Day At The Track

He's super busy, but wearing a big smile

11:01 AM 19 Jun 2020 NZST
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(L-R) Wayne, Ben, Mark and Tim Yole, harness racing
Happy to be back in action: (L-R) Wayne, Ben, Mark and Tim Yole

Tasmania's leading harness racing trainer Ben Yole is going to be extra busy over the next three days-but he couldn't be happier!

Yole, based at Sidmouth, near Launceston, will compete with a massive 70 horses at two meetings. He kicks off with a team of 13 at Hobart tonight, and then his representatives swell to a mind-boggling 57 at Launceston on Sunday.

But keeping it in perspective, big numbers are nothing new for the Yole stable. On average they could have anywhere between 75 and 85 horses on their books, and take around 40 to the races.

"We have plenty of staff on hand at the race meetings-everyone knows their role so it's pretty good. All of our horses have their own set of harness and we get to the meetings with probably three hours to spare," Yole said.

"I guess preparations for the night meetings always start around lunch-time. We have plenty of transport options in four trucks and a heap of floats to get them to the track."

Tasmania conducted its first meeting last Sunday at Hobart since harness racing ground to a halt on the Apple Isle at the end of March due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Yole took 34 to the Hobart twilight fixture last weekend and returned home with a winning double. Eight-year-old brown mare Pink Ponder (Ponder-Raiderofthelostark (Courage Under Fire) was successful for Mark Yole, while evergreen gelding Altana Blue (Stonebridge Regal-Amarillo Blue (Million To One) was an easy winner for Troy McDonald.

Yole told TasRacing leading up to the comeback meeting, it had been tough to plan anything too far ahead with the horses.

"There was a bit of stop-start stuff. They were all set to go at one stage, then we were told the return to racing had been delayed by another five weeks. So we probably all backed off and then had to rev them up again to get them somewhere near their peak," he said.

"They've been having trials for the past four weeks. I have managed to get at least one run under the belt of most of our team at either Hobart, Launceston or Devonport so we're happy with that."

Yole has been the leading trainer in Tasmania for the past four seasons and currently has 105 winners this season (and undoubtedly many more to come yet, with the season being extended from the usual end of August, to the end of December).

Yole, who grew up in the Victorian country town of Hamilton, has been a powerhouse particularly over the past five or six years. In the 2015-16 season, he became the first Tasmanian trainer in 20 years to record 100 winners.

The following season he broke the record with 124 victories--and equalled that in the 2017-18 season. Yole raised the bar last season with 182 winners, which set a State record for both equine codes of racing.

"The 2015-16 season was our first big one. We'd finally got our own property by then and had a nice team including lots of bread and butter horses," Yole said.

"Our place was an old dairy farm. There's 50 acres and we've got our own track, swimming facilities and plenty of big paddocks because we don't have stables," he said.

"We rent a bush property next door and we use this when we want to give the horses an easy day. Over the years we've worked out that keeping their workload down a little is better.

"There's now a lot of steadier and slower work, although there's times when we gallop them up a bit."

The Yole stable is made up of a strong backbone of family support. There's Ben and Catherine; Ben's brothers Tim and Mark; as well has Mark's wife Dani; and their parents Wayne and Louise. Mark is the stable's number one driver and Tim is stable foreman and "Mr Fix-it".

"In my opinion, there's not too many better drivers than Mark. He does a good job and rarely puts a foot wrong. Tim keeps the stable ticking along and without him, we wouldn't be operating. He works the horses, puts shoes on and anything else that needs doing," Ben said.

"Last season we sent him across to Victoria with some horses for a while and he ended up with 20 winners. I was just so rapt for him.

"I think we showed that we don't do a bad job and got some respect from trainers over there. We had pencilled in another campaign at the end of July, but we'll have to wait and see on that one."

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P 0498 490 672

 

E hello@newsalertpr.com.au

 

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