Day At The Track

Harding repaying the favour

08:26 AM 10 Jun 2016 NZST
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James Harding.jpg

Harness Racing Reinsman James Harding is hoping talented two year old pacer Sackheim can qualify for the Group 1 Alabar Breeders Challenge final for two year old colts and geldings on Saturday night at Tabcorp Park Menangle.

The gelding broke through for his maiden victory at Tamworth last week and Harding believes it would be very special if Sackheim could qualify for the rich final.

Harding spent time in the USA working for trainer Jimmy Takter and while there he lived with Hall Of Fame driver Ron Pierce. When it was time for the 21-year-old to return home Pierce wanted to help the young Australian and spoke to well known owner Carl Sackheim about becoming involved with the Harding stable.

"Mr Pierce asked Mr Sackheim if he would like to buy a horse for us in Australia and it all started from there," Harding said.

"I decided before I went to the sales I wanted to buy a Roll With Joe yearling because Mr Pierce drove him during his race career and I thought it would be a nice link. I had a look through the catalogue and I had him picked out."

When Harding arrived to look at the Roll With Joe yearling he was a little bit worried by his size.

"He was a little on the small side but he was very well put together so we purchased him and brought him home.

"I sent through his breeding to Mr Pierce and he said he liked what he saw on the page and hoped he would do a job. Initially I wanted to name him after Ron but he told me that he already had a few horses named after him in North America and that I should name him after Mr Sackheim so that's what I did."

Carl Sackheim is a prolific breeder and owner in New York who started up a court reporting business in 1980. He bought his first harness horse in the mid 70's and found his first stakes level performer in 1983. Sackheim's current pride and joy is three year old Another Daily Copy.

The barrier draw in Saturday night's semi final has been kind with Sackheim set to follow out race favourite Conviction from barrier one.

"The draw is perfect for us because we have drawn behind a good beginner that should be prominent. Sackheim has worked well during the week and we are expecting a good performance.

"He has only won the one race but in that win he was only 0.1 seconds outside the track record and most of his other races have been in good races like heats of the Bathurst Gold Crown and the Australian Pacing Gold."

The son of Roll With Joe had a short let up after the Australian Pacing Gold series and will continue to race on through the season.

"We want to keep him in work after the Breeders Challenge, we'll see how he goes but we'd like to see him win a few more before the end of the season."

Harding has been selected to compete in the Rising Stars Series at the end of the month and he is looking forward to the challenge.

"Everything is going really well at the moment, I drove my first treble at Tamworth and I've got the Rising Star Series coming up and I'm looking forward to that.

"At some stage I would love to head back to the USA and I'm sure I will get the opportunity again in the future but at the moment Dad (Geoff) has a good team of horses and I'm happy working them."

Greg Hayes

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