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The New Zealand Representatives for the 2019 Australasian Young Drivers Championship have been found. The harness racing championship is to be held in New Zealand this year from the 7th December until the 13th December and will be held in the South Island and the North Island. The Championship races will be run at the following meetings: Saturday 7th: Addington Sunday 8th: Methven Tuesday 10th: Manawatu Thursday 12th: Manawatu Friday 13th: Auckland To determine the participants for this year’s Championship we have applied the following criteria: - The driver must not have attained the age of twenty five (25) years at the date of the commencement of the New Zealand racing season (2019/20 season) and must have been a Junior Driver during the 2018/19 season. - The winner of the NZ Junior Driver Championship from the 2018/19 season will represent New Zealand. - The leading North Island Junior Driver from the 2018/19 season will represent the North Island. - The leading South Island Junior Driver from the 2018/19 season will represent the South Island. The drivers representing New Zealand are: Sheree Tomlinson (Defending Champion, 2018 AYDC Winner) Sarah O’Reilly ( Winner, 2018/19 NZ Junior Driver Championship) (New Zealand Rep) John Morrison (Leading South Island Junior Driver) (South Island Rep) Benjamin Butcher (Leading North Island Junior Driver) (North Island Rep) Congratulations to our four representatives. We will have the Australian representatives at the end of their season and expect to announce these early in September. If you have any questions in regards to this year’s Championship please contact me on the details below. Courtney Clarke Communications and Marketing Co-Ordinator 027 636 4355

New Zealand’s Sheree Tomlinson proved a dominant winner of the harness racing 2018 Garrard’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship held across three days at Redcliffe and Albion Park. The 2018 AYDC brought together some of the world’s best drivers aged 25-and-under for the three-day series across nine heats, with Tomlinson proving a cut above the rest. Tomlinson (97 points) put runs on the board in every heat of the series to finish 21 clear of nearest rival, Queensland’s leading driver Nathan Dawson. Racing Queensland Harness Strategy and Development Manager David Brick said Tomlinson was a deserved winner.  "Congratulations to Sheree and to New Zealand for taking home the trophy and to all of the young drivers who competed throughout the week," Mr Brick said.  "I would also like to thank Gary Chequer for his support transporting our drivers to and from events during the week and to Ashlea Brennan for her oustanding social coverage and photography."  New South Wales’ Chris Geary finished third on 71 points, while defending champion Narissa McMullen finished in fifth. Tomlinson put her success down to having previous experience driving in Queensland during last year’s AYDC. She also thanked the trainers and owners for putting horses in the competition. Tomlinson was presented with a brand new Rio Mark 2 Sulky thanks to major sponsors Garrard’s for her efforts and the AYDC trophy.  Mr Brick said the Young Drivers, through the donation of their driving fees, were able to raise $4000 for series charity partner, Youngcare.   

Harness racing driver Narissa McMullen proved there’s no place like home after dominating the opening night of the Australasian Young Drivers Championship at Redcliffe on Wednesday. McMullen won aboard the Tayla Gillespie-trained No Confession, before backing it up to win with Shane Sanderson’s Stuunder NZ and claim the opening two heats of the series.   The 23-year-old has been one of the bayside track’s leading drivers in the past 12 months, scoring 57 wins from 417 drives. McMullen is representing Queensland for the second time since 2014, and is now in the box seat to claim the series. She sits two points clear of the three New Zealand representatives, Dylan Ferguson, Kimberly Butt and Sheree Tomlinson. “It was a really great feeling to win the first two,” she said.   “I’d just like to thank the trainers for putting horses in the race. Both of my first two drivers were nice horses so that made it easy. “It’s probably easier driving horses you know. But, your job as a driver is to get on horses you’ve never driven before … you work it out pretty quickly.” Heats three and four belonged to the land of the long white cloud, as Ferguson (North Island) and Tomlinson (NZ) put themselves into AYDC contention. Ferguson saluted in Heat 3 with the Ron Sallis-trained Punters Delight, before Tomlinson teamed with Matt Elkins to win aboard Its All Go. Ferguson said it was nice to get the first runs on the board. “We’ve just got to hope me and the girls can get another couple,” he said. “(Punters Delight) has been going great guns since Ron has had him and my job was the easiest one.” Tomlinson said her win was a “great way to finish the night” and it put her within striking distance of the lead.  

