is a son of former Gloucester Park timekeeper Merv Blee and has been a keen fan of the sport for more than 50 years, although his involvement as an owner only began some 18 months ago when he purchased Neighlor from New Zealand.
Neighlor was soon joined in the Serpentine stables of trainer Matt Scott by other subsequent winners in Riri Rihana and Lady Azalea.
This season Cut Above and Clarenden Hustler added further wins and after Clarenden Hustler’s win at Gloucester Park on February 22 the Blee/Scott combination’s win tally stood at 27 in a period of just 18 months.
“I will always have a soft spot for Northam and the trophy for the Norrish Memorial was sensational and I will cherish it as something pretty special,” Tim said after the race.
Blee is retired from teaching although he occasionally gets called in as a relief teacher in his current home town of Manjimup.
A huge fan of country harness racing he drove from Manjimup to Perth to watch Clarenden Hustler win on the Friday night, spent the night in the city and was at Northam on the Saturday to collect the Norrish Memorial trophy.
He then drove back to Manjimup early on the Sunday morning to help a mate Graham Chitty get his horse Tartary Phoenix to the Williams meeting that afternoon.
By the time Tim got home on the Sunday night and fell into bed he had covered some 1200 kilometres across the weekend just to watch his horses and to help a mate.
Blee not only deserved the Norrish Memorial Trophy – he deserved a medal for his love of harness racing.
Northam to honour its Life Members this Saturday
This weekend’s meeting at Burwood Park will pay tribute to the 26 Life Members of the Northam Harness Racing Club.
A number of the club’s Life Members are expected to be on-course on the night.