Leading Queensland harness racing trainer-driver Darrel Graham is looking to end the season on a high.
Graham, enjoying his best season to date, prepares giant pacer Montana Falcon who lines up in the $20,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final at Albion Park this Saturday night.
The talented Falcon Seelster gelding looked sharp winning his heat on Tuesday in strong time of 1;54.9 and looms as a major threat in the final despite drawing wide in gate six.
“It’s been a long road back for him because we actually removed his splint bone after a training mishap one day but I was really happy with his effort on Tuesday, hopefully with a bit of luck we can take the final which would cap a great season for the stable.” Graham said.
The Fernvale based conditioner has prepared over 125 winners this season highlighted by big seasons from stable stars Montana Marie (16 wins) and Emperor Montana (10 wins).
Another plus for the stable has been the emergence of young New Zealand horseman Adam Sanderson who has enjoyed his best season with 85 victories including his Gr.2 $75,000 Nursery Pace Final triumph aboard Montana Marie back in May.
The wins for Graham in the sulky this season have also flowed with 80 winners to date.
“It’s been a terrific season and the results have been very pleasing in many aspects but it’s a team effort and I must pay tribute to my staff that has done a fantastic job.
We didn’t travel as much this term compared to previous seasons which have obviously kept the home fires burning. We’ve had a bit of luck picking up a few feature events this season and hopefully we can keep adding to that tally in the new season because I’m happy with the team going forward.
The obvious highlight this season was the emergence of Del (Montana Marie) who strung together 12 straight victories while the disappoint of the year was the forced retirement of Lanercost, that was a real shame because he was a freakish pacer but we’re all looking forward to working with his babies in the future.”
Leading owner and stable mainstay Dean Shannon is planning on supporting Lanercost strongly in his debut season at stud with at least half of his select band of broodmares set to head his way in the coming months.
With the change of season fast approaching, Graham and Shannon will conduct a clean-out next week with several pacers to be placed on the market.
“Dean instructed me to sort them out because the numbers were getting up and we’ll have at least 10 horses on the market next week.
We had a sale about two years ago now and those horses from that sale ended up doing a good job including the likes of Montana Pablo and White Eye Markei to name a few but with Dean keen on the breeding side we have to keep things on an even keel.”
by Chris Barsby (Courtesy of Harness Racing Australia)