YET ANOTHER RANDO ANSWERS THE CALL TO HARNESS RACING

YET ANOTHER RANDO ANSWERS THE CALL TO HARNESS RACING

You could have knocked me over with a feather the night an immaculately dressed twelve year old boy wearing a pork pie hat bowled up to me at Penrith trots, declaring one of my horses a “good thing”.

CLUB MENANGLE TO HONOUR HARNESS RACING’S FALLEN

CLUB MENANGLE TO HONOUR HARNESS RACING’S FALLEN

I was surprised when Club Menangle historian Peter Collier told me that forty trotting trainers and drivers have died in accidents since the sport began in Australia. In conjunction with his Victorian counterpart John Peck, Peter has worked tirelessly for years to identify the people involved and to trace the circumstances of their fatal accidents.

HONDO GRATTAN - GO GO GO YOU LITTLE BEAUTY

HONDO GRATTAN - GO GO GO YOU LITTLE BEAUTY

Stumbled upon a couple of photos of Hondo Grattan the other day. That’s all it takes to trigger memories of one of the most charismatic harness horses of all time. Did a quick check to learn that it’s coming up twenty five years since the little champ passed away at the Turnbull family’s Loyal Stud near Bathurst.

DENNIS PICKER - IT’S ALL IN THE GENES

DENNIS PICKER - IT’S ALL IN THE GENES

Dennis Picker is one trots trainer who has no intention of getting caught up in the grind of racing all year round. 

In the last six or seven years Dennis has established a pattern of working a team of twenty horses, including five yearlings

HOWARD JAMES - HARNESS RACING’S QUIET ACHIEVER

HOWARD JAMES - HARNESS RACING’S QUIET ACHIEVER

Howard James was twelve years old when he first met Brian Hancock. Young Howard spent most weekends and school holidays with brothers, Brian and Richard Hancock, who were rapidly establishing their commercial training operation.

CHRIS WAS IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME

CHRIS WAS IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME

The crowd had dwindled and the bids were sparse when Lot 202 walked into the ring at the 2015 Bathurst Gold Crown yearling sale. Chris Frisby had already secured a couple of “cheapies” and wasn’t really interested in a third. He sat down for a moment and took a cursory look at the Sportswriter colt from Rooftop Fairy.

HARNESS RACING ATTRACTS PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE - EVEN THE OCCASIONAL POLICEMAN

HARNESS RACING ATTRACTS PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE - EVEN THE OCCASIONAL POLICEMAN

Joe Conolly isn’t the first policeman to have trained harness horses. The question was raised by trot fans after the Conolly trained ten year old All About Art, won the opening race at Penrith last week.

LISA KEPT HER FEET ON THE GROUND

LISA KEPT HER FEET ON THE GROUND

Had Lisa Miles not had an inherent love of the standardbred horse, she may have pursued a career with the RAAF. For the last seven years of her time at Melton’s Mowbray College, young Lisa Lewis was a member of the Air Training Corps.

BROOKE WILKINS IS INSPIRED BY THE DEEDS OF HER DAD, AND A GRANDFATHER SHE NEVER KNEW

BROOKE WILKINS IS INSPIRED BY THE DEEDS OF HER DAD, AND A GRANDFATHER SHE NEVER KNEW

The hereditary factor in the families of harness horsemen and horsewomen, has been prevalent since the sport began in Australia.

Twenty one year old Menangle trainer Brooke Wilkins, is a third generation trotting devotee.

THE DAY NORM STOLE THE NEW ZEALAND CUP FROM UNDER THEIR NOSES.

THE DAY NORM STOLE THE NEW ZEALAND CUP FROM UNDER THEIR NOSES.

Tiger Tara didn’t deserve to lose last week’s New Zealand Cup. The Aussie trained eight year old did enough work for three horses, before going under by a lousy head to The Fixer in the second fastest New Zealand Cup in history.

REBECCA AND SAN CARLO- VICTORIAN HARNESS RACING’S DYNAMIC DUO

REBECCA AND SAN CARLO-  VICTORIAN HARNESS RACING’S DYNAMIC DUO

The last few months of 2008 passed very slowly for a certain Shepparton schoolgirl, who couldn’t wait to follow her dream.

HARRY’S IN FOR THE LONG HAUL

HARRY’S IN FOR THE LONG HAUL

Harry Martin seems to have been around Sydney harness racing tracks forever, and was well ensconced when I trained and drove my very first horse, a two year old filly called Red Mittens. Harry had a filly called Miss Viscount at the same time, and I clearly recall going around with him in early trials, and in a race or two.

MACCA'S ALWAYS THERE TO LEND A HAND - The Glenn McElhinney Story

MACCA'S ALWAYS THERE TO LEND A HAND - The Glenn McElhinney Story

There’s nothing Glenn McElhinney enjoys more than driving a winner for one of the smaller stables. The veteran freelancer, always identifiable with his bright yellow helmet, has been a familiar face on Sydney tracks for more than four decades.

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

The Australian driving ranks produced some high achievers in the 2017/18 season. Drivers like Todd McCarthy (NSW), Danielle Hill (SA), Nathan Dawson (QLD), and Shannon Suvaljko (WA) all had stellar seasons, while Chris Alford (VIC) changed the course of trotting history.

FROM BATHURST TO BOLINDA WITH A FEW STOPS IN BETWEEN

FROM BATHURST TO BOLINDA WITH A FEW STOPS IN BETWEEN

“You can’t afford to be distracted by the power of a major stable”, says Victorian harness trainer Kari Males. “If you happen to be in a race where a major stable has three or four runners, you have to try even harder to have your horse at one hundred and ten per cent”.