Day At The Track

Successful owner lands first-up driving win

09:00 AM 04 Jul 2020 NZST
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Stevie Blacker warming up in the parade ring before his first drive at Mildura,Harness racing
Stevie Blacker warming up in the parade ring before his first drive at Mildura

Huge harness racing fan Stevie Blacker has shown an expert eye when it comes to buying former Kiwi pacers and now he's successfully branched off - as a driver.

The likeable Blacker, who hails from Mortlake in Victoria's western district, had his first-ever official race drive at Mildura yesterday afternoon and came up trumps.

He handled four-year-old gelding Kolovos (Bettors Delight-Queen Camille (Christian Cullen), a horse he owns, for his good mate, Horsham trainer Aaron Dunn.

"The COVID-19 has played a bit of role because normally I'm right into football during the winter months and I'm usually umpiring," Blacker said.

"But it was probably Aaron's father Barry who got me into it, because he was saying that there were very few trials drivers at Horsham, so why didn't I give it a go?" he said.

So Blacker took his advice and got his licence to drive in trials.

"After three drives I wasn't fussed either way, then I drove one of the horses I own, which I think was Cool and Calculated and he went super! That was the turning point. I thought: 'Wow! How long's this been going on?!

"I started thinking about maybe driving in races, so I went to a lot of trials and there were heaps of people like Geoff Senior and others who were terrific in putting me on."

Blacker said he had only recently been licenced to drive.

"I sort of picked out the Mildura meeting for my first race drive. It did work out well when Aaron put Kolovos in with my five-point concession claim," he said.

And Blacker did the rest...with all the poise of a veteran.

Pushing Kolovos out of the gate, Blacker was unable to cross Tracer Bullet to get to the lead, but he didn't get flustered by having to race in the death-seat.

When Tracer Bullet kicked to a narrow advantage on the home corner and appeared the winner, Blacker got to work urging Kolovos, who found plenty over the final stages to post a memorable and popular win.

Watch the race replay here.


Kolovos and Stevie Blacker after their memorable win

Blacker grew up around horses. Some of his family was involved in thoroughbreds, but others were caught up by the legendary deeds of the mighty trotter of the 1970s, Maoris Idol (40 wins from 46 starts), trained by Ric Healy at Marnoo.

"My brother and I spent hours when we were young playing around with an old cart, built like a sulky, that was made specially for us," Blacker said.

"I suppose I did have in the back of my mind that one day I would like to have go at driving - but I really did think I'd missed my chance!" the 47 year old said.

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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