Day At The Track

Kelly opens up her winning account

10:15 AM 07 Sep 2020 NZST
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Claudy An Gus was driven by Joe Pace who had a night out with a winning treble,Harness racing
Claudy An Gus was driven by Joe Pace who had a night out with a winning treble

Former Kiwi horsewoman Kelly Stuart-Mitchell has been associated with many harness racing winners over the years-but she says nothing beats getting your very own!

"I can't believe how pumped I was. It was really exciting and such a great feeling to train my first winner," she said.

The win came at just start number four for the new trainer, who has held a trainer's licence for only two months.

Kelly, now based at Melton, near Melbourne, said she had built up a bit of confidence on her way to the Cranbourne meeting with square-gaiter Claudy An Gus last Thursday.

"He performed nicely at two trials beforehand and I like him a lot," she said.

Having his first start for his new stable, Claudy An Gus (Angus Hall-All Finesse (Wind Cries Maori) didn't miss a beat for reinsman Joe Pace, scoring by nearly three metres over Abitofadreamer (John Justice) with daylight to the rest of the runners.

Watch the race replay click here!

"Joe thought that John's horse would be the hardest to beat so we were keen to be in front of it from the start. Thankfully that's the way it turned out and it was probably a winning move," Kelly said.

"It was great for Joe to get the win because he hasn't driven many trotters over the years. He was rapt."

Pace had a night to remember as he also posted victories with two horses from his own stable.

He was successful with talented three-year-old Wheres Seggy (Hurrikane Kingcole-Spirit Of Fun (McArdle) and later got the money with well-bred filly Diamond Party (Art Major-Isabella Anvil (Christian Cullen).

It was a driving treble for the Harkness horseman for the second time of his career.

"We're based at Joe's stables and we travelled to Cranbourne in the same vehicle, so there was plenty of fun and laughs on the way home," Kelly said.

"My parents back in New Zealand watched the win and they were over the moon. Mum must have been yelling because she asked me whether I could hear her!" she said.

"My partner Darren Aitken is involved as an owner so that's pretty special and there's also a few others so I can guarantee there will be a belated party in honor of my first training win when the coronavirus restrictions are lifted. But on Thursday I think I managed two drinks when we got home, and that was it for me."

Claudy An Gus was bred by well-known Shepparton breeder and media personality Gus Underwood.

"The dam All Finesse has produced two other smart performers in Claudys Princess and Claudys Prince. They won something like 34 races between them for over $500K in stakemoney," Kelly said.

Kelly has had an impressive grounding over the years. Her father Robert was a highly renowned and successful trainer, while brother Todd has also built a great reputation as a trainer-driver. She also worked for such industry leaders as Barry Purdon, Andy and Kate Gath and WA's Greg and Skye Bond.


Kelly Stuart-Mitchell with Claudy An Gus

Kelly currently has a team of three in work.

"I love doing the horses and you keep learning all the time. There's another couple in the paddock that are due to come back in. I didn't plan it, but they are all square-gaiters," she said.

"Perhaps it's a bit of my dad's influence, because he loved them when he was a trainer."

Kelly recently took over the training of trotting mare Galleons Glory, who had been prepared by Andy Gath after he purchased the horse from New Zealand.

"We were part of the ownership group and she was an Addington winner back home before we got her. Andy did a super job because she's got a few issues," Kelly said.

"He just decided that a change in scenery might turn her around a little. I'm really happy because I know I can just pick up the phone and call Andy if I need to speak to him.

"We had no luck at all with her at her first start, but we're hoping she can regain her form."

Kelly said while she was thoroughly enjoying her stable of trotters, she would always welcome the opportunity of training a pacer.

"It's just sort of worked out this way. I'd love to have some pacers in the stable, though...I just might have to learn again how to harness one up!" she joked.

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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