Day At The Track
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When competitive sportsman Rick Cashman decided the time was right to give away football and cricket, he desperately wanted to focus on something else. "In the end it was probably an easy decision to get involved 'hands on' in harness racing because I'd owned a few horses with well-known personality Rob Auber," Cashman said. "But the idea of training my own stable of horses and perhaps one day driving them really did appeal," he said. "So aged 43 years, I took leave from my public service job and went and did the course offered at Warragul's Gippsland Harness Training Centre." Cashman graduated from the centre 11 months later, and described the course as "absolutely awesome". "I'd attend most days from 7am to 1pm and I just cannot speak highly enough of the thorough way all aspects of harness racing were covered. It's a fantastic opportunity," he said. "When I did it, the co-ordinator was Des Hughes, with the training teacher being Chris Hunter and they were brilliant. There were also others you could turn to, like veteran horseman Gordon Turner." And now Cashman is one of a number of trainers based at the Cranbourne Harness Training Centre complex, which he describes as "a great amenity with everything a horse trainer would want". "I only live 10 minutes from the track, but I'm up at 4.30 most mornings to do the horses and then it's off to my job in the taxation office." Eight-year-old gelding Danman (Village Jasper-Ritzy Emm (Armbro Operative) caused a huge boil over at his home track on Sunday for Cashman, being the 25/1 rank outsider in the SBG Accountants & Business Advisors Pace. "His fast work leading up to the race was quite good. I don't get ahead of myself with him however as he played up at the start in his previous run, and was always off the bit," Cashman said. "But when my driver Shannon O'Sullivan was able to zip across early and grab the one-out and one-back spot, my confidence was up a little," he said. "On the home turn he looked like he was struggling, but he puts his head down over the last 100 metres and kept coming." Hobby trainer Cashman and a group of friends leased Danman as an unraced four-year-old from the horse's owner Trevor Reid. "He ran second on debut then was lucky enough to win and get the bonus for Trevor. He's now won 12 races and has been a great learning horse for me," he said. "I got to know Trevor through his work - he does fencing and did some work at our place. We later purchased Dansbro (Elsu-Ritzy Emm) from Trevor, a half-brother to Danman." Dansbro has gone on to record six wins (all courtesy of reinsman Greg Sugars) and three placings from 20 starts. Cashman was also full of praise for junior driver O'Sullivan, who is based at Heathcote. The youngster, studying a Bachelor of Exercise Science at La Trobe Uni, Bendigo, is daughter of legendary horseman and Gordon Rothacker Medallist, Jim O'Sullivan. "Shannon has now driven 18 winners, three of those on old Danman, and looks to have a bright driving career ahead of her," he said. Cashman is now aiming his pair of talented pacers for a tilt at an upcoming Melton meeting. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Cranbourne hobby trainer Rick Cashman doesn’t have a TAB Inter Dominion runner tomorrow night, but if he wins the metro maiden (Race 1) with his gelding Dansbro, it’ll feel as good as a Group 1. “It’d be a huge thrill for three reasons,” Cashman said. “Firstly it’s at my home track. Secondly the fact that it’s an M0, that’d be an absolute dream. Thirdly, it’s Inter Dominion night and will be in front of a crowd.” Cashman is based at Cranbourne Training Centre, where harness trainers are based on-course with access to state of the art facilities and a knowledgeable training community. “It’s great, everyone there helps each other out,” Cashman said. Re-live Rick Cashman's winning salute from last month  Cashman has trained 15 winners and driven three in his career to date. In the sulky aboard Rosanna Raider, his most recent winner, Cashman gave one of the great salutes as he crossed the finishing line. “If you’re going to do it you have to do it properly,” he said. Cody Winnell Trots Media

Wintry conditions kept many spectators away from Monday's Warragul trots meeting, but races were still keenly contested despite the chill.   Warragul's new racing circuit passed its first wet day of racing since last year's rebuild with flying colours - despite plenty of rain over the previous couple of days the surface was turned out in excellent condition. In the second race, the KC Racing Trotters Handicap, Pearcedale horse Stoned Again lowered the track record for 2210 metres, taking one-and-a-half seconds off the previous mark set in December last year. Stoned Again, for father-daughter combination Bill and Simone Walker, has moved to the lead in the Warragul Horse of the Year award with one race meeting remaining in the current racing season. Rick Cashman, a past graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre, won a race on the day with Danman. At just its second race start, Danman led throughout - the horse will derive great benefit from the victory and should win more races. Danman's win was one of three on the afternoon for top reinsman Greg Sugars, who also won with first starter Ravello Rock in race one for Jayne Davies, and Almihata in the third event for Ahmed Taiba. Ahmed himself collected two winners on the day, when Admiral Joy rattled home to win the final event when driven by junior reinsman Troy McDonald. Jodi Quinlan produced a popular victory with Decorated Lady in race four, for a big syndicate of owners.   Several of them were trackside, loudly cheering the horse every step of the way down the home straight. Another popular win was that of Jean Baptiste in the seventh event for Melton trainer Lance Justice, and driver Jason Hackett. Jean Baptiste is raced by a nine-member syndicate, and was well supported in betting. Trotting returns to Warragul on Monday, August 17.   Kyle Galley  

Another eight event trotting program will be staged at the harness racing meeting at Warragul this Monday afternoon. Among those attending will be members of the National Servicemen's Association - this is the eleventh year that the Nasho's have had their day at the trots. Guests will enjoy the Warragul Harness Racing Club's hospitality while the Alf Martin Memorial is named in honour of a past Nasho. Alf was a Warragul member and co-ordinated bookings for the Nasho's Day since it began. He had an active involvement in trotting as a barrier attendant at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds race meetings. Monday's program contains several even races. Past graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre, Rick Cashman, might be able to land the fifth race winner with Danman, which ran second at its only start to date. First race on Monday is at 12:31pm and course entry is free for all patrons. Kyle Galley

Rookie trainer Rick Cashman may work full-time at the Australian Taxation Office, but despite what you may think through name and career, it’s not all about the money for the Devon Meadows harness racing trainer. In fact, last week the fledgling horseman trained his first winner in Magic Muscle and he was quick to rate it amongst his fondest memories.  “It was an amazing feeling. I’ve played in a football and cricket premiership and it was every bit as good as them I can promise you,” Cashman said. But his journey into the trots isn’t a conventional one. The 40-year-old wasn’t born into horses; it was a sporting career cut short that was the catalyst for a late entry into training and driving horses. “I worked with Rob Auber for a long time and got involved in owning horses. Through that I got interested in the sport and learnt about the course you can do at Warragul so I took nine months off work and went down there,” Cashman said. “It was an enormous decision and if not for the confidence that Des Hughes I could easily have not done it.” Completing the course in 2009, it was then time to find a trainer to learn from, luckily that turned out to be Gordon Turner. And Turner had a horse sitting at home who needed time to develop, eventually, when Cashman’s first horse broke down, Turner decided to hand the reins over to the fledgling trainer. “I moved to the Cranbourne training centre which is just fantastic and Gordon always said he had this horse sitting out in the paddock,” Cashman said. “Although she was bred to pace he always thought she could trot so we brought her in as a seven-year-old and it’s gone on from there.” The win was just desserts too. The 4.30am mornings and long days at the tax office are the sign of a man willing to work hard at his craft. Now, attention will turn to Shepparton tonight where that little mare Magic Muscle heads into a heat of the Lyn McPherson Memorial Bronze series. For Cashman though, it’s simply about keeping the ball rolling. “The mile should suit her if she can get a run through because she just wants to run,” he said. “Hopefully the dream can continue.” by Blake Redden Harness Racing Victoria

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