Dual Tasmanian Youngblood's Challenge harness racing champion Matthew Howlett will represent Tasmania at the Garrard's 2017 Australasian Young Driver Championships in Brisbane this week. The best young talent from each state, along with three representatives from New Zealand arrived in Brisbane to tackle the first round of heats at Redcliffe tonight (Wednesday). The AYDC Series, showcasing the star drivers of tomorrow, then moves to Albion Park on Friday, December 15 with the last round of heats conducted on the final night of the Queensland Summer Carnival on December 16. Albion Park's chairman David Fowler said the Australasian Young Drivers Championship provided many benefits for both the drivers and industry. "These are our driving stars for the future and series like these give them a really good shot of being in the national limelight," he said. "The young drivers are chosen for their natural ability, it will be the cream of harness racing's National young talent campaigning so punters won't be afraid to put their money on them," he added. Matthew became the youngest winner of the '60 degrees' Youngblood's Challenge in 2013 at just 16 years of age and repeated his title win again in 2016. Proudly following his father and grandfather's footsteps into harness racing, Matthew first hit the track in pony races at six years of age. Matthew's driving career commenced in November of 2012 and he greeted the winner's circle just two months later, he went on to clinch the 2015/16 Tasmanian Junior Drivers Title and has racked up 60 winners in total including a victory last night with Rockin An Rollin at Luxbet Park. 2107 Australasian Young Drivers Championship - State and New Zealand representatives: Todd McCarthy (NSW - defending champion). Narissa McMullen (QLD). Chris Geary (NSW). Michael Grantham (WA). Jayden Brewin (SA). Jason Lee (VIC). Sheree Tomlinson (NZ). Dylan Ferguson (NZ). Kimberly Butt (NZ). Matthew Howlett (TAS). Peter Staples

