Day At The Track

Gippsland graduate right at home with harness racing

03:05 PM 09 Jul 2019 NZST
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Rich Cashman, harness racing
Winners are grinners! Part owners Trevor Welgus and Paul Curtain with Shannon O’Sullivan and Rick Cashman after Danman’s win

When competitive sportsman Rick Cashman decided the time was right to give away football and cricket, he desperately wanted to focus on something else.

"In the end it was probably an easy decision to get involved 'hands on' in harness racing because I'd owned a few horses with well-known personality Rob Auber," Cashman said.

"But the idea of training my own stable of horses and perhaps one day driving them really did appeal," he said.

"So aged 43 years, I took leave from my public service job and went and did the course offered at Warragul's Gippsland Harness Training Centre."

Cashman graduated from the centre 11 months later, and described the course as "absolutely awesome".

"I'd attend most days from 7am to 1pm and I just cannot speak highly enough of the thorough way all aspects of harness racing were covered. It's a fantastic opportunity," he said.

"When I did it, the co-ordinator was Des Hughes, with the training teacher being Chris Hunter and they were brilliant. There were also others you could turn to, like veteran horseman Gordon Turner."

And now Cashman is one of a number of trainers based at the Cranbourne Harness Training Centre complex, which he describes as "a great amenity with everything a horse trainer would want".

"I only live 10 minutes from the track, but I'm up at 4.30 most mornings to do the horses and then it's off to my job in the taxation office."

Eight-year-old gelding Danman (Village Jasper-Ritzy Emm (Armbro Operative) caused a huge boil over at his home track on Sunday for Cashman, being the 25/1 rank outsider in the SBG Accountants & Business Advisors Pace.

"His fast work leading up to the race was quite good. I don't get ahead of myself with him however as he played up at the start in his previous run, and was always off the bit," Cashman said.

"But when my driver Shannon O'Sullivan was able to zip across early and grab the one-out and one-back spot, my confidence was up a little," he said.

"On the home turn he looked like he was struggling, but he puts his head down over the last 100 metres and kept coming."

Hobby trainer Cashman and a group of friends leased Danman as an unraced four-year-old from the horse's owner Trevor Reid.

"He ran second on debut then was lucky enough to win and get the bonus for Trevor. He's now won 12 races and has been a great learning horse for me," he said.

"I got to know Trevor through his work - he does fencing and did some work at our place. We later purchased Dansbro (Elsu-Ritzy Emm) from Trevor, a half-brother to Danman."

Dansbro has gone on to record six wins (all courtesy of reinsman Greg Sugars) and three placings from 20 starts.

Cashman was also full of praise for junior driver O'Sullivan, who is based at Heathcote. The youngster, studying a Bachelor of Exercise Science at La Trobe Uni, Bendigo, is daughter of legendary horseman and Gordon Rothacker Medallist, Jim O'Sullivan.

"Shannon has now driven 18 winners, three of those on old Danman, and looks to have a bright driving career ahead of her," he said.

Cashman is now aiming his pair of talented pacers for a tilt at an upcoming Melton meeting.

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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