Day At The Track

Maddie's magical milestone

03:22 PM 03 Oct 2014 NZDT
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Maddie Ray with Popeye Village

I’ve never felt so happy cleaning out the stalls…That was the call from harness racing’s latest edition to the winners’ circle Maddie Ray.

Ray, who works for Rebecca Cartwright and Craig Turnbull, registered her maiden victory as a driver when partnering Popeye Village at Shepparton last night.

After enjoying the perfect one-one trail, the son of Village Jasper completed a five-metre win from Thelove Child, with Krisney Girl a half-head away third.

Covering the last half in 58.4 seconds, Popeye Village rated 1:59 for the 1690-metre dash.

Rapt with the triumphant, Ray stated the milestone will forever remain her greatest moment within the industry.

“I’m so excited and think I’ll be on a high for such a long time,” Ray declared. “Even this morning, I’ve never felt so happy cleaning out the stalls…it was great!

“To get my first win is just amazing and is something I will never forget.”

The 19-year-old also had an extra reason to be happy with his success, which came at her 16th drive.

“Craig got his first win at his 17th drive, so that rivalry has been on as the countdown got closer,” Ray said. “I’m so happy to have the bragging rights now.”

A talented horsewoman, Ray has spent the bulk of her life around horses and is an accomplished show jumps rider.

It is her equestrian passion which led Ray into harness racing, with the budding star hoping to forge a career with standardbreds.

“My mum was into horses and I got my first horse when I was three,” Ray said. “I’ve had them ever since, so horses have always been in my blood.

“I use to keep my show jumper at Colleen’s (Bamford, owner) place, which is how I got introduced to harness racing.

“Now I work full time for Rebecca and Craig, but I’d love to become a professional driver one day.

“Further down the track, I would like to train as well, but for now I just want to built up some drives and hopefully winners along the way.”

  • PAUL COURTS

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