Day At The Track

Alford wins his 13th Victorian Metro title

06:56 AM 10 Sep 2017 NZST
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Chris Alford
Chris Alford

For the 13th time in his decorated career harness racing reinsman Chris Alford is the SBG Accountants Victorian Metropolitan Premier Driver.

Alford notched 51 metro wins in 2016-17 to finish 18 victories clear of nearest rival Gavin Lang (33 wins) with Greg Sugars finishing third on 31 wins.

It is the fifth straight season that Alford, Lang and Sugars have shared podium honours in the metro title, and in fact that trio has also claimed top-three honours for the past five years straight in the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership.

Alford also won the Melton Saddlery State Drivers Premiership for the second straight season in 2016-17, giving him a dozen wins in that category throughout his career.

Alford’s 51-win metro season was a career-best performance, eclipsing his previous personal best of 48 set in 2015-16.

His 320 state winners was his second-biggest haul behind his 2011-12 season, which saw him claim the Vic honours with 327 victories.

It is an amazing record for the man they dub ‘Puppet’, who won his first metropolitan drivers’ premiership back in 1993-94.

Alford’s glorious season of achievements in the past 12 months also saw him pilot Lennytheshark to a memorable Miracle Mile win at Menangle in February, and steer his 6000th win in the sulky during May.

Other highlight wins for Alford in season 2016-17 included…

  • Group 1 VHRSC Victoria Derby aboard Our Little General in February
  • Group 1 Canadian Club Sprint aboard Lennytheshark in February
  • Group 1 Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks aboard Miss Graceland in April
  • Group 1 Queen of the Pacific aboard The Orange Agent in May
  • Group 1 Sportswriter Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge 2YO Fillies Final aboard Molly Kelly in June
  • Group 1 Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Trotting C&G Final aboard Wobelee in July
  • Group 1 Pet Rock Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Pacing C&G Final aboard Poster Boy in July
  • Group 1 Western Terror Empire Stallions Vicbred Super Series 2YO Fillies Final aboard Nostra Villa in July
  • Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Redwood Classic aboard Wobelee in August
  • Group 1 Aldebaran Park Breeders Crown 2YO Trotting C&G Final aboard Wobelee in August
  • Group 1 Always B Miki Breeders Crown 2YO Pacing Fillies Final aboard Nostra Villa in August
  • Group 1 IRT Breeders Crown 3YO C&G Pacing Final aboard Our Little General in August

Meanwhile, Emma Stewart completed a clean sweep in the Renown Silverware State Trainers Premiership and the Taylors Metropolitan Trainers Premiership, winning both categories.

It is the third straight double-premiership win for Stewart, whose horses earned over $3million in stakemoney in 16-17, a stable record, eclipsing its previous best set in 15-16 of $2.95m.

Stewart trained 54 Victorian metropolitan winners in 16-17 from 269 runners and a career-best 206 Vic state winners from 572 starters.

Amazingly young gun Jason Lee won his fourth consecutive Alabar Concession Drivers Premiership, notching 110 Victorian winners in season 16-17 from 534 races, edging out runner-up Zac Phillips on 108 wins.

Art Major won the Victorian Sires Premiership with 235 wins from his progeny. The super stallion also claimed the 2YO Sires Premiership with 37 wins.

The 3YO Sires Premiership went to Somebeachsomewhere with 70 wins, while Safely Kept claimed honours in the Broodmare Sires Premiership category.

Sundon took top honours in the Trotting Sires Premiership with 105 wins, while Angus Hall took out the Juvenile Trotting Sires Premiership with 20 wins.

Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

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