Defending Champion Todd McCarthy is favoured to retain his crown as Australasia's No.1 young driver with UBET following the opening of a Championship market today.  McCarthy heads the harness racing market at $3.80 ahead of fellow NSW driver Chris Geary and the Rockstar from Victoria Jason Lee at $4.50. Queenslander Narissa McMullen is next in the market at $5.50.  Click here to access the UBET market. Racing Queensland's Darren Clayton provided the following comment on the starters for the series set to commence at Redcliffe on the 13th of December. NARISSA MCMULLEN Fresh from another century season, the 3rd of her career, Narissa McMullen will have the hometown advantage and will look to add to her success in the 2014 Lady Drivers Invitational at Menangle. The talented driver has started this season strongly as she moved past 600 career wins and was recently crowned the Seymour Young Achiever of the year for the season 2016/17. CHRIS GEARY Chris Geary lines up in the Young Drivers Series off the back of representing NSW in the Australian Driving Championships in Tasmania where he landed victory in two heats before finishing a credible 3rd. Honing in on 400 career victories, Geary took the bronze to make it a ‘Chris’ trifecta, behind Alford and Lewis, both who have over 5,000 career wins each. TODD McCARTHY Todd McCarthy will have his share of Queensland supporters despite representing the ‘Cockroaches’. The youngest of the McCarthy clan started his career in the Sunshine State and returns as the defending champion of the AYDC. One of his biggest moments came at Albion Park when successful in the 2012 G2 Garrards Sunshine Sprint and he was recently crowned the leading Metro driver in NSW. MICHAEL GRANTHAM Recently surpassing 200 driving wins, Michael Grantham tasted his biggest success when driving Nathans Courage to victory in the WA Nights of Thunder Final held on WA Pacing Cup night. Grantham had a taste of pacing in the east when having one drive on Blacks A Fake night earlier this year at Albion Park. SHEREE TOMLINSON Listing the Ordeal Trotting Cup at Addington aboard Ameretto Sun as a career highlight to date, Tomlinson finished 3rd aboard the same gelding at his next start in the G3 Canterbury Park Trotting Cup. Sheree Tomlinson comes into the series having recently been crowned the Canterbury Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Drivers Association’s Harness Racing Junior Driver of the Year. DYLAN FERGUSON Bringing up a half-century of winners earlier this year, Dylan Ferguson plies his trade on the North Island where his biggest success came in the North Island Country Cup Final. Ferguson was recently presented with his title for the North Island junior Driver of the Year for the past season where he recorded 22 wins for the term. KIMBERLY BUTT With a strong pedigree, Kimberly Butt is also producing the results in the cart and landed her first win aboard the richly talented but injury-plagued Saveapatrol. Based in the South Island, the winner of 70 career races to date has started the latest season in great touch, finishing in the top 2 in 11 of her first 29 drives. MATT HOWLETT Winning the 2013 Youngbloods series at just 16 years of age, the Tasmanian put his name alongside some of the best drivers to come out of the Apple Isle when taking the prestigious title. Howlett finished 2nd in the 2016/17 Tasmanian junior driver’s title which followed on from his victory in the 2015/16 season. JAYDEN BREWIN Approaching the century of driving wins, Brewin has hit the ground running this season following on from a successful end to last season where he secured the South Australian junior drivers title in just his 2nd season of race driving. Brewin currently leads the overall SA driver’s premiership and has a potent strike rate, finishing in a top 3 position in just under 50% of all appearances. JASON LEE Recently crowned the Australian 2YO of the year, Lumineer ended a stellar 2YO term undefeated in 5 starts. In each of his victories, Victorian Jason Lee was at the controls including the G1 APG colts & geldings final. With over 450 career wins, Lee has 3 Group 1 victories to his name, 2 of those coming last season to boast the best credentials at the elite level in the field. For further details on the Championships head to the Racing Queensland event website.  

Promising South Australian harness racing driver Jayden Brewin will represent South Australia at the Garrard’s 2017 Australasian Young Drivers Championship to be held in Brisbane in December 2017. After completing a successful placement with a leading Western Australian stable, Jayden is in outstanding form and primed to represent South Australia.  The best young drivers from Australasia will compete over a number of race meetings commencing at Redcliffe on 13 December. The series then moves to Albion Park on 15 December with the final heats coinciding with the Queensland Summer Carnival at Albion Park on 16 December. HRSA congratulates Jayden on his nomination and wish him every success with the series. More information John Lewis Phone 0417 855 300

