Day At The Track
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North West harness racing history was made at Armidale’s Carnival of Cups meeting on Sunday with Tamworth siblings Emma, Sam and Tom Ison all driving winners. It was also a good day – and possibly a nervous one – for father of the trio Andy Ison, celebrating a training double with Fear No Evil and Gargzadi Girl, while his son Sam trained Bassey. The youngest of the Ison’s to gain her reins licence, 16-year-old Emma made her debut at Inverell the week prior with no luck and with only one drive at Armidale it turned out to be a winner. “It feels amazing,” Ison said after taking out the Railway Hotel Pace. Her first career win, understandably there were plenty of cheers and congratulations when Emma returned to scale. “I was nervous as always going into the race but it panned out alright,” she said. Ison found herself racing back on the inside running line before weaving a passage on the final turn to make her way clear in the home straight. “It was a lot different to how I thought the race would pan out but it all worked out well,” she said. “I was excited when the split came as this little horse can sprint.” Fear No Evil had a half head win over Esspe Supreme (Dean Chapple) with Mini Masterpiece (David Munsie) 5.4m away third and paid $33.10 for the win. It was also Ison’s first appearance in her teal racing pants after being presented with them just prior to the meeting. “I think they were a good luck charm,” Emma, who was proud to drive a winner in the teal on the last day of the Ovarian Cancer fundraiser, said. “It was pretty good to get my teal trousers just before the race - it’s good for the cause.” Older brother Sam then presented to the winner’s circle with Bassey after the mare took out the Kevin and Kay Seymour Celebrating 50 Years Mares Pace. Ison made a three-wide run around the final turn in the 1980m event to make use of the home straight and pounced on the line for a half neck win over Clancy Pants (Brad Elder) and Mac Sweet (Lola Weidemann), who was another neck away third. “She went really well – she just kept giving down the home straight,” Sam said.  He was also proud of his little sister who he gave a helping hand to. “It was really good – I think she loved my gig – she borrowed it for the race,” he said. Tom completed the treble with Gargzdai Girl, who was a 3m winner over Midnight Montana (Richard Williams) in the St Kilda Hotel Pace. “The win has added to the day,” he said. “She (Gargzdai Girl) has got a pretty good sprint.” And what did he think of his sister having her first winning drive? “It’s a pretty good day – especially for Em – it was only her third drive and she won on her own horse so that’s good,” he said.  By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

The Inverell harness meeting this Sunday will kick start another youngster into the sport of harness racing – and she has been counting down the days. 16-year-old Tamworth reinswoman Emma Ison will make her driving debut at the meeting and in doing so, will become a third generation to race in the sport. She’ll also be the first of the “girls” from her family to take the step up. “I have been anticipating this for ages,” Emma said. The name Ison has been around in the mini trot ranks for years – with Sam, Ben, Tom, Emma and Molly – and as they aged, they progressed to registered meetings. Emma’s entrance into the harness racing arena has arrived and it couldn’t be planned any better. Emma is pitted against her brothers Tom (Sir Pickles Yumyum) and Sam (Bassey) in her debut race – the Best Employment Inverell Pace – when she takes the reins behind Fear No Evil. “I love racing against my brothers – we do it in the trials so it would be great in a race,” Ison added. “They have always been looking out for me – Tom gives advice – sometimes cryptic but all good. I do feel a little bit intimidated as my brothers are so good at it.” Emma was introduced to the sport courtesy of her late grandfather Sam Ison, and her father Andy of who Emma will take two drives at the meeting for – Fear No Evil and Franco Seville in the Wade Street Meats Pace. After undertaking her trial drives and taking guidance from her older brothers, Emma is ready. “I always wanted to drive the big horses ever since I was little,” she said. And while Andy will have three of his children in the one race, Emma can already predict the feeling for her father. “I think he will be a little bit nervous,” she smiled. Emma is set, she is steely and not worried that her first charge Fear No Evil is coming out of barrier seven and later Franco Seville from the nine barrier. “They are good horses. I know they will try their best no matter where we start,” she said. And if Emma did win a race at her first harness meeting, how would she feel? “I would probably be a little bit excited,” she said. Emma has true grit – she is a former Country NSW softballer but now only plays the sport for a social outing whilst she undertakes a two-year Vet Nursing course after finishing school last year. “I want to keep going, doing what we are doing, helping Tom and Dad with the horses,” Ison said. “It has been a bit hectic – it was really intense at some points but I love it.” Inverell will host a nine-race program on Sunday as part of the Carnival of Cups meeting with the first race starting at 1.15pm. By Julie Maughan Reprinted with permission of The Northern Daily Leader

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