Day At The Track

Faye keen to go

06:00 PM 29 Dec 2016 NZDT
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Verhassten with trainer Faye McEwan.
Verhassten with trainer Faye McEwan.
Luke Hemer Photo

Local Echuca trainer Faye McEwan was eager to give Verhaasten a run at Echuca Harness Racing Club’s New Year Day meeting this Sunday.

But first she had to qualify at Elmore Harness Racing Club’s Boxing Day meeting with the heats determining the final pacers at Echuca’s twilight race event.

It would be the horse’s third start in a race and McEwan said Verhaasten was still learning the ropes.

‘‘She’s still very new to racing,’’ she said.

‘‘We have a driver from Tasmania, Josh Duggan, who is almost permanent for us and he will be driving her at Echuca.’’

Having been a trainer for a long time McEwan said she knew a lot when it came to the sport, having trained around 527 winners and being involved in harness racing all her life.

Her stable has dwindled in recent years to its current four horses in work, including Verhaasten, Cuban Fizz and two other young trotters.

‘‘At one stage my father, brother and I were working around 25 horses,’’ McEwan said.

‘‘I’ve scaled down a lot in the past years to not work very many these days.’’

She only placed horses in meetings where the classes would best suit her horse and said upgrades to tracks had made for a lot faster times in recent years.

‘‘There aren’t any easy races any more and most of the tracks being built are designed for speed,’’ she said.

‘‘In the past 12-18 months Echuca has spent a lot of money upgrading its track to make it much faster.’’

McEwan said the latest tracks made it difficult for many horses to compete against the top level trotters, which has restricted the places where those horses can race.

‘‘A lot of the time trainers simply have to move horses on to areas which are closer to the tracks most suited to them,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s financially not possible for trainers in this area to continue to travel interstate to places like Wagga and Albury for races, especially with the stake money being so low.’’

McEwan said the turnout for the meeting at Echuca would depend on the weather, but hoped for a large crowd.

‘‘The club goes to a lot of trouble to make it a special night and it would be great for people to bring along picnic tea and watch the racing up close,’’ she said.

By JESSICA GLEDHILL

Reprinted with permission of the www.riverineherald.com.au/ site

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