Day At The Track

Hayden Barnes enjoying breakout season

04:48 AM 10 Apr 2015 NZST
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Hayden Barnes
Hayden Barnes has 69 lifetime wins to date

Young Queenslander Hayden Barnes is enjoying a breakout harness racing season.

The promising horseman is racking up his best numbers to date, driving with skill and poise while making the most of his opportunities come raceday.

In only his third season of race driving, Barnes has booted home 46 winners to date this season which includes victories in the recent Girls On Track Final at Albion Park behind Benazir Bhutto plus his triumph on foreign soil when successful aboard Millie Sampson at Alexandra Park, Auckland during the Australasian Young Guns Challenge last November.

Barnes is currently ranked equal fourth on the concession driver’s premiership table behind outstanding talent Narissa McMullen who has driven 69 winners to date.

This season, Barnes has taken 253 drives for 46 wins and 58 minor placings.

On Saturday night, Barnes has been presented with a wonderful opportunity when he will partner in-form pacer Bettor Draw.

The Bettors Delight gelding equaled the Albion Park 2138m track record with his stunning 1;54.0 victory after racing without cover on March 31.

Reigning Queensland Horse of the Year Avonnova is the co-owner of the track record.

“It’s a great thrill to be driving a horse like Bettor Draw, he’s clearly the best horse that I’ve driven to date and I’m thrilled that Narissa (McMullen – trainer) has put the faith in me.” Barnes said.

Bettor Draw must overcome a second-line draw in the Fiery Tan Pace over the 1660m while in-form rivals Medal Of Honour, Mista Mara, The King Of Swing and Livinthehighlife have all drawn the front-line.

Since being transferred to the care of McMullen, the seven-year-old gelding hasn’t missed a beat with placings in 9 of his 10 starts including a career best performance at Menangle in 1;51.9 three starts ago.

“I think he looks well placed in this field and hopefully we can push forward and get fairly close to the action early, his form at the sprint trip reads very strong.

“His winning effort last start was just unbelievable, he was a monster and I’m really looking forward to the challenge this weekend.”

Barnes is also listed to drive Skippy Saddler (Race 1), Western Union (Race 3) and his own runner Donegal Under Fire (Race 5).

He has trained 4 winners from 42 starters to date with his first winner coming with Alberts Flight last year while the other three winners all coming from Donegal Under Fire.

Barnes is currently employed by Chantal Turpin after spending his early days with Darrel Graham.

In fact, his first driving success came aboard the Graham trained Palazzo Las Vegas at Marburg on June 1, 2013.

After 449 drives, Barnes has 69 lifetime wins while being placed on another 100 occasions.

by Chris Barsby

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