Day At The Track

Charlton lures another astute trainer

05:57 PM 11 Jan 2021 NZDT
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Trainer Shane Sanderson and son Ryan and family will make the move to Charlton either in February or March, Harness racing
Trainer Shane Sanderson and son Ryan and family will make the move to Charlton either in February or March

CHARLTON'S thriving harness racing training complex will soon be home to another new and exciting tenant.

Astute Menangle-based trainer Shane Sanderson has confirmed plans to relocate his stable and family to Charlton from either late February or early March.

Sanderson becomes the third out-of-town trainer in the last 20 months to establish base in the Buloke Shire town, following on the heels of Greg Norman, who moved to Charlton in mid-2019, and Michael Gadsden and Denbeigh Wade, who arrived midway through 2020.

He will bring with him an initial team of about a dozen horses, with the ambition to eventually grow that number to 20 and beyond.

Sanderson cited increased opportunities for his children Ryan - a talented young driver - and Abbey as a key factor behind the move to Charlton.

Ironically, it was an unfortunate race-injury to Ryan, sustained during a fall at Charlton last October, which opened the channels of communication between Sanderson and Charlton Harness Racing Club president Joey Thompson.

"I sort of met Joe when my son had that bad race fall at Charlton and he kept in contact with us and continued to have a bit to do with him," he said.

"We discussed that one day we might want to go to Victoria and Joe said, 'well, let me show you Charlton. The rest is history.

"Joe really left no stone unturned trying to get us there. We are certainly looking forward to it.

"We get our fair share of winners up here (in New South Wales) and have been reasonably successful. We don't have the big numbers like the top stables, but we'll get somewhere around the 40 to 60 winners a year. It's a pretty reasonable strike rate and we hold our own."

Sanderson, who started his training career in Queensland about 25 years ago, has been based at Menangle for the past four seasons.

He said he was unsure whether the best horse in his stable Whereyabinboppin would make the move south, but other handy types, including the free-for-aller Loorrim Creek - a winner of 20 of 84 starts, including at Group 3 level - and the promising Smokin Shazza would.

Two of the team already well-known to central Victorian harness racing enthusiasts are Leigha Miller and Flaming Fives.

Both were previously trained at Junortoun by Gary Donaldson and raced by the Bendigo Pacers syndicate, managed by Alan Prentice.

Sanderson could not be more impressed by his new location especially in relation to its relative proximity to most other Victorian tracks.

"We'd like to get a few more horses and hopefully place them well at some of the country tracks down in Victoria," he said.

"We don't have a lot of metro-grade horses, we have a few - maybe two or three - but the majority deserve to be on a country track.

"For the metro-grade horses, we can access Melton very easily too; I'd think from Charlton we could easily get to most tracks.

"With Greg Norman there (in Charlton) doing well and Mick Gadsden with 15-or-so horses, if we can get up to 20 or 30, it's going to be a busy place."

Sanderson will be accompanied to Charlton by his wife Naomi, son Ryan and daughter Abbey, who has only recently gained her trials driving licence.

Charlton club president Thompson said the latest influx of horses and personnel as a win-win for the harness racing club and town.

"Eighteen to 20 months ago we had no horses down at the training complex, but about 30 in town," he said.

"Now, when Shane turns up, he'll start with a minimum of 12 and we'll have about 45, with the potential to go up to about 60.

"The great thing is this is not just a win for the club, but it's a win for our community in Charlton with the influx of all these people."

He said the club would move quickly to build more facilities at the training complex to accommodate its newest tenants.


By Kieran Iles

Reprinted with permission of The Bendigo Advertiser

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