Day At The Track

Long drought ends for locals

08:10 PM 24 Dec 2019 NZDT
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Stephanie Walton and Wayne Evans,Harness racomg
Stephanie Walton and Wayne Evans with Bushi after the horse won at Warragul on Sunday
The win of eleven-year-old pacer Bushi at Sunday's Warragul trots meeting was a drought breaker in more ways than one.
Significantly it was the first time a horse trained in the Latrobe Valley has recorded a victory in at least two decades.
The region once boasted its own racing club, racetrack and group of grassroots participants, however only a few have continued to dabble in training horses there since the Traralgon club closed down in 1995.
Wayne Evans is a relatively recent addition to local training ranks, having returned home to train from a property at Tyers, north of Traralgon, after some years away in the north east of the state.
His family has a lengthy involvement in trotting, and Wayne and his daughter Stephanie prepare Bushi, which scored its first win in exactly 366 days on Sunday.
It was also Wayne's first training win since 1998, though he has had only a handful of horses to the races in that time.
Stephanie assists at the Gippsland Harness Training Centre, and Christmas came early for the family with Bushi's twelfth win coming at start 129.
Another local, Michelle Phillips, now based away from Gippsland, returned home to drive her first winner at Warragul with Run Myles Run in the first race on Sunday.
Greg Sugars drove four winners on the day, including Doug which won the feature $10,000 Trotters Cup.
The consistent four-year-old is trained by Greg and his wife Jess and beat Trafalgar trotter Sovereign Minx.
Top horseman Chris Alford recorded winning drive 100 less than fourth months into the season when Rocktagonal won the fourth race on Sunday.
The race meeting saw fast times recorded in all events, and officials were pleased with the attendance despite clashes from Sale races and Big Bash cricket in Moe.
Kyle Galley
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