Day At The Track

25-year-old is set to live the Elitlopp dream

10:23 AM 23 Sep 2011 NZST
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Chris Lang Jr and his girlfriend Chris Lang Jr.   Chris Lang Jr with Let me Thru Chris Lang Jr and Let Me Thru Chris Lang Jr with his father Chris Chris Lang Jr. Chris Lang Jr. Chris Lang Jr. - all Elton Johned up
Chris Lang Jr and his girlfriend - Hayley Toulmin
Chris Lang Jr. - With eight Group One victories already under his belt
Chris Lang Jr with Let me Thru - And Sky Valley at Karoitahi Beach in Waiuku New Zealand
Chris Lang Jr and Let Me Thru
Chris Lang Jr with his father Chris
Chris Lang Jr. - Works six of his own horses on his father’s property
Chris Lang Jr. - After his 2011 Interdominion heat win with Let me Thru
Chris Lang Jr. - all Elton Johned up
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Chris Lang Jr is one of the new forces to be reckoned with on the Australian harness racing scene, but the talented 25-year-old also wants people to know that he is a public trainer and keen to make a name for himself as an equine conditioner.

“Winning races is great but it’s not half as satisfying as training and then driving your own horse to victory. It takes a lot of work to get a horse to the racetrack and then to win – it's a great feeling to achieve that.

“Sure I love driving but I think most people only know me as Chris Lang Jr - the driver. I want them to know that I can both train and drive,” Lang Jr told Harnesslink.

C. A. (Chris) Lang is the grandson of legendary Australian horseman Graeme Lang, nephew of one of Australia’s best reinsmen Gavin Lang, and son of multiple Inter dominion winning trainer/driver – C. W. (Chris) Lang.

Lang Jr works six of his own horses on his father’s property at Melton. Lang Sr works between 20 and 25 including trotting giants Sundons Gift and Let Me Thru.

Lang said unlike New Zealand, Australian trainers could not go into partnership.

“If that was permitted I’d probably be training with my father now, but one day I’ll probably take over the training, but Dad will always be close by. I've learnt so much from him,” Lang Jr said.

“But at this stage of my career it is important to me that I expand my own team,” he added.

It would be foolish for the younger Lang to leave the family property. Their stable is one of the best in Australasia.

They boast a 3.2km (two miles) square shaped track with four large straights including a heavy sand surface and a race surface back and front straight.

With eight Group One victories already under his belt, Lang Jr now has two burning ambitions to fulfil in 2012.

“Let Me Thru has been invited to compete in the prestigious Elitlopp Trot in Sweden next May and it will be a dream come true just to drive in it, let alone win it.

“Dad’s been there with Sundons Gift and I can’t wait for Let Me Thru to show his stuff over there,” Lang Jr said.

The Melbourne-born horseman would also love to win the last ever Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final in Australia next year.

“It will be the last one before they revamp it into an international trot which will see horses from all over the world coming 'Down Under' to compete. We were favourites this year and I really want to go one better in 2012,” he said.

Let Me Thru and Lang Jr were denied by I Can Doosit in this year’s Interdom Final in Auckland. They went into the race with three wins at Alexandra Park.

“He’s the type of horse who is just going to get better with age. Maybe we can come back and settle the score in the Rowe Cup one day,” Lang Jr said.

Although Sundons Gift and Let Me Thru are the Lang stable stars, Junior said he regarded stallion Skyvalley as the best horse he had driven.

“He’s a sire now but he was an amazing trotter who won 24 of his 47 starts. The other two horses are very good but Skyvalley had the X-factor. It was a shame his career was cut short with injury.”

Lang Jr regarded this year’s Australasian Trotting Championship Final at Melton’s Tabcorp Park as his most satisfying win.

“It’s one I’ll remember because we beat some good horses like I Can Doosit, Down Under Muscles and Miss Warbucks.”

And speaking of the former Kiwi trotter Miss Warbucks, the Langs recently bought her largely for breeding purposes.

“She’s a nice trotter – probably one of the best trotting mares in Australia. I think she is a great investment.”

Lang has always wanted to follow his family into harness racing. He said he didn’t pay much attention at school simply because he couldn’t wait to get amongst the horses.

“I left school as soon as I got my A-grade driving license. I jogged them at an early age and after I got the bug it’s all I wanted to do. Ironically my younger brother Michael isn’t interested in harness racing.”

The Langs are renowned for their ability to turn trotters into champions, but Lang Jr said he would like to have just as many pacers – if not more – in his growing stable.

“Pacing makes up 70 per cent of our racing here and that’s a big chunk of the racing pie. There’s a lot of money to be made here with pacers and it’s one aspect of the industry I want to get into a lot more,” he said.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

                            

                                     

                                           

Chris Lang Jr’s most memorable triumph to date – winning the 2011 Australasian Trotting Championship Final at Melton’s Tabcorp Park:

Skyvalley’s last win at Melton’s Tabcorp Park on December 11, 2009, before being retired. Chris Lang Jr is in the bike.

Let Me Thru and Chris Lang Jr winning the second heat of the 2011 Interdominion Trotters Grand Final at Alexandra Park on April 1, 2011:

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