Racing Queensland (RQ), with the support and endorsement of Harness Racing Australia, has secured an exciting addition to its 2017 Summer Racing Carnival, securing hosting rights to the 2017 Garrard’s Australasian Young Drivers Championship (AYDC) in South East Queensland. The AYDC is a championship series to showcase the skills of the best young drivers aged under-25 from each racing jurisdiction in Australia and New Zealand. The 10 competitors will comprise the Defending Champion (Todd McCarthy), plus one driver representing each Australian jurisdiction, one representing New Zealand and one from each of the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The Albion Park Harness Racing Club and Redcliffe Harness Racing Club will play host to the nine-race series, across three meetings from December 12-16. RQ’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Eliot Forbes said the event would provide Queensland with another unique opportunity to highlight the state’s harness racing to a domestic and international audience. “Hosting the 2017 Garrard’s AYDC help to promote drivers as heroes of the sport, and I look forward to welcoming the future champions of harness racing upon their arrival,” he said. Long-time supporters of the Queensland racing industry across all three codes, Garrard’s has come on board as the series’ major sponsor for 2017. “Garrard’s is excited to partner with Racing Queensland and Harness Racing Australia to present the 2017 AYDC.  A key driver for our involvement is the development of junior participants to help sustain participation in the industry for many years to come,” a Garrard’s spokesman said. The young drivers will be involved in a range of off-track activities to connect with the wider community, to ensure a cultural and developmental experience. The event will also provide opportunities for the young drivers to build a strong profile through digital and social media channels, while building new contact networks within Queensland. Drivers will be welcomed on Tuesday, December 12, before heading to the picturesque bayside town of Redcliffe for the first race meet of the series. Redcliffe Harness Racing Club president Bernie Ring said the club was thrilled to share in the excitement of the series, and invited the local community to be trackside for the opening clashes. “This is right up there with one of the most exciting events to be held at Redcliffe since I’ve been involved with the club,” he said. “It’s another opportunity to put Queensland harness racing in the spotlight across the country, after Queenslander Shane Graham’s excellent display in the World Driving Championships in Canada. “This event presents as a great opportunity for the Redcliffe community to connect with our sport, and spectators will be lucky enough to witness some of the best young drivers in the world compete.” The final six races of the series will be held at the Albion Park Harness Racing Club (APHRC) in Brisbane. APHRC chairman David Fowler said the club looked forward to showcasing the sport in Queensland. “The Albion Park Club is delighted to be co-hosting the 2017 Garrard’s Australasian Young Driver’s Championship with Racing Queensland and the Redcliffe Club, that will see the cream of harness racing’s national young talent campaigning in South East Queensland during mid-December 2017,” he said.  The excitement will continue to build through September and October, when the driver’s from each jurisdiction are announced.  by Racing Queensland

It was a case of close, but no cigar, for the Kiwi quartet in the Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship. The kiwi four of Robbie Close, Matt Anderson, Kyle Marshall and Brad Williamson all finished in the top six in the week-long competition in Western Australia. The competition was taken out by New South Welshman, Todd McCarthy. Close and McCarthy went into the final night of racing at Gloucester Park on Friday night locked together, while four other drivers could have snared the major prize with a victory – dependent on other results. The race was taken out by hometown hero, Stuart McDonald who was well down on the leader board which left the door open for any number of drivers to claim the top prize. For the Kiwis, Matt Anderson gave himself the best chance of snatching a victory with his third placing, but it wasn’t enough with McCarthy, who finished down the track, claiming more points than close to give him a total of 73 points and the series win. Close and Anderson were the next best on 71 points each – with the defending champion, Close, getting the nod for overall second placing on a countback while Anderson had to settle for third. Marshall, who produced consistent results throughout the series was next in fourth while Nathan Dawson of Queensland finished just ahead of Brad Williamson in the next two spots. All four of the Kiwi contingent tasted success in the nine-race series with six of the races falling to the foursome. Close, Williamson and Marshall are all out of the junior ranks now but Anderson has a chance of getting himself to the next championship in two years with his time in the junior ranks set to extend for another couple of seasons. Final Standings: Todd McCarthy (NSW) – 73 Robbie Close (NZ) – 71 Matt Anderson (NZ) – 71 Kyle Marshall (NZ) - 69 Nathan Dawson (QLD) - 67 Brad Williamson (NZ) – 65 Jayson Finnis -(SA) – 61 Stuart McDonald (WA) - 46 Jason Lee (VIC) - 41 Wade Rattray (TAS) – 30   Matt Markham

