Day At The Track

Ted's deeds bring joy

04:00 PM 19 Aug 2019 NZST
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Ted and Faye Jepsen,Harness racing
Ted and Faye Jepsen with driver Michael Bellman (left) and Michael’s father Neville Bellman, who bred Wenthestarzzzaline

Churchgoers in a small northern Victorian town were treated to something a little different yesterday - a belated chance to cheer home a harness racing winner from Ararat!

When Ted and Faye Jepsen, of Lockington, headed to their regular Sunday church service, they thought fellow parishioners may enjoy sharing their recent success with five-year-old mare Wenthestarzzzaline.

"We took along the DVD of the race replay and after the service when we sit around for a chat and coffee, we played it. There was about 20 churchgoers there and they loved it," Ted, 84, said.

"It's a wonder it's not worn out - it's been played over and over. I had to get up at 6.30 am and go and jog her before church, but I'm not complaining, we're still on a high," he said.

Wenthestarzzzaline (Four Starzzz Shark-Chelsea Hanover (Walton Hanover) gave the Jepsen's a taste of success at her race debut in the Club Committee Maiden Pace at Ararat last Wednesday night.

Competent freelance reinsman Michael Bellman decided against any early speed battles from the wide seven alley, preferring to make a forward move when the field settled.

He then zipped around three wide and charged to the lead. With easy splits of 31.8 and 32.8, the tempo was sure to hot up over the last half.

Long odds-on favorite Myzarmi (Greg Sugars) enjoyed the one-one sit and moved forward in the last lap to join Wenthestarzzzaline. The pair had a ding dong battle, with Bellman getting his charge to lift on the line for the narrowest of wins.

Wenthestarzzzaline was broken in by Bellman. His parents Neville and D'Arne bred the pacer. The dam Chelsea Hanover was also owned and raced by the family and was a consistent performer in the 2000s, winning 10 races for $46,000.

"We were looking for a horse to train and Michael said he had the ideal one at home in a paddock. He had got her up and going, but she got some skin off her legs so that's when she went out," Ted said.

"I think Michael intended to get back to her. However, he had owners, so their horses naturally got preference."

The Jepsens gave the mare a solid grounding prior to her maiden race start with half a dozen trials.

"I like to drive our horses at the trials, so I get a feel of them first-hand. We also make a 54km round trip each day to Elmore to work on the track down there because our place is only on a few acres," Ted said.

"It means a fair bit of work, but both Faye and myself reckon it keeps us young. I often joke I'm a 21 going on to 85 next November.

"I did tell Michael if he could get to the front in the race, they'd find it hard to run her down because she's a tough customer. The whole family, including two granddaughters who never bet, all won a bit of money, so everyone is happy.

"She is quite a valuable horse and we've looked after her. Once I worked out she needed pacifiers and a shadow roll, we noticed a huge difference.

"After the races we kicked on with the Bellmans and it was a late night. I think we got to bed at 2am!"

Ted Jepsen with Wenthestarzzzaline after her Ararat success

The Jepsens lived at Gisborne for 39 years before heading to Lockington a little over nine years ago. They've been long-time keen harness racing supporters, enjoying their share of success.

They recorded some exciting wins with Epona Sunshine (The Unicorn-Manwarra Sunshine) back in the late 1990s and early 2000s with Ted and Alan Mizzi being successful drivers.

"She held the track record at Bendigo for a while. I remember one night at Ararat she went great and won - the trophy was eight slabs of beer. I'm not big on beer, but a guy living down the road from us got merry quite a few times!"

It was a big week for the popular couple, as apart from the race win, Faye celebrated her 80th birthday two days earlier.


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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