Day At The Track

Tayla enjoying that winning feeling

01:59 PM 19 Oct 2019 NZDT
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Terry French and Tayla,Harness racing
Terry French and Tayla celebrate a recent win. Joining the celebrations is Michelle Phillips
Shepparton Harness Racing Club photo

Heathcote harness racing driver Tayla French is riding the crest of a wave at the moment and the hard working 22-year-old thoroughly deserves her success.

Somehow Tayla juggles working part-time at a Bendigo stable three or four mornings a week, a job as a medical receptionist in her hometown, helping her father Terry prepare his team and somehow fits in race driving a couple of nights a week.

"It does get a bit hectic, but I'm enjoying it. It usually all falls into place so that's all good," Tayla said.

And over the past 10 days, the junior concession reinswoman has been in sensational form on the racetrack.

Competing at Shepparton, Kilmore and Bendigo meetings, French has chalked up five wins and is well on the way on improving on her debutante 2018-19 season of eight victories and 40 placings.

"It has been great. I think I'm getting better at reading races and if things don't initially go to plan, I don't get fazed and work out then what might be best," she said.

"The highlight was obviously getting my first winning race double at Kilmore - the first leg was with Nuclear Nikky (Auckland Reactor-Nickle Miss (Grinfromeartoear), prepared by dad. He's only had the horse for a fortnight and that was her first start, but she did trial nicely four days before.

"The other Kilmore success was Blissfull Mind (Blissfull Hall-Mind Dance (Megamind), for Charlie Farrugia, who I had won on at his previous start."

French said despite wanting to join the police force at one stage, it was "probably always going to be horses" after studying Year 12.

"I can remember driving fast work for dad as a kid and it just continued on from there. When I made the decision to pass on the police force, for the time being, it meant commit to harness racing and that's what I'm wanting to do," she said.

French started driving only in August of last year and three weeks in, landed her maiden winner.

"Dad has been fantastic in teaching me things about the industry. My mum Kym's unfortunately allergic to horses, but she gives me heaps of support, too," she said.

"l work part-time in Bendigo for local trainer-driver Chris Svanosio, and he also has been a terrific help."

The winning streak by French kicked off at Bendigo last Tuesday week when she was successful for trainer Jess Tubbs on Illawong Mustang (Mach Three-Light In Every Day (Artiscape).

The following night at Shepparton, the youngster drove a well-judged race for her father Terry to land the money on Joeys Hangover (Well Said-Without Guile (Art Major).

French then headed down the road to the same venue seven days later to team up with an old favorite in 12-year-old Lights And Music (Jet Laag-Computerize (Stand Together) and they posted the gelding's 28th career win for trainer Colin Godden.

Her memorable double at Kilmore was last Thursday. Five-year-old daughter of exciting sire Auckland Reactor In Nuclear Nikky had to do it the hard way after racing in the death-seat for the majority of the race.

"I got through early from barrier 11 to land in the one-one, but then the horse outside the leader went to the front so I was posted. We only just go there, but she did it tough and deserved it," French said.

Blissfull Mind wrapped up the double for her. The gelding led until the bell, took cover, but then finished full of running in the latter stages to get the prize.

French said she used to enjoy playing other sports including netball and cricket.

"I just don't have the time now. But I'm happy with what I'm doing," she said.

French now has six wins and nine placings for the 2019-20 season...and on her current form, there are more winners just around the corner!


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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