Day At The Track

A shot at Guitar glory for Tamworth visitor

05:46 PM 21 Jan 2016 NZDT
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Harness racing trainer Bill Lesslie has been making his annual trip from Dubbo to Tamworth for more than 30 years. Lesslie enjoys getting to the country music festival each year, enjoys camping out on the track, catching up with his friends and throwing a horse on the float to make the trip worthwhile.

This is set to become Lesslie's most memorable year as he has qualified a runner for Tamworth's feature event - Pryde's Easifeed Golden Guitar. Zodiac Dream will represent the Lesslie stable in the $25,500 final and it will be the first time in nearly two decades Bill has had a runner in the event.

"I've been making the trip for as long as I can remember, I really enjoy it because we camp out at the racetrack and we catch up with the crew from Queensland every year, listen to some music and go to the races - it doesn't get better," Lesslie said.

"I always bring a horse up, Albaglen Bay won a heat for me in 1998 but we came back the next day in the final and finished eighth. This year Zodiac Dream has drawn well and although it is a strong race I think he's got a good chance."

Zodiac Dream has won his last four starts for Lesslie but there was never a preconceived plan to target the Golden Guitar with the four year old.

"He started his career in Sydney with the Fitzpatrick stable, he actually arrived at my place while I was away in Tamworth last year and was waiting for me when I got home.

"He has always shown me that he has had ability, but I thought it was going to take me a little bit longer to get him going as well as he can. I thought he might hit his straps as a five year old."

Zodiac Dream will be driven by Bathurst reinsman Nathan Turnbull and while it will be his first drive on the son of Four Starzzz Shark, Lesslie has had success with him in the past.

"I think Nathan has had one drive for me for one win so that will do me, it is the strongest Golden Guitar I've seen and there are so many chances in it.

"While barrier one is a great draw there are five horses drawn wider that will want to cross him so he's going to have to be ready to run the best race of his life."

When asked what sort of celebration would be organised if Zodiac Dream did happen to win, Lesslie responded:

"I don't know when I'd see Dubbo again, it would be a pretty big party that's for sure."

The Golden Guitar is race six at Tamworth on Friday night and is scheduled to begin at 9:10pm.

Greg Hayes

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