Day At The Track

Bec enjoying family tradition

09:02 AM 27 May 2020 NZST
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Rebecca East and Girls in Charge, harness racing
Rebecca East and Girls in Charge
Hamilton HRC Photo

As a third-generation harness racing trainer Rebecca East is the first to admit she never considered not pursuing the family passion for the sport.

But while her family enjoyed its share of success over the years, Rebecca's training treble at Stawell last week is no doubt one of her personal milestones in the sport.

"It's not my first treble, because I had one at Mount Gambier not too long ago, but they're hard to get and you always enjoy them, whenever they come along," Bec said.

"This was my first one in Victoria, and it was a pretty good day!"

East's Stawell success began with consistent three year old She Will Wantano (Roll With Joe - Mama Tembu (Albert Albert) who scored a much-overdue second career win - the filly has failed to weigh in only twice in 20 career starts.

To watch the video replay click here

The stable followed up that success two races later with blowout ($30) winner Girls In Charge (Lincoln Royal - Proud Trick (Falcon Seelster) and rounded off proceedings with the second win within a week for handy stable acquisition Juddy Douglas (Auckland Reactor - Markeaton Navi (Falcon Seelster).

To watch the video replay of Girls In Charge click here

To watch the video replay of Juddy Douglas click here

"We thought they all had a bit of a chance, but you never get ahead of yourself and you always need a bit of luck," East said.

"Fortunately, we did get a bit with Girls in Charge when another horse galloped, and she was able to pop in behind the leader.

"Then the third one was Juddy Douglas and we were a bit lucky there, too, because he had won previously at Terang, but was still eligible for the race at Stawell - and because the barrier draws had already been done it was nice for us that he was still able to come out of barrier one."

Rebecca said her love of harness racing was inherited from her parents, the late Judy and Robert East (who were hobby trainers at Condor, before moving to Heywood) and Robert's father Les East.

"They all had some nice horses. Mum and Dad raced Irish Liner, which won the Horsham Oaks and a Mount Gambier Cup, and they also had another handy one in Silent Talk, so it's always been in my blood," she said.

"I first got my licence after dad had a heart attack in 2001 and I kind of had to step up to keep on with the family interest. I've always loved the horses and now I can't ever imagine not doing them."

East works part time as an aged care worker, and she and her partner, veteran former trainer Kevin Brough, put the polish on a team of around 15 horses at their Heywood property.

"It's a lot of work, and the only disadvantage of being down here are the distances we have to travel to race. But we have a couple of part-time staff who come out each day in John Sutters and Kaylea Towers and they're a terrific help," she said.

"We breed a few each year and we do enjoy the babies. You do the hard yards of handling them, getting them broken in and trying little things that you hope might be the difference. Like everyone, you're hoping for that Group One horse, and that keeps you just popping away!"

At this time of year, though, with the chilly south west Victorian weather and short winter days, Rebecca said thoughts usually turn to September, which is the couple's annual month off to recharge the batteries.

"But this year, I'm not so sure," she said.

"With regional racing, we've been competing at Stawell and Terang, but both the Marg Lee and Matty Craven stables are in this region, so it's been pretty strong," she said.

"This week we're opening up to take in Melton and Ballarat - but that brings in another couple of strong teams such as Emma Stewart and Andy and Kate Gath.

"Hopefully it will be around September that the post COVID-19 racing might be starting to return to normal, and we can look to place our horses in the most suitable races again, so we'll wait and see how things pan out," she said.

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura








P 0498 490 672








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