New Zealand harness racing junior driver Robbie Close is still tied for the lead in the Australiasan Young Drivers Championships with one race left in the series.  Brad Williamson managed to get a win yesterday at  Narrogin after several placings in the earlier heats. Brad won aboard All About The Cash when he led all the way from barrier two with Robbie Close second driving Mon Alisa Jet. After yesterdays Narrogin heat Robbie Close is tied in the lead with Todd McCarthy (NSW) on 69 points with a further six points back to another kiwi Kyle Marshall on 63 points. In the event of a tie, the driver with the most victories shall be declared winner. If still tied, the greater number of seconds and so on until the winner is declared. Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship Points Table: Robbie Close (NZ)            69 Todd McCarthy (NSW)   69 Kyle Marshall (NZ)           63 Matt Anderson (NZ)       62 Nathan Dawson (QLD)    60 Brad Williamson (NZ)     60 Jayson Finnis (SA)            49 Jason Lee (VIC)                40 Stuart McDonald (WA)   29 Wade Rattray (TAS)         27   Harnesslink Media

Harness racing junior driver Robbie Close is still leading the way in the Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship. After the second day of racing at Pinjarra yesterday, kiwis Matt Anderson and Kyle Marshall both walked away with wins, while Brad Williamson managed a pair of placings. Anderson started with favourite Im Rockaria in the first heat. He had the son of Rocknroll Hanover parked early before leading the rest of the way and winning easily. Ive Got It All driven by New South Wales representative Todd Mcarthy, was second and Brad Williamson running third behind Art Lover. Matt Anderson donated his driving fees to the Ronald McDonald House. Kyle Marshall won the second heat with Sir Slick from the second row and beat C C Chevron, who was driven by Nathan Dawson.  Brad Williamson again took a placing behind All The Torque. Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship Point Table: Robbie Close (NZ)            49 Todd McCarthy (NSW)   47 Matt Anderson (NZ)       40 Kyle Marshall (NZ)           38 Nathan Dawson (QLD)    36 Brad Williamson (NZ)     32 Jason Lee (VIC)  3 (9)       30 Jayson Finnis (SA)            24 Stuart McDonald (WA)   18 Wade Rattray (TAS)         16   Harnesslink Media

Terang's harness racing driver Jason Lee picked up two third placings to kick off this year's Australian Young Drivers Championship in Perth. Coinciding with the Inter Dominion series, the Championship pits the best young drivers from across Australia and New Zealand in a 10-race series, which continues today at Pinjarra. Kiwi Robbie Close is in front after three races on 36 points, while New South Welshman Todd McCarthy is on 29 points, five clear of Lee in third on 24. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL AYDC LEADER BOARD Lee’s dominance in Victoria has seen him collect the Alabar Concession Young Driver of the Year award for the past three seasons in succession.   Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

