Day At The Track
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Barnawartha horseman Wayne Anderson had mixed feelings when he landed the money at the Shepparton harness racing meeting this week with a 25/1 longshot - and who could blame him? Wayne decided to take the reins himself with bay gelding Postal Express (Flightpath-Bye Focals (Harmony Heaven), giving his 21-year-old son Chris, an up-and-coming junior driver, the night off. "Chris works in the scaffolding business and just lately he's been doing a fair bit of travelling," Wayne said. "As well as all the miles, he's also been working hard because he just recently bought himself a house. So, I said to him that I didn't want him pushing himself to get back and drive at the trots. "And of course, everything worked out perfectly in the race for Postal Express and we landed the money, but only just!" Postal Express won by a neck from Monash (Ros Rolfe) with four metres back to Waterboy (Ryan Duffy). The mile rate was a brisk 1.57-5. View the video here! It was Wayne's first race drive on the eight-year-old, and while he was delighted with the success, he intends to stay "second fiddle" to Chris whenever he can. "Chris has had a couple of wins and my wife Margy, myself and all the other family members are keen to see him get established and do well in the sport," Wayne said. "Whenever he's home and not away working, you'll find him at our place helping out with the team, which is up to five at present. "Chris was a late-starter into trotting as he used to do very well at football and cricket. I think he can make a go of it, because he's keen and will take on any advice. Guys like David Jack, Cameron Maggs and Peter Romero have been fantastic." The Anderson farm, nestled on the outskirts of town, has been in the family since 1956. Wayne said a 700-metre granite track on the property cost "24 dozen bottles of beer and some fuel, back in the day"! "Uncle Bob, who always had horses on the place, now looks after the cattle, while my brother Steve does the cropping and our dad David keeps an eye on things to ensure everything's ticking along okay. We have 60 cattle and 350 sheep as well as the horses," Wayne said. "It's a real family affair and while two of our other sons, Mitch and Isaac, aren't hands-on with the horses, they support us. "We got Postal Express off a mate in Robbie Walters, who thought he would be just perfect for Chris to learn the ropes. "And he is a nice horse-just a gentleman to do anything with. He's improved lately since we changed his feed on the recommendation of a nutritionalist and got his teeth done. "The horse has always shown high speed, but now he's starting to find the line." Wayne said he'd been in and out of the industry for nearly 40 years. "I was trying a heap of horses there for a while but dropped off a bit when I wasn't getting any to the races," he said. "Then in December 2015, we had a wild bushfire go through. We lost 300 sheep, 400 bales and five kilometres of fencing. It also destroyed our wooden horse yards, but fortunately two colts that I was breaking-in weren't injured. "The bushfire destroyed 6000 hectares in nine hours, being fanned by 100kph winds. We saved a few lambs as well as things around the house." Wayne said while Postal Express could be one to follow from the stable, he was excited with former Queensland pacer My Magic Merlin. "Chris got beaten a head at Kilmore with him last month which was his first run for us. He's a nice type by Mach Three and still only a C1," he said. And there's a fair chance that Wayne will be among the loudest supporters for Chris at Albury on Saturday night when the junior driver competes with Miss Rixon in the opening event, followed by My Magic Merlin in race two.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) will honour the state’s most experienced stand-start pacer of season 2015-16 with the running of the Hollys Miss Molly Pacers Handicap at Tabcorp Park Melton on Thursday, August 4. The fan favourite grey mare (by Jet Laag out of Panorama mare Lombo Luvbird) notched her 25th career win at Kilmore yesterday in superb fashion, providing locally based trainer-driver Robbie Walters and his family with a huge thrill. This season Hollys Miss Molly has contested 23 stand-start races, 10 more than any other horse. “We always like to win, but on the home track where we train every day, and being win number 25, it was a bit extra special,” Walters said. “My wife (Caroline) works at the local hospital and she ducked out for 10 minutes to watch her race. We love her. “She’s a mare we picked up for $4000 at the yearling sales (Alabar Blue Ribbon Sales) and she’s won 25 races and over $140,000. The win meant a lot to the whole family. If you can’t celebrate a 25th win when can you celebrate?” A catchy name, the fact everyone loves a grey and that she’s a lovably consistent performer on the race track means Hollys Miss Molly boasts a loyal fan base. But the six-year-old’s following increased markedly recently when the warm-natured mare visited a local nursing home in Kilmore. Caroline works at the centre and asked Robbie if the horse was quiet enough to visit. She certainly was. Hollys Miss Molly’s behaviour while inside the nursing home lunchroom was exemplary, gently allowing patrons the opportunity to have a pat and a chat with her. “There was one woman who apparently doesn’t talk at all, but she lit up when she saw the horse. She was patting her and cuddling her, and talked for the first time in years,” Robbie said. Hollys Miss Molly’s stake earnings stand at $142,851 with 47 minor placings alongside her 25 victories from 176 starts. She is expected to be stepping out in the race named in her honour at Melton on August 4. Walters said Hollys Miss Molly might get her opportunity to become a mum next season. Check out the August-September Harness Racer Magazine for more on Hollys Miss Molly's nursing home visit in an article by Lucy McCormick Cody Winnell

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