Day At The Track
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Not a day goes by when popular Adelaide horseman Paul Cavallaro isn't reminded of the serious injuries he copped in a sickening harness racing crash nearly 12 months ago. "I've certainly got aches and pains that I didn't have-but I'm still alive and our good horse (Culture King) come through it all okay," he said. And Culture King's runaway performance at his NSW debut at Goulburn on Sunday would have been just the tonic for the recovering Cavallaro. Culture King was sent north by Cavallaro and his owners (the Ready to Run Syndicate) to chase the riches on offer in that State over the next few months, in particular, the inaugural NSW $1 million pace at the end of May. Culture King is now under the care of Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy at Cobbitty. "He's a lovely horse - he went super in winning at Goulburn," McCarthy said. "They went 1.57 but he did it so easy - and there's been a bit of a change of plans for him as a result. He'll now be aimed at the Chariots of Fire next month at Menangle," he said. The emerging potential of Culture King has no doubt given Cavallaro a kick along in his return to training after the injury. "I'm at the stables most days. However, I'm more or less just doing light duties. I don't know if I'll ever return to race driving, but I'm not really fussed if I do or I don't," he said. The race accident happened on Group 3 South Australian Pacing Derby night of February 9 last year. I'm Sir Blake, driven by star reinswoman Danielle Hill veered out sharply in the straight with a lap to go after it choked down and crashed into Major Exclusive (Darby McGuigan). Cavallaro, driving Culture King, was left with nowhere to go, resulting in a horrific pile-up. He was catapulted into the air before landing heavily on the track. Cavallaro was rushed to hospital with a fractured vertebra in his back, broken wrist and severe facial injuries, including a broken nose and lacerations. McGuigan was fortunate to escape injury, but Hill was also admitted to hospital with a badly fractured tibia. Remarkably, she returned to race driving in July and has been consistently in the winner's circle ever since, despite on occasions still feeling the injury to her knee and leg. Paul Cavallaro on HRSA’s Mobile Rolling recently (Watch the interview below) Cavallaro said that in the past nine months, he had been operated on six times. "I had a gaping hole in my face. My mouth was ripped halfway across my cheek in the fall. The first lot of face surgery just before Christmas didn't go all that well," he said. "The stitches dissolved early after just a few days, so I had to have more surgery, which was under local anaesthetic this time. "I felt fine afterwards when I was loaded with pain-killers. But when they wore off, I have never felt so much pain in my whole life." Cavallaro said that while his back was on the mend, he couldn't say the same about his wrist. "I don't think it will ever be the same again. It becomes quite painful because it's sort of bone on bone," he said. Watch an interview with Paul Cavallaro on HRSA's Mobile Rolling program. Cavallaro trains a small team with a number of helpers. "I've got Culture King's full brother, who is two, and he's in work and goes along okay. There's another two-year-old here, sired by Art Major, and a racehorse in Miss Iconic who is only lightly raced, but has a win and a few placings," he said. "Mark Billinger is doing the driving for me at the moment and he does a top job." Cavallaro is a member of a strong harness racing family, with his father Neil being most successful over many years. His sister Angela (Chapman) is also involved and recently won at Kapunda with brown mare Sally MacLennane, prepared by her father.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Drivers Dani Hill and Paul Cavallaro are recovering in Royal Adelaide Hospital following a horrific fall in last Saturday night’s SA BOTRA South Australian Pacing Derby. The incident occurred with approximately 900 metres to run when I’m Sir Blake driven by Dani Hill choked-down and fell, resultantly bringing down Major Exclusive, driven by Darby McGuigan and Culture King, driven by Paul Cavallaro. The Stewards immediately abandoned the race with all remaining runners being pulled up in the back straight. Both Dani and Paul were treated at the scene by medical crews before being transferred in a stable condition to Royal Adelaide Hospital. Darby was extremely fortunate to escape injury. All horses involved in the incident escaped serious injury. Dani has undergone surgery for a fractured tibia while Paul has had surgery for a broken wrist and facial injuries. The industry wishes both Dani and Paul a speedy and full recovery from their injuries and we look forward to seeing them back at the track in the not too distant future. For further information please contact: ROSS NEAL | CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (08) 8285 0700 •  rneal@saharness.org.au

After a four-year break, a happy harness racing trainer Paul Cavallaro returned to the winner’s circle at Globe Derby Park on Saturday. Talented two-year-old Culture King gave the trainer-driver his first success since coming back into the sport earlier this year. A $5.70 chance, Culture King took advantage of interference to two of his rivals to run out a two metre winner of the Coca Cola Company Two-Year-Old Pace (1800m). Above Average ($1.90 fav) was second with Bubbles And Cheese ($16.90), a metre away third. Cavallaro looked to be heading for his fourth minor placing from as many starts around the home turn as Above Average, the leader, and Bubbles And Cheese, sitting parked, look set to fight out the finish, with the latter gaining a narrow advantage. Suddenly, the front pair locked wheels for a short distance, allowing Culture King to swoop past and grab his first win. “It’s good to get a win with him,” Cavallaro said. “He is owned by the Ready To Run Syndicate which has 12 members, a few of who, are involved in ownership for the first time. “When I made the decision, with my wife Lisa, to come back, we decided it was going to be just for fun, and nowhere near as intense when I was a freelance reinsman. “So, we got a group of friends and purchased Culture King for $50,000 at a Ready To Run sale in Sydney. “It was a lot of money to pay but we felt he was worth the investment. It was never going to be an immediate return on investment. “He is a big horse which we believe won’t come into his own until he reaches three. At the moment, it is about teaching him about racing and any prizemoney is a good pick up. “He hasn’t had a lot of luck in his races, but tonight, it was his turn for some good fortune.” Culture King now has a win, a second and two thirds from just four starts. “I can get him fit on our track at Golden Grove but I don’t have any horses to work him with, so I take him down to Dad’s (Neil Cavallaro) when I need to fast work.” Cavallaro drove almost 1200 winners, including a number of feature events, when involved in harness racing earlier but felt run down and gave the game away in mid-2014 concentrating on his business and also coaching kid’s football. In season 2009/2010, Cavallaro drove 87 winners to finish second to David Harding on the SA Drivers premiership. Prior to Saturday, his last winner was Day Dream Dancer at Globe Derby Park on December 2, 2013. Culture King looks sure to give Cavallaro the chance to add to his tally this year. Graham Fischer

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