Day At The Track

Brad breaks through for deserved victory

11:00 AM 12 Aug 2020 NZST
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Brad Walters and Petite Love,Harness racing
Brad Walters and Petite Love

Young Gippsland trainer Brad Walters has had very few starters in recent years, but he's a more than familiar face around harness racing circles in the region.

The 28-year-old Warragul track curator and raceday staffer is the sort of guy that most country clubs rely on. Put simply: if there's something that needs doing or a role to fill, he's the go-to man.

But last Sunday at Cranbourne, he also showed his training prowess when he landed his first winner in Petite Love (Repeat Love (Fra)-Micro Chip NZ (Pine Chip US). The brown mare, bred and owned by Yabby Dam Farms, near Ballarat, and raced on lease by Walters, took out the Aldebaran Park Trot.

"We thought she would be a good chance going on her previous run at Melton. She was inconvenienced, but did well to run sixth at huge odds," he said.

"I'd had Lance (Justice) on for the first time there and I was happy to have him again at Cranbourne-and it all turned out nicely."

Lance Justice crosses the line with Petite Love – the first win for trainer Brad Walters

Walters said it was just his fourth start with the square gaiter, who was previously prepared by his close friend Mick Hughes.

"I train at Mick's place, which is out Garfield way and he's been a great help. I'm so lucky, because he's an outstanding horseman and always has a handy one in his team," he said.

Walters has had just two other horses prior to Petite Love.

"I mucked around a bit with them. I think they probably only had 10 starts between them, but I couldn't find the secret, so they got moved on," he said.

Walters said while attending school, he always had it in his mind that he wanted to be a motor mechanic.

"I did work experience, but the boss of the place sort of hinted that perhaps I may have been better suited to another trade. So I didn't pursue that career," he said.

"Then I heard about the Gippsland Harness Training Centre. I liked horses so I decided to give that a go. I completed that probably 10 years ago and then got my trainer's licence about five years ago.

"Jenny Lewis is in charge and I'm sometimes back at the centre whenever they need a helping hand. I'd fully recommend the training course to anyone interested in getting involved in harness racing-it's just perfect to get a good grounding."

Walters later worked in north east Victoria's Strathbogie Ranges for Bill and Anne Anderson at Lauriston Bloodstock, one of Victoria's leading yearling sale vendors.

"That was a great experience. I worked with their horses and also did a lot of ground maintenance and that sort of thing. In other words, whatever needed doing!" he said.

Since returning to his home region, Walters has been a huge part of the local harness racing scene at the Warragul club, as well as helping out at nearby Cranbourne.

Walters said he had a crack at race driving and enjoyed it.

"I drive now and again at the trials, but I learnt pretty quickly that on race day it's just for the professionals," he laughed.


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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