Day At The Track

Tess Wilkes excited to race again

02:02 AM 04 Jun 2014 NZST
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Tess Wilkes - is returning to the race track after a twenty year break.

It has been twenty years since Tess Wilkes (nee Gleeson) has driven in harness races. The talented horsewoman has driven in more than 800 races in her career and after two decades away from the support decided the time was right to make a comeback to the sport she loves.

"My husband and I are working horses on our property at Rainbow Flat which is halfway between Forster and Taree. We have four gallopers and one pacer" Wilkes said.

"There is a trotting trainer who lives just around the corner and he had been at me to drive one of his horses in work just on the beach and I had been saying no, but I decided to have a go one day and fell in love with it all over again, it was like I had never left."

Wilkes was told she would need to compete in ten trials and has already driven in nine.

"Shane Tritton has been helping me out giving me a few drives. I will have my tenth trial drive later this week so I won't be far away from having my first drive back."

"The horse I'm training is called Kandidate, we bought him from Victoria. He has good early speed, he probably needs to toughen up a bit but I think that will come."

When Wilkes gave the sport away in 1994 she decided it was time to have a life away from harness racing.

"I did all the things I wanted to do. I got married, I had three beautiful kids and we went into a few different businesses but the love of horses was always going to be strong."

"Our property is thirty acres and we have spent a fair bit of time setting it up. Hopefully in time we will be able to build up the team, it would be nice to be training three or four."

By Greg Hayes - SKY Racing



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