Day At The Track

O'Keefes on the board

04:58 PM 27 Jun 2016 NZST
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Bradley O'Keefes.jpg
Bradley O'Keefes

Bradley O’Keefe is trying to forge a career in harness racing and at Globe Derby Park last Saturday night landed his first winner as a trainer.

Dark Aly, which O’Keefe also drive, and a despised $42.50 outsider, dashed up the sprint lane to grab a long neck win in the Just Wrecking Toyotas Three-Year-Old Pace (1800m).

O’Keefe, 28, is from a strong Victorian harness racing family.

“My grandfather Jim was a trainer, my father Laurie is as well, my brother Kieran in a driver and my mum Dianne is the racing manager at the Terang Harness Racing Club,” O’Keefe said.

Employment as a fitter and turner at the Australian Submarine Corporation in Adelaide brought O’Keefe to Adelaide and he joined up with Globe Derby trainer Bronte Giorgio to get his ‘fix’ for harness racing.

“I have to thank Bronte, and his wife Maxine, for their help – they have been an adopted family for me in AdelaIde.”

Dark Aly was O’Keefe’s fourth as a driver, his first being Broadway Harry in a concession/junior drivers race in December last year with the others being Giddy Up Gray and the Bronte Giorgio-trained Saint Lilliana.

The three-year-old is a true O’Keefe family affair.

“A wonderful friend of the family, Geoffrey Tieman, gave Dark Aly’s dam Jane Isobel to my brothers Jason, Phillip, Kieran and myself to breed from and Dark Aly is her first foal but unfortunately he has passed and isn’t around to see the win.

“Aminah, a two-year-old sister, finished unplaced at Melton on Friday night in a Super Series semi-final and she now has a weanling filly to Four Starzzz Shark,” he said.

O’Keefe had a positive start on Dark Aly from gate three and he was able to cross behind Hapenny which had led from gate four.

“Even though he had the perfect trail for the sprint lane I still wasn’t confident of victory,” O’Keefe said.

“Wayne Hill set a slow tempo on the leader and my horse is not the type to sprint quickly off a slow speed but the tempo picked up down the back and once he got into the sprint lane he wound up and was able to grab a win.

“It was a great thrill to have my first win as a trainer.”

Heavily backed favourite Charissa Tee ($2.10 into $1.60) sat parked outside Hapenny ($10.90) and held on for second two metres in front of the leader who held on for third.

Graham Fischer

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