Ricki Herbert returns to race track to relax from football

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Cambridge FC’s Technical Director, Ricki Herbert, says his return to harness racing gives him the chance to relax away from his footballing commitments.

The former All Whites player and coach has regained his harness racing driver’s licence after a spell of 27 years away from the race track.

He drove the unplaced Chalberg, which he part-owns, in the opening event at Cambridge Raceway’s December 3 Christmas meeting and was delighted afterwards.

“I’m still buzzing,” he said after steering Chalberg around the track at speeds more than 50k/hr.

Herbert (59) took up race driving in 1990 after he finished his professional playing career in Europe and Australia. He drove for his late father Clive who trained 178 winners from his South Auckland stables, earning connections almost $1 million in prizemoney.

“One of the highlights of returning to the track was being able to wear my father’s racing colours,” Herbert said.

The father and son Herbert team co-trained 22 winners and 33 place-getters in the 1990s before Ricki began his professional football coaching career which took him to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa with the All Whites, and to six seasons leading the Wellington Phoenix.

Herbert moved to Cambridge in 2017 where he has based his football academy, and has been Cambridge FC’s Technical Director for three years.

Main photo: Herbert in the sulky with Chalberg.