Day At The Track

Youngsters crack it for first metro win

09:30 AM 16 Sep 2020 NZST
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Young Albury harness racing couple Thomas Gilligan and Brooke McPherson after their first Menangle metropolitan win,Harness racing
Young Albury harness racing couple Thomas Gilligan and Brooke McPherson after their first Menangle metropolitan win
Club Menangle

A young harness racing trainer and driver combination from Albury has delivered a knockout blow in the big smoke-with the help of an ounce of luck.

Talented reinsman Thomas Gilligan and his fiancée Brooke McPherson, who is the trainer, made the 10-hour round trip to Menangle with their six-year-old gelding Rusty Crackers last Saturday night and come up trumps at 12/1.

"It was unreal and a huge thrill because it was our first metropolitan winner. But it did all pan out beautifully for us," a jubilant Gilligan said.

"The horse travelled brilliantly in the run and dug deep when he had to over the final stages. I was so lucky to get off the fence and into the clear."

After easing off the gate at the start, Gilligan settled four back on the pegs. He angled off on the home corner and come home four wide with a wet sail to snatch victory right on the line.

Watch the replay click here.

Rusty Crackers (Dawn Of A New Day-Dilingers Comment (D M Dilinger) got the judge's verdict by a half neck from Air Time (Jack Callaghan) in a PB of 1.51-4.

Gilligan said before the victory, Rusty Crackers had raced at Menangle six times, with a second and a third in the past five weeks being the best result.

"I can tell you that I was well and truly in the good books on the way home, but Rusty Crackers is definitely the pin up boy at the moment," he said

"Brooke has really persevered with the horse and it has taken a lot of starts to get him to hit his straps."

Rusty Crackers and proud trainer Brooke McPherson (Photograph Club Menangle)

Gilligan is a farrier by trade and a third-generation horseman in the sport, following in the footsteps of his father Shane and his late grandfather Ron.

The young couple have a team of three in training at the moment.

"We've both got full-time work, so it's impossible to have too many going around," he said.

"But it was a pretty exciting night and hopefully we might have another trip to the city on the cards soon."

Rusty Crackers has now won 14 races with 18 placings since joining the McPherson stable. Included in those wins was the Temora Pacers Cup and Iron Jack Wagga Pacers Cup earlier this year. The latest win took his earnings over the $100,000 mark.

Gilligan has previously tasted success at Menangle - but admits to being a bit "rusty" on some of the finer details.

"It has seemed to take a bit to get used to the style of racing at Menangle-in saying that I mean for both horse and driver!" Gilligan laughed.

"I competed in a Rising Star series for young drivers about seven or eight years ago and was lucky enough to get the chocolates," he said.

"But I still had to ask someone last Saturday where I had to go back to scale after winning. I was getting photographs taken and sort of forgot where I had to circle back to. Anyway, I got there in the end-it was somewhere near the winning post!"


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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