Day At The Track

Miller has driven against legend John Campbell

08:57 PM 04 Dec 2017 NZDT
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Hannah miller, Harness Racing
Hannah Miller flanked by 2017 World Driving Championship winner James MacDonald and 2017 World Driving Championship third placed Marcus Miller at yesterday's Barrier Draw function for the 2017 TABtouch Inter Dominion

On Friday night America’s leading harness racing amateur driver Hannah Miller will take on the likes of Kerryn Manning (World’s leading female driver with more than 3730 winners), Rebecca Bartley (298 winners and driver of 2017 Inter Dominion heat winner and subsequent grand finalist San Carlo) and Lauren Tritton (798 winners) in the Retravision Lady Drivers Challenge at Gloucester Park.

A supporting event on the mammoth 11 race programmed highlighted by the $1.1 million TABtouch Inter Dominion Grand Final and three other Group One races, the Retravision Lady Drivers Challenge is a new event on Inter Dominion Grand Final night.

While she may not be well-known in Australia, Hannah Miller has done something very few Australian drivers have managed to do – driven against a field of American drivers who are all Inductees into the USTA Hall of Fame.

The race was held at Goshen Historic Track in July 2016 and is an annual tribute race for the late Mr and Mrs Elbridge Gerry whose dedication and leadership and dedication to both Historic Track and adjacent Harness Racing Museum and Hall Of Fame helped those venues endure and thrive.

The 2016 race featured all Hall of Fame drivers and Hannah Miller was the replacement driver for  Dave Palone who was unable to drive due to other commitments.

Hannah Miller was honoured in 2016 as the Harness Racing Museum's and Hall of Fame's top amateur driver by virtue of being the top contributor to the Museum, waiving her driving fees to maintain her amateur status.

"It's an honour just to be asked. It was absolutely not expected and it's a great feeling," said the 24-year-old graduate of the University of Central Florida at the time.

The daughter of former Trainer of the Year Erv Miller and sister of top driver Marcus Miller, Hannah has been watching the drivers she'll be competing against for a very long time and also hopes to meet some horse crazy girls who may have visions of driving racehorses.

"I've been watching them all compete since I was born and now to be able to go out there and compete against them is just an honour," she said.

For the record the other drivers in last year’s Hall Of Fame Invitational Trot were  John Campbell, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, Bill O’Donnell, Wally Hennessey and Ron Waples.

While Hannah didn’t manage to beat John Campbell home she did finish fifth with a couple of Hall Of Famers in her wake.

The race was won by the Jimmy Takter driven Linda Marie which was trained by Jim Doherty Jnr whose father Jim Doherty drove at Gloucester Park on 11th December 1981.

The race was an International Drivers Championship staged as a supporting race on the opening night of that year’s WA Pacing Cup carnival.

Three American drivers in John Campbell, Jim Doherty and Eddie Lohmeyer took part against five Australasian legends in New Zealand’s Peter Wolfenden, Sydney’s Brian Hancock and Western Australians Fred Kersley, Phil Coulson and Chris Lewis.

The three heats were won by Brian Hancock, Phil Coulson and Chris Lewis and Hancock headed the points tally across the three races.

Of the eight drivers only Chris Lewis is still driving following the retirement of John Campbell earlier this year.

Alan Parker

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