Day At The Track

Home sweet home for "Meggs"

01:00 PM 13 Feb 2020 NZDT
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First-time winner Georgia Hayward is congratulated by her proud parents David and Louise,Harness racing
First-time winner Georgia Hayward is congratulated by her proud parents David and Louise
Stacey Lear photo

A 10-year-old ex-claimer chestnut gelding in Tasmania has earnt himself a "home for life" after combining with bubbly teenage harness racing driver Georgia Hayward for her first race win at the weekend.

Hayward, 17, with just 11 drives behind her, showed all the poise in the world to land the money with 100/1 shot It Is A Glacier (It Is I-Glacier Girl (Chill Factor) in the Launceston fast class race at Mowbray.

"We've been racing him mostly in the claimers, but he won't be ever going back into those. I can pretty much guarantee that at the end of his racing he has a home here forever," a thrilled Hayward, based at Scottsdale, 60kms north-east of Launceston, said.

"We didn't think he was good enough to go around in discretionary races, so he's probably gone around in the claimers for eight out of the 12 starts he's had for us and with a $5000 price," she said.

Hayward said she was hopeful It Is A Glacier's good stand-start speed would allow her to find a good position.

And from the outside front row draw, she found the back of old-timer Destreos soon after the start.

"I thought we may have been going a bit quick early. I can't remember ever thinking I might be the winner. Even when the horse on my outside Ideal World dropped off and I got into the clear, I was still pretty relaxed," she said.

"Then when I hit the front near the finish line there was a lot of tears. I realized I was going to win. I couldn't believe it and couldn't stop crying. I was just so happy because most of my family was there watching.

"It was a day that I'll remember for a long time that's for sure. My mum Louise and 'Pop' John haven't missed any of my races, and dad David is there most of the time, depending on his work."


Happy smiles: from left trainer Kent Rattray with It Is A Glacier. Winning driver Georgia is with her parents David and Louise, while “pop” John, Georgia’s brother James, and “nan” Julie join the celebrations. (Stacey Lear Photography)

The pacer is known around the stables as "Meggs" (because "he's a 'ranga' and they're all known as Ginger Meggs") and Hayward said he was already a family favorite, even before his weekend win.

"My brother James is listed as the owner, but Meggs is definitely family owned - most of them have some ownership, and I hope some of them put a few dollars on because he paid $157 on the TAB," she laughed.

"We didn't go out or anything to celebrate-I think I just grabbed some KFC on the way home. I would really love to win another race soon because I could then buy my own ute and give dad his car back."

Hayward said it was planned to give "Meggs" an easy time before aiming him at the heats of the Easter Cup.

"I'm still on cloud nine, so I'll keep enjoying it for a bit yet."

Hayward said while her family had been in the sport for a long time, she became interested only a few years ago.

"My great grandparents Lawrence Hayward and his wife Lennie where involved along with my pop John Hayward, racing horses like Swishinover and Swishinon," she said.

"We moved to Scottsdale from Ringarooma.

"It was a lovely town where we used to live, but it's becoming smaller by the day. We shifted because of work and schooling.

"I'd been involved with pony club for years and Wayne and Kent Rattray came knocking on the door to see if I wanted to help out at their stables," she said.

So that's where it started, and Kent now trains our horse.

"We've had Meggs since early last year and got him off Peter Romero who is at Chiltern, near Wangaratta in Victoria."

Hayward last year spent five months working with James Rattray at his stables in Exeter, nearly two hours from Sydney.

"I learnt a great deal and would love to go back and spend more time there."

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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