Wellington Cup Day extra special for veteran journalist

Wellington Cup Day extra special for veteran journalist

Every year thousands of Wellingtonians don their best clothes and head to Trentham Race Course for Cup Day.

Always among them is Gordon McBride – the former Wellington bureau chief for 3 News.

This Cup Day is likely his last and his friends ensured it was one of the best.

The third race of Wellington Cup Day was watched by thousands of people, but named in honour of just one – veteran newsman Mr McBride.

Mr McBride has terminal cancer. But that didn't keep him from this annual occasion.

Close friend Gerry Morris has been coming to Cup Day with Mr McBride for more than 20 years and wanted to make this one special.

"Before Christmas he said, 'Right, we're going to Wellington Cup together again, and this one will be my last.' And I said, 'Mate, I don't do bloody sorrow on Wellington Cup Day. It's like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one.'"

A group of friends pulled together to raise $2000 to officially dedicate a race to Mr McBride. It took just 30 minutes to raise it. In fact, they had to bump it up to $3000 because so many people wanted to donate.

"I was flabbergasted and rather embarrassed actually at the start," says Mr McBride. "But I guess I'm flattered and I just went along with the flow."

The race was named "Going South" after a book written by another friend, Colin Hogg – a memoir of a road trip the pair took to their native Southland after Mr McBride revealed he was ill.

"It's a matter of love," says Mr Hogg. "He's got a lot of friends who just adore him and this is a sign of it."

And as Mr Morris wished, today wasn't one of sorrow.

"Nothing to do with Gordon's illness has been mentioned today. We've just got on and done the usual yahoo that we usually do."

Except there was perhaps a bit of sorrow when Mr McBride's horse, Steppenwolf, didn't win.

But today wasn't about who finished first either; it was one last hurrah, and Mr McBride's race will be remembered long after today.

3 News