​Winning moments are priceless in the racing game but harness racing driver Matt Anderson has been given a new context on how precious every minute of life is. Anderson left for Perth on Thursday to represent New Zealand in the Australasian Young Drivers' Championship which begins on Friday night. The 24-year-old will drive with the silver fern on his chest and the thoughts of seven-year-old leukemia sufferer Isaac Southerton​ in his heart. Anderson, who will be joined in the New Zealand team by Robbie Close, Brad Williamson and Kyle Marshall, knows he is in a privileged position to represent his country, so wants to use the opportunity to give something back to those who are not so fortunate. READ MORE: * Spirit Eclipse overcomes odds for win at NZ Cup Day * Three months in Ronald McDonald House for Timaru mum * Ronald McDonald House a home away from home * Record effort to claim classic * Lazarus could be one of the greats after destroying field by 10 lengths He will donate his driving fees from the week long series in Western Australia to Ronald McDonald House South Island - which doesn't receive direct government funding - plus $10 from every driving fee he earns until the end of January. ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ Finn Southerton gives Lazarus a brush. One of Anderson's sponsors, McMillan Equine Feeds, will also donate $5 per drive through the same period and Anderson is pestering other drivers to join in. The 24-year-old has no affiliation with Ronald McDonald House but came across it when he did "a bit homework" to find a suitable charity. "I'm really fortunate to have been given this opportunity so it's nice to be able to use it to help others, especially families who are going through a tough time," Anderson said. ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ Junior driver Matt Anderson is donating his driving fees from the Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship to Ronald McDonald House South Island. A visit from Isaac's family, who are currently staying at Ronald McDonald House, to Anderson's workplace has him even more engaged with the cause. Wellington mother of three Adele Southerton​, who lost her own mother to cancer six years ago, has been staying at Ronald McDonald House since October. They were given the life changing news of Isaac's leukemia at 9pm on October 10 and were told to be ready to fly to Christchurch early the following morning with their bags packed for a minimum of six months. "It's not something you process, there is no time, it just happens," Southerton said. Isaac's younger siblings, Lucy (4) and Finn (2), are also in Christchurch. ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ Adele Southerton, with her children Finn and Lucy, visit Matt Anderson to see what he does at All Stars Racing Stables. Southerton said it was obviously an incredibly difficult situation but the support of the staff at Ronald McDonald House and meeting families who are in similar situations was a true blessing. "When you see a family like that face to face and you see what they are going through it changes the way you think. If you put your feet in their shoes and walk their path it's very emotional and sobering," Anderson said. Early next year, Isaac faces a possibly life-saving stem cell transplant in addition to extensive chemotherapy but his chances of survival are only around 50 per cent. "It gets tough at times but you have to keep going," Southerton said. "Isaac handles it all very well." The transplant will mean six to eight weeks in Auckland. "It will be March before we get home," she said. Lucy or Finn could play an important part in saving their brother's life, with the family soon to learn if either of the pair are suitable to be donors for Isaac's transplant. Ronald McDonald House South Island CEO Matthew Mark says he has been blown away by the generosity and compassion of Anderson who walked in off the street to introduce himself and get a closer look at what the facility achieves. Courtesy of Mat Kermeen  

The chance to pit themselves against some of Australia’s best young talents and experience harness racing in another country has some of New Zealand’s youngest driving stars excited about the week ahead. Robbie Close, Matt Anderson, Kyle Marshall and Brad Williamson departed New Zealand yesterday (Thursday) to head to Western Australia to compete in the biannual Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship - charged with the hopes of a country on their young shoulders. The Kiwi quartet, along with six of the best youngsters in Australasia will go head-to-head in a 10 race series over the next week, with the final race of the series held on Inter Dominion Grand Final night at Gloucester Park. For Close, the most experience of the four, it’s an exciting prospect. “I can’t wait to get over there and get into it,” he said. “It’s a real honour to represent your country and I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity.” Despite losing his junior driver licence at the end of the 2015-2016 season, Close is allowed to compete in the series by virtue of the fact he is the defending champion of the Series and that he still fits into the required age bracket. “I never even really thought about it to be honest so it was pretty overwhelming to get the news.” Close won the Series when it was held in New Zealand two years ago in a brilliant display of driving and he will be looking to repeat the dose in Western Australia. “It’s a very strong crop of drivers, there is some real experience in there. Guys like Jason Lee and Todd McCarthy have driven in some pretty big races so it’s going to be a real test on their home turf. “But any of us four Kiwi guys are capable of giving it a really good shake I reckon, and it’s going to be a great group to be a part of and to spend some time with.” Just one win shy of 150 career wins, Close said he had searched out the advice of some New Zealand drivers who had experienced racing in Western Australia and been busying himself with watching plenty of racing. “I hit up the likes of Dexter Dunn and Gavin Smith about what it’s like and they were great and I’ve tried to watch as many races as I can from over there too.” For Anderson, who is still a relative new face in the driving ranks, the prospect of the experience is leaving him fizzing. “It’s going to be a really good experience to tick up and I’m looking forward to getting over there and doing my best to get some results on the board.” Like Close, Anderson has spent plenty of time pouring over videos and has plans to talk to his boss Mark Purdon, who is currently over there, when he arrives. “Mark and Natalie have three horses over there are the moment so I’ve been watching them race and looking at the racing pattern pretty closely. It’s completely different to the New Zealand style of racing, that’s for sure.” The competition kicks off on Friday night at Gloucester Park with the first heat at 11.15pm (NZT) before competition moves to Bunbury on Saturday for a further two races. There are then further heats at Pinjarra, Northam and Narrogin before it’s the final race of the series on Inter Dominion Grand Final night at Gloucester Park on December 9. Matt Markham

