Day At The Track

Ellen eclipses her previous best haul

10:00 AM 21 Dec 2020 NZDT
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Ellen Tormey pilot’s Skippers Swan Song to victory, Harness racing
Ellen Tormey pilot’s Skippers Swan Song to victory in the first of her five wins at Mildura
Charli Masotti Photography

Central Victorian reinswoman Ellen Tormey had an unforgettable night out at the latest Mildura Harness Racing meeting, but she admits she didn't make the four-hour trek chock-full of confidence.

But there's nothing like a run of luck to turn things around - and Tormey did that on Friday night, putting together a "fabulous five" winners for the first time in her career at the far north west Victorian track.

"I had an awful night at Echuca the night before and the previous week at Mildura I think I was on four favorites and they all got run down, so I didn't exactly arrive full of confidence," Tormey said.

"I've driven four winners a couple of times before at Mildura but you never expect five winners, and I certainly didn't that night. But it was a great feeling!"

Tormey got her first winner in race one, Skippers Swan Song (Western Terror - Beejaykay (Tompkins Hanover) for Mildura trainer Scott Garraway. 

Watch the race replay click here!

And if that didn't revive her confidence, her next drive in race three, certainly would have despatched any doubts, with Smoke My Motor (Mach Three - Celibacy (Safely Kept) being the easiest of winners, by 28 metres, for Bendigo trainer Kate Hargreaves.

In race eight, Tormey partnered Mildura headline act Bernie Winkle (Rock N Roll Heaven - Dolly Mcd (Mach Three) when, in his customary barnstorming last-to-first fashion, he racked up an amazing 15th win this season on the tight Mildura circuit for trainer Julie Douglas. Tormey then went on to score in successive races: again for Douglas with Elegant Jewel (Mach Three - Hilarious Jewel (Artsplace) and Come On Elvis (Rock N Roll Heaven - Modern Girl (Modern Art) for Mildura trainer Frank Cavallaro.

"I was fortunate to be driving some very nice horses, and if you can put good quality horses in a good position you hope you can get the job done. But horses like Bernie Winkle just make you look good!" she said.

Tormey, who grew up in Charlton and cut her teeth in the pony trots, became passionate about harness racing watching the trots on TV with her dad (trainer John Tormey).

"I was only about 10 or 11, but at that time (former world champion) driver Kerryn Manning was winning everything and because she was a girl, I used to take notice of her," Ellen said.

"That's really who inspired me to want to be a driver. When I was a teenager, I worked with Kerryn in school holidays and she was a great mentor. Then when I was 16 I got my junior driver's licence.

"Dad has been another big influence. He always gives me pretty direct feedback when I drive for him!

"He actually did drive a bit himself, but I wouldn't have called him a driver. I watched him one day drive up the back of another runner in a three-horse race, so whenever he gives me a spray I do remind him about that!"

After completing school, Tormey moved to Bendigo to begin her "back up plan", business studies at University, while continuing to pursue her harness racing ambitions.

She now drives about 500 horses a year, managing over 50 winners a season in most years (her best is 77). And she continues to put in the big miles to race - in the past week for example, Tormey has had engagements on all but two days, and has travelled to every corner of the State to meet her commitments including Mildura, Shepparton, Kilmore, Echuca and Melton.

"There are always a lot of miles and a lot of tracks to drive at. It's pretty busy but I am so lucky to have a part time job at Garrards Horse n Hound - they have been fantastic to me in being really flexible around my driving commitments," Tormey said.

"Trainers at places like Mildura gave me opportunities and stuck with me and it's still one of my favorite tracks for that reason, and because it's so friendly. But I also love Bendigo, because it's only two minutes away! And Charlton because it's home, of course.

"Your priorities do change as you get older too, I think. I have a partner at home who I have hardly seen in the past week, and in the future I'd love to do some travelling as well. But I still love it and nights like Friday night just make it all worthwhile."


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: