Day At The Track

Bathurst HRC awards

07:33 AM 16 Oct 2018 NZDT
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What A Jolt connections,Harness racing
Connections of Bathurst Harness Racing Club of the Year, What A Jolt.

ALL of the action took place inside the Clubhouse when the awards for last season were presented at a highly enjoyable Gold Crown Paceway function last Friday.

Guests included Harness Racing New South Wales Chairman Rod Smith, Board Member Peter Nugent, Bathurst Regional Council Mayor Cr Graeme Hangar and NSW Owners Association representatives Peter and Marie Neil, the current Gold Crown Honourees.

The Chairman, in a brief address, touched on several current topics:  the $200,000 funding increase for the Gold Crown (which will provide four Group 1 finals in 2019, for the first time);  the decision to stage a  Group 1 series for both four and five-year-olds at Wagga next season (eligibilty for horses which were paid up as juveniles for the Bathurst Gold Crown) ; and the extension of the current drought assistance to participants.

He then made the presentation for Trainer of the Year to Steve Turnbull, who trained 63 winners, including five trebles, 15 doubles and Group wins with Art Series in the Gold Bracelet and NSW Regional Final.

Steve’s children Amanda and Mitchell completed a family trifecta of major premierships, by taking out the Senior and Junior Driver of the Year Awards respectively, to the evident pride and delight of their grandfather 'A.D.' Tony Turnbull, the legend himself.

Amanda’s 49 winners included five winners at one meeting, back in October 2017, the Soldiers Saddle Final, Oberon Cup, Sales Graduate Final and both feature wins by Art Series.

In making the presentation to Amanda, Mayor Hangar recalled his days as a teacher at Kelso High School, reminding Amanda that she still owed him a history assignment from back in Year Nine!

Amanda’s focus then was clearly on the future, and not writing about the past, and nothing’s changed since.

Mitchell was dux of a very strong class of Bathurst junior drivers  - the likes of McKayler Barnes, Justin Reynolds, Doug Hewitt and Jake Davis - with 17 wins for the season, which included a treble and several doubles. Three of his wins came courtesy of the Bathurst sprint lane.

HRNSW Board Member Peter Nugent made presentations for Horse and Juvenile Horse of the Year and UDR Trainer and Driver of the Year.

Bathurst couple Lester and Linda Hewitt accepted the trophy and rug for Horse of the Year. What A Jolt, a four-year-old Village Jolt gelding, registered seven wins during the season, including three consecutively at one point. Hewitt paid tribute to driver John O’Shea, who formed a strong connection with the horse, using his brilliant gate speed to advantage many times.

Jenny Turnbull, mother of Amanda, received the award for Juvenile Horse of the Year Shoobee Doo. The two-year-old Shoobees Place colt lined up at Bathurst seven times for four wins, which included heat and final of the Graeme Board Sales Graduate series, and a heat of the NSW Breeders Challenge.

Bathurst was a regular destination for a number of metropolitan stables last season, including KerryAnn Turner and Robbie Morris from Menangle, and the UDR Trainer and Driver winners, Cobbity-based Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy.

Luke drove a winner every 2.9 starts, including a number for other stables, while Craig was successful every 3.6 starts, with winners such as Majestic American, Blackened, Rocknroll Dude, Zahven Banner and Darkershadeofpale.

With Craig and Luke lining up with  Mach Doro in the following night’s Victoria Cup, the awards were collected on their behalf by Matt McCarthy, a Bathurst HRC director and the uncle of Luke.

Jake Davis, likewise, represented his grandparents Ray and Pat Davis in accepting their Owner of the Year award from NSWSOA representative Marie Neil.

The Davis family milk 650 cows twice a day at their Browns Creek dairy near Blayney, yet still find time to race a nice team of horses, mainly at Bathurst, the likes of Browns Creek Boy, Studleigh Kristen and two-year-old winners Nifty Studleigh and Rainbow Comet.

Jake, who expresses a hope of making a full-time career in harness racing, does most of the stable driving, alongside father Leigh and uncle Brett.

Art Major was acknowledged as the leading sire of winners at Bathurst, with 28 individual winners during the season.

Bernie Hewitt, runner-up in the Trainer and Senior Driver premierships, was acknowledged for his achievement in winning his first Bathurst Gold Crown, with College Chapel, and spoke about the outstanding season for the youngster, finishing with his hopes for the coming season.

Which was possibly the thought uppermost in most minds as folk headed home after this year’s awards.

 

Terry Neil

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