Day At The Track

Kate and Alex enjoy winning feeling

08:00 AM 29 Nov 2019 NZDT
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Resurgent Spirit,Harness racing
Stuart McCormick photo

Kate Hargreaves is burning the candle at both ends as she looks to make a real go of her harness racing dream.

The young horsewoman is combining training duties at her Shelbourne property with a career as a school teacher, and while that means long days and a lot of hard work, her efforts are paying off big time.

Hargreaves is in the midst of an outstanding season, with a brilliant strike rate of 14 winners from just 33 starters turning heads in the industry.

Her great start to the 2019-20 campaign comes on the back of a breakout 2018-19 season, when she registered 24 victories from 129 runners.

“It’s sort of something I like to pride myself on is having a good strike rate,” said Hargreaves, who works with her partner and top driver Alex Ashwood.

“We only have a small team and we don’t really have any stars in the team, so to have that many winners from so few starters, I’m pretty proud of that achievement.

“We like to place our horses where they can win, so it’s a credit to Alex, because he is the one doing all the travelling around the state.”

Hargreaves spent time as a youngster learning her craft under legendary trainer Peter Manning and idolised his daughter Kerryn for her feats in the sulky.

The former Stawell girl said at times it was hard to believe how far she had come.

“It really is a dream and that’s why I’m working so hard to get there. It’s something I wanted for my entire life, ever since I was a little girl,” Hargreaves said.

“To sort of be in the position I am now, it’s sometimes a bit unbelievable. I look around at my stables and I’ve got 22 horses all there and I’m getting these winners… it’s sometimes a bit far-fetched and I think how is this even real? It’s pretty awesome.”

Hargreaves will take three nice horses from her team to Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night in a bid to land some metropolitan grade success.

Two of those - Zazu and Lorimer Lady - will meet in the Avis Melton Pace (2240m, 4YO and older), while Wonga Lake will have her second career start in the Woodlands Stud 3YO Pace Final (1720m, NR 46-51).

Hargreaves said Zazu, who had his three-run picket fence spoiled when breaking gait at Mildura earlier this month, was favoured over Lorimer Lady, who also had a three-race winning sequence end at the same November 12 evening.

“I think Zazu is probably my best chance. He is drawn one, which really suits him because he has got a lot of gate speed and he can do work at both ends,” she said.

“He’ll be coming out trying to lead, he’s pretty quick and can rip up in a fast quarter, so I think he’s definitely a fantastic chance.”

Hargreaves said Wonga Lake, a filly by Western Terror, had been given a trial following her strong second on debut on November 7 and was “definitely a chance” despite an awkward barrier five draw.

The first event on Saturday night’s 11-race card kicks off at 6.02pm with the last to go at 11pm.

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HRV Trots Media - Tim O'Connor
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