Bigga harness racing trainer Dennis Picker is planning on more trips to Queensland in the future with a team of horses after an amazing run of success recently north of the border. Picker has won eight races during his time away and it has also allowed him a chance to sell some of his horses to Queensland clients which has made the trip even more profitable.
"I had always spoken about making the trip to Queensland during the winter to race a few and sell a few on but I had never followed through with my plans until this year," Picker said.
"I've been training out of the Tweed Heads showground and travelling up to the different tracks around Brisbane, I brought eight horses up with me and have sold three and am still looking to sell three more before I return home which might be in a fortnight, I will just wait and see what happens."
Picker is a sheep shearer and admits to having to turn down some work while he has been away.
"Normally I would be getting ready to start shearing so I've had to knock back a few jobs but that doesn't worry me too much because I've had some luck up here and I'm enjoying the break."
"Dad brought my horses up here for me while I was preparing Condagen for the Breeders Challenge series and that also gave me a chance to concentrate on my yearlings before they were all sent out for a break, so it has all worked out pretty well."
While Picker has been able to sell some horses he acknowledges that it hasn't been an easy task.
"It has been tough to sell them but in the end we have taken a bit less for them because they have been competing up here and have been earning some money."
"I had Zombie up for sale for $5,000, had no takers but he won the Rising Stars final on Saturday night and pocketed $12,000 so a few things have worked out nicely."
PANELLA BACK IN SYDNEY THIS WEEK
Talented driver Lauren Panella is looking forward to returning to Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night after travelling to Albion Park for the final two meetings of the Queensland Winter Carnival over the past fortnight. Panella drove Suave Stuey Lombo to victory in the Sunshine Sprint in track record time and she is hoping to return to Sydney on a winning note.
“This season has just been awesome, I’m riding the wave at the moment but in harness racing you can come down as quick as you went up so I’m just concentrating on driving the best I can this weekend at Menangle,” Panella said.
“I will be driving Saucy Legend and Essbee Doubleyou in the two Gr. 3 races on Saturday night, I get on with both of them and I think they both can perform really well.”
Saucy Legend won last Saturday night and despite drawing barrier ten in the Winter Cup, Panella is expecting another big performance from the George Stamiris prepared gelding.
“George has done a great job with Saucy Legend, he is a really happy horse and he enjoys being out there which he has proved with some really strong runs lately, his run in the Len Smith Mile behind Gaius Caesar was really good but I’m just hoping the poor barrier doesn’t bring him undone.”
Essbee Doubleyou has drawn barrier 2 in the Bretsa’s 40th Birthday Final and Panella believes his chances increase when a female driver is booked to drive.
“He’s a ladies’ man, it’s funny, he just seems to go better for the female drivers and he is a horse that you need to get to know before you get the best out of him, he has drawn well, possesses some very good early speed and looks a good chance in a very tough race.”
Panella has a busy weekend planned because she will head to Goulburn on Sunday afternoon for the Regional Finals of the Breeders Challenge after Menangle on Saturday night.
Courtesy of Harness Racing NSW