Harness racing driver Wade Rattray has been selected to represent Tasmania at the Australasian Young Drivers' Championship in Western Australia next month. The series comprises representatives from all Australian states as well as the two islands of New Zealand. Rattray, 24, will be representing the state for the first time, although he is no stranger to success in these type of competitions having won the Tasmanian Youngbloods Challenge series this season after finishing runner-up in 2015. "I am thrilled to have been selected to represent my state. It is an absolute honour for any sportsmen," Rattray said. "There is always a fair amount of luck associated with this series because you need to get on the right horses in the heats but I'm hoping a bit of that luck falls my way." Rattray is the son of prominent harness trainer-driver Kent Rattray but surprisingly Wade was a late starter having not acquired his driver's licence until 2014. "I think I needed to make sure I wanted to follow in Dad's footsteps but once I did there was no turning back." Rattray was an automatic selection for the series after being the equal second-best performed young driver during the 2014-15 season behind Dylan Ford who was ineligible because he has already represented the state twice. The series will be held during the Inter Dominion series in December with the first of 10 heats to be held at Gloucester Park on December 2 followed by two heats at Bunbury the following night. The series moves to the country circuits of Pinjarra, Northam and Narrogin where two heats will be held at each venue with the final and deciding heat to form part of the Inter Dominion final night program at Gloucester Park on 9 December. Peter Staples

Terang’s Jason Lee is now a three-time Alabar Concession Drivers Premiership winner. The 21-year-old gun harness racing reinsman had his best season in 2015-16 with 117 wins nationally taking his career tally to 330. And with his victory in the concession drivers’ premiership Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has announced Lee will be the state’s representative at the 2016 Australasian Young Drivers Championship (AYDC). “To win the Alabar Concession Drivers Premiership three times in a row is a remarkable feat and Jason will certainly do Victoria proud at the Australasian Young Drivers Championship,” HRV Chairman Dale Monteith said. The AYDC is one of the initiatives at this year’s Inter Dominion in Perth with 10 drivers from across Australasia, including four from New Zealand and one each from the six Australian trots states, to compete in a series of 10 races across six meetings in Western Australia. The contest to be crowned the Australasian champion will begin on December 2 and culminate on Inter Dominion Grand Final night on December 9. Lee joins Robbie Close, defending champion from NZ, hometown hero Stuart McDonald (WA), NSW’s Todd McCarthy, SA’s Jayson Finnis, Tassie’s Wade Rattray, Qld’s Nathan Dawson, and Kiwis Brad Williamson (South Island), Kyle Marshall (North Island) and Matt Anderson in the AYDC. MORE ON THE 2016 AYDC Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Talented young reinsman Wade Rattray has been selected to represent Tasmania at the harness racing Australasian Young Drivers' Championship in Perth (WA) later this year. Rattray, 24, will be representing the state for the first time. "I am thrilled to have been selected to represent my state. It is an absolute honour for any sportsmen," Rattray said. "There is always a lot of luck associated with this series because you need to be lucky with the horses you draw but I'm hoping a bit of luck falls my way." The series will be held during the Inter Dominion series in November-December with the last of 10 heats to be run at Gloucester Park on 9 December. He is the son of prominent harness trainer-driver Kent Rattray but surprisingly Wade was a late starter having not acquired his driver's licence until 2014. Rattray was an automatic selection after being the equal second-best performed young driver during the 2014-15 season behind Dylan Ford who was ineligible because he has already represented the state twice. He is no stranger to success I these type being competitions having been runner-up in the Tasmanian Youngbloods Challenge series last season before taking out the title this season. Peter Staples

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