Day At The Track

Record-breaking spree for youngster

05:00 PM 11 Mar 2020 NZDT
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Father and son Ash and James Herbertson
Father and son Ash and James Herbertson, after James’ 301st winner at Horsham
Horsham HRC Photo

Energetic young Victorian harness racing reinsman James Herbertson sent records and personal milestones tumbling in all directions at the weekend.

The rising star of our driving ranks travelled to the Wangaratta club's feature meeting of the season, the $14,500 Pacing Cup on Sunday, and it proved a memorable night of firsts.

It was his first-ever visit to the track, so it was, needless to say, his first win in the popular Wangaratta Cup, and, in addition, the one and only time he's driven for much-travelled trainer Amanda Turnbull. And, into the bargain, the outstanding cup win was in record time.

Herbertson is based at Lexton, 48kms from Ballarat but he's certainly a well-travelled teenager.

"I've been to a lot of meetings, but never to Wangaratta," Herbertson said.

"But it turned out to be great, although it was a long four-hour road trip to get there. The horse I drove jumped to the front and was always travelling well. He's certainly a nice type," he said.

Think About Me (Christian Cullen-Our Imagine Me (Dream Away) had a seven-metre break on the line from runner-up Abitmorebliss (Ryan Sanderson) with a further three metres back to Brallo's Pass (Abbey Turnbull).

"Amanda had the horse in tip-top condition, and the mile rate of 1.58-3 was a track record," Herbertson said.

"Think About Me is racing in town next weekend and should do well."

The victory was the third country cup for the youngster this season, having already won the St Arnaud and Stawell Cups with strong-staying pacer Emain Macha, trained near Naracoorte by Greg Scholefield.

And at Melton last Saturday night, Herbertson also notched-up a special personal milestone when he was successful with Kasbah Kid - it was his 300th winner.

"I'm not a goal-setter at all, but that was the number of wins I was hoping to get before I turned 20. It did put a big smile on my face," he said.

And the young man, who has certainly been in a hurry since bursting onto the scene four years ago, had nearly a fortnight to spare, celebrating his 20th birthday on Saturday week, March 21.

Kasbah Kid (Art Major-Kebbalah Karen B (Western Terror), trained by Geoff Webster, scored easily in the "Donald's Winners" on Facebook Pace.

And wrapping up a successful three days, Herbertson landed Im Shadow Boxer (Shadow Play-Soho Diaz (Mach Three) at Horsham on Monday for his dad Ashleigh, who returned home with a training double as Foolish Pleasure (A Rocknroll Dance-Vouvray (Life Sign) won a heat of the Invitational Drivers series.

Herbertson plans to soon take a break to Queensland for a few days after receiving a seven-day holiday, courtesy of stewards.

"I'm suspended as of tomorrow so a trip up north sounds ideal. It's my second home because that's where I was born and Mum and Dad still have family and friends up there," he said.

"A visit to Albion Park will be a must-but I'll only be a spectator."

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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