Day At The Track

Home time for happy Yole team

01:00 PM 08 Nov 2019 NZDT
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Ben Yole, his wife Catherine and son Hudson,Harness racing
Record-breaking trainer Ben Yole, his wife Catherine and son Hudson, 4, are with pacer Lake Eyre. The couple also celebrated the birth of Nixon three weeks ago
Stacey Lear photo

Tasmania's powerhouse Yole harness racing team is about to wrap up a successful three-month campaign in Victoria.

"We decided to dip our toe in the water and give it a real crack and we probably ended up with better results than we were expecting," an elated Ben Yole said.

"It's quite on the cards that we'll be back sometime early next year. We are now back to having two meetings per week of racing in Tasmania so we'll concentrate on that for a bit, and then sort it out," he said.

The Yole family team, comprising Ben and his brothers Mark and Tim, along with their father Wayne, are based at Sidmouth, a small rural community in the Western Tamar Valley region. It has a population of about 400 people and is 45 minutes north-west of Launceston.

"We campaigned with about 18 horses in Victoria, but some of them got off to a late start because they were crook for a little while," Yole said.

"That left around 35 back home in Tassie and our hard-working team of staff are doing a great job with them. Recently they've been competing well at Hobart and Devonport with big numbers," he said.


Handy pacer Tiwanaku scored at Melton last month for the Yole team and was claimed on Tuesday at Yarra Glen. He’s pictured with victorious driver Jack Laugher and stable representative Tim Yole          --Stuart McCormick photo

The Victorian statistics sit very nicely for the stable with Ben positioned in the top 10 on the trainer's premiership for the 2019-20 season. He has posted 15 wins, 18 seconds, 19 thirds and 25 fourths for over $100,000 in stakemoney.

"It's been a bit strange at times, because we've had more than our share of second placings - for instance, just recently we took three to Bendigo in Machitelli, Somedan and Shestryintactics and they were all runners-up!" Yole said.

"It has been a bit weird in that way, but we aren't complaining," he said.

"Our success was certainly due in a big part to the hospitality of friends Paul and Rosie Weidenbach, who are based near Shepparton. We trained out of there and they have super facilities."

Yole said he was "always on the lookout for other horses" and hoped to again build on numbers soon.

"We turned a few horses over during the campaign - some were sold, and we also had others that were claimed out of the claiming races. But in saying that, we have also ended up with four new ones," he said.

"I want to climb back up again - the stakes are great in Tasmania and there's plenty of worthwhile feature events coming up around Christmas-New Year."

Yole, previously based at Hamilton in Victoria, hasn't looked back since shifting to Tasmania over a decade ago.

He has been the leading trainer since 2015 and has passed the magical 100-winner mark every season since.

In the recently completed 2018-19 season he smashed all previous records with a sensational 181 winners in Tasmania. In addition, he finished second on 200 occasions, had 208 thirds and 249 fourths for over $1.2 million in earnings.

The Yole season figures represented an increase of a whopping 57 winners on the previous season and an extra 81 placings.

At last month's awards night, apart from Ben picking up the leading trainer trophy, brother Mark was leading driver (88 wins); junior driver Samantha Gangell was female driver of the year (29 wins); and Conor Crook took the junior driver's title (31 wins).

"We mix up our training routines by going to the beach as well as jogging on a number of different tracks we have on a bush property. We find it keeps them fresh as it's not the same old grind," Yole said.

"I'm lucky to have staff who are willing and dedicated. And of course, without our owners we wouldn't have the success we've enjoyed. Their support in buying new horses to add to our team enables us to keep ticking along."

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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