Day At The Track

Czernyson in Melbourne for Great Southern Star

10:55 AM 16 Mar 2014 NZDT
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Jonas Czernyson ready for action
Jonas Czernyson ready for action

One of three international guests heading to Melbourne to experience the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night on Saturday, March 22, will be Swedish-born, North American-based harness racing trainer Jonas Czernyson.

To followers of US trotting, Czernyson’s name needs little introduction.

Long considered one of the world’s leading horsemen, the 40-year-old trainer will be a keen observer at Melton’s Tabcorp Park as the spotlight turns to the Australian trotting industry’s night of nights.

Czernyson will join recently retired American-based jockey Chantal Sutherland and star US reinsman Corey Callahan as Harness Racing Victoria’s international guests on the night.

While he is not bringing any horses Down Under with him this time, Czernyson’s knack for training big-race winners will have him licking his lips at the thought of one day contesting an Australian Group 1.

And he is certainly no stranger to the big stage, having won some of the US’s biggest races – with his horses pocketing tens of millions of dollars US in stake money –during a sublime career spanning some 22 years.

In addition to attending the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star night Czernyson will experience other Victorian institutions during his visit, including a trip to the famed Healesville Sanctuary, lunch in the Yarra Valley and an AFL football match at Etihad Stadium.

The star trainer will also visit Aldebaran Park in Nagambie and the state-of-the-art Cranbourne Harness Racing Training Centre before attending the Australian Premier Trotting Sales yearling sales next Sunday.

Czernyson’s story is proof one does not have to have grown up in a “harness racing family” to succeed in the sport.

Czernyson grew up with his father a handyman and his mother a nurse. Czernyson became a welder.

He told media in 2008 that his affinity to working with steel held him in good stead as a harness racing trainer in terms of shoeing horses.

At age 18 he headed to the States and went to work with Don Swick at the South Florida Trotting Centre.

He planned on staying in the US for just six months, but 22 years later he hasn’t left.

He had a nine-year stint working with renowned trainer Per Eriksson, where he was associated with top horses such as Giant Force, Credit Winner, Dream Of Joy and Giant Mermaid.

When Eriksson returned to his native homeland in Scandinavia in 2001, Czneryson decided to set up his own operation with initially seven horses in work.

That number quickly grew and in 2005 the trainer scored his first $750,000 Hambletonian Oaks win with Jalopy.

He has since scored a host of big-race wins and secured his place among the sport’s elite.

Harness Racing Victoria

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