Day At The Track

Lachlan dials up the Mildura wins

07:00 PM 23 Jul 2020 NZST
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Lachlan Prothero,Harness racing

Lachlan Prothero might be one of the state's youngest harness racing trainers, but despite the 20-year-old's tender age his strike rate is up there with the best of them right now.

Fresh from a further win by Egodan (pictured) at Mildura today, Prothero has 20 winners in 2019-20 from just 82 starters and an accompanying 24.4 per cent strike rate, which has him among the leading Australian trainers for that statistic in only his second season.

Prothero has five horses - all of them pacers - in work at his Birdwoodton base, about 15 kilometres outside of Mildura.

The son of fellow trainer Andrew Prothero, Lachlan always seemed destined, or at least determined, to follow his father into the sport.

Starting nine years ago he spent nearly six years competing in pony trots before deciding whether to continue down the driving path or pursue training.

"At the time I wasn't overly interested in or worried about getting my driver's licence, mainly because anything that pulled or grabbed on to me I couldn't hold, so I thought I'd get my training licence instead," Prothero said.

"Around that time, dad said he wouldn't renew his, so I thought I'd take over. But dad still helps out. He got his licence back this season - he hasn't trained any - but he helps. He might eventually put one in his name that we own ourselves.

"Other than that most will go in my name, but we all help, my sister (Chelsea), mum (Sharon), dad and I."

Prothero's first season brought seven wins and 21 placings from 68 starts in a solid introduction to the training game, but business has really picked up this season with 20 wins and a further 23 placings from 75 starts for earnings of $109,300. His more recent form line reads eight wins and eight placings from 27 starts.

Three of those wins have come with the stable's newest acquisition, the well-travelled and well-performed Egodan.

Trained by an assortment of trainers before his arrival in Mildura, the eight-year-old Sportswriter gelding is a 27-time winner plus 27 placings from 110 starts for earnings in excess in $300,000. His record for Prothero stands at three wins and a second from four starts.

"To be able to train a horse like him is pretty special this early in the career," Prothero said.

With Victoria racing under a regional model for all but a few days in July since early April, and Mildura functioning as a stand alone precinct, Prothero has looked to take advantage of the closed borders.

"As I've built a bit of a record, I've been able to get a few horses from outside the Mildura region into the stable," he said.

"Especially with this regional racing, I've been able to get quite a few South Australian horses come across trying to win their (Vicbred) bonus."

Included are Santa Casa Dream, who won on June 26 and ran second today, and Caribbean Magic, who won on May 8, and has since returned home.

Other consistent performers for the stable this season include Causenfriction (four wins and four placings), Magic In Her Moves (three wins and two placings from 11 starts) and Tunza Tenacity, who produced four-straight wins during May and June.

Prothero has never been one to shy away from hard work and commitment. Training horses is only one of two professions for the youngster and member of the Mildura Harness Racing Club committee.

He spends his nights stacking shelves at Woolworths in Mildura, before going home for a short sleep and rising again to work the horses.

Prothero hopes the long hours and hard grind will eventually pay dividends with even greater success beyond Mildura.

"I hope to keep building the stable and building my reputation," Prothero said. "I'm also keen to get more horses to the Mildura area and introduce some new owners to the game.

"At the moment we're working five horses, but I've always got room for more. We will look at taking horses we think we can win a couple with and then moving them on and do the right thing by the owners."

One industry figure who has followed Prothero's progression with a keen interest is experienced reinsman Neil McCallum.

The Lockwood South-based freelancer has previously driven for Andrew Prothero on hundreds of occasions and has been in the sulky for nine of Lachlan's wins this season.

That figure would likely be higher on both sides of the ledger were McCallum not prevented from competing at Mildura under the regional racing rules.

"Lachlan is doing a great job .... he just loves racing," he said. "As blokes like me are getting through to their older years, he is one of those coming through.

"My father drove for his father and then I started driving for Andy probably 25 years ago. In the last few years, Andy had been playing around with just one or two here and there, but now the young lad has come in and taken over and having a real go.

"With his background, he had a fair start, but he has done a great job. He just loves it and he's certainly not afraid of hard work."


Kieran Iles

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