Master Woolhandler and former World teams title winner Keryn Herbert was possibly the major casualty of the preliminary rounds of the Golden Shears major events when she was eliminated in the heats of the Open Woolhandling Championship today.
The Te Kuiti mum, four-times the No 1 ranked Open-class woolhandler in New Zealand despite having never won the Golden Shears or New Zealand Championships Open title, was just 27th of the 36 in today’s heats, missing a place in the top 16 for the Saturday morning quarterfinals.
Unsurprisingly, the qualifiers were headed by favourite Joel Henare, going for a sixth consecutive win in the event, and a 100th Open-class victory.
Likewise, shearing phenomenon Rowland Smith, of Hastings, headed the qualifiers for the Open shearing quarterfinals being held tonight, after which the top 12 would be named for the Saturday afternoon semi-finals, leading to the naming of the six for tnhe Shears’ glamour final tomorrow night. Other than the order of qualifying, Smith, Pongaroa farmer David Buick, current World champion John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, and former World and Golden Shears champion and Scots international Gavin Mutch, of Whanamomona, were a predictable top four.
Henare and Smith were tonight still the hottest favourites in TAB shearing sports betting history.
Of more than 20 events being decided in the three-day champioonships, which have attracted over 300 competitors, 13 will be decided on the last day.
A transtasman woolhandling test is on the programme tonight, and a shearing test match tomorrow night.