Day At The Track

Adam's back with a vengeance

04:00 PM 24 Jul 2019 NZST
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Adam Shaw
Adam Shaw – back in the sport after 15 years

When Adam Shaw got a job about 15 years ago working on a farm near Melton, just outside of Melbourne, his promising harness racing career took a back seat.

"My dad and grandfather had a farm when I was a kid and I always thought I wanted to do the same. I still kept involved with horses, but it was through rodeo competitions," Shaw said.

"It was kind of always in the back of my mind to one day return to harness racing because I did enjoy it," he said.

And that opportunity first gathered momentum last year when Shaw successfully completed 10 trial drives and regained his driver's licence.

Fast forward to a recent Warragul meeting, at only his fifth race drive back, and Shaw showed he hadn't lost touch with an impressive victory with four-year-old Smart Little Shard (Smiling Shard-Jules Hanover (Holmes Hanover) in the $7000 Toyota Pace.

To watch the video replay click here.

The driving engagement came through helping out trainer John "Bulldog" Nicholson, who prepares his team at a property neighboring the farm where Shaw works.

"I've known 'Bulldog' for many years, and I was doing trackwork, just to keep my hand in, as well as a heap of shoeing and some breaking-in," Shaw said.

"I was keen to do well. I just didn't want any dramas because I'd fallen out twice in the early days of my career at Warragul. I didn't tell anyone before the race because I didn't want to be a jinx," he said.

"On the positive side, I had driven a winner there though, back in the day.

"Hopefully with the win I might've been promoted to second string stable driver, because there's a few others above me!

Winners are grinners! Adam Shaw didn’t waste much time notching up a first win back.

"But, seriously, I've got the attitude that I'm about if I'm needed. It's early days, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it this time around."

Shaw said he initially got into harness racing through his parents being friends with well-known studmaster, trainer-driver Bill Le Sueur and his wife Merrilee, who run Pine Lodge Stud at Oaklands Junction.

"I left school when I was 16 and my dad told me I'd better go and help Bill. I learnt a lot and went from training to race driving. I won at my first two drives at Echuca and Geelong with the same horse in Current Assets.

"I thought how easy is this caper?! Of course, I found out that it wasn't always that easy. But I did go on and drive probably about 20 winners. It was a great grounding under Bill and I later worked with Stephen Dove at the Knight stables at Kilmore and his legendary father, Don.

"There were good times with all of them and I actually drove my first and only double when I was working for Don Dove."

Over the past 20 years, Shaw has been involved with rodeo events, including bull riding, barrel racing and team roping.

"I've been tangled up with that on most weekends. I've always loved the rodeo, probably going back to my early 20s," he said.

"I still do the team roping now whenever I can."

Team roping is also known as "heading" or "heeling" a steer with two mounted riders - the header has the job of roping the steer to allow the heeler to rope the animal's back legs.

Shaw said his farm job involved running a property of 1000 acres all under irrigation, through a recycled system, growing lucerne, running sheep and cattle, as well as agistment.

"I thought it would be okay when I took it on. It was only part-time, but I'm still here and enjoying it," he said.

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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