Day At The Track

Susan a quiet achiever and loving it

03:00 PM 12 Oct 2019 NZDT
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Shane Gloury with partner trainer Susan Hunter and reinsman James Herbertson,Harness racing
Winners are grinners! Part-owner Shane Gloury with partner trainer Susan Hunter and reinsman James Herbertson after Monash scored recently at Echuca

Astute Victorian horsewoman Susan Hunter is thoroughly enjoying her low-key involvement in harness racing.

Hunter, now based at one of Victoria's tourism hot spots in the Murray River township of Echuca, won an impressive 14 Group One races during her hurly-burly days in Sydney and later Melton.

But these days, Susan combines working at the renowned Alabar Farms stud and racing a small team.

"Echuca is a lovely spot. We've been up here for two years now and absolutely love it," Hunter said.

But although she's scaled back, Susan hasn't lost her Midas touch in preparing winners, recently getting the money at her home track with six-year-old gelding Monash (Somebeachsomewhere-Nightn Georgia (Safely Kept).

A notable "hot and cold" performer in the past, Monash has now won two races for Hunter and her partner Shane Gloury, who had a long association with HRV, including CEO at TABcorp Park, Melton.

"Monash can certainly be a headache and he has a few issues. Before we bought him we'd noticed he could pull - and when he sees the gate, he's off and going," Hunter said.

"But in saying that, the horse had also put up some great performances.

"I'd been playing about with a five-year-old trotter which I bred myself that hasn't got a lot of ability, and possibly won't ever win a race. I'll keep trying though! But I didn't really have a racehorse at the time and then we heard Monash may be for sale.

"I've tried some gear changes and a few other things. The main thing we always concentrate on is to get them happy. I think with Monash we are winning the battle!"

Ballarat young gun James Herbertson has established a great relationship with Monash, steering the speedster to both of his two wins for Hunter in sub two-minute mile rates.

Monash possibly won't take Hunter to the dizzy heights she experienced with Captain Joy (six Group Ones), his half-brother Lightning Joy, a square gaiter with over $100,000 in stakes, Kept For Pleasure (3 Group Ones and dam of the exciting young sire Vincent), Louvre and Waves of Fire, but she is certainly content doing what she's doing!

"Looking back, there isn't a standout, but some of the most rewarding times with horses for me are the ones where you spend a lot of time and hard work behind the scenes getting them to the track or getting them to race right," Hunter said.

"They might get beaten and finish second but they're still really satisfying achievements.

"If I had to nominate one of my favorite racehorses it would be Captain Joy. I'm still looking after him and he lives a life of luxury in a paddock. He doesn't like being ridden because circle work gets him a bit wound up.

"He led out the field in two Hunter Cups, which was fantastic. I also have Lightning Joy as well, who we took to the Boort Show last year and got two seconds.

"We will be there again this weekend, but this time with a pony who is a half-brother to former racetrack great of the 1990s, Country Duke.

"While our first love is harness racing, we do love the show pony competitions. They're great fun."

Susan's work at Alabar involves handling and educating the young horses and she was proud to prepare Alabar yearlings for the APG Melbourne sale earlier this year.

"It was the first time I had been involved in yearling preparations,

but I thoroughly enjoy working with the youngsters and I ended up doing 16," she said.

"I suppose again, it's going through that process of helping them learn and progress and getting the best out of them - that's always the satisfaction of working with horses and I don't think I'll ever lose that."


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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