Day At The Track
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Harness racing hobby trainer Wayne Anderson admits he couldn't hide his excitement when he watched his horse win the feature event at Cobram's annual Pink Day for Breast Cancer on Sunday. "It was my biggest win in nearly 40 years in the sport - gee it was a huge thrill and I know I was cheering at the top of my voice all the way down the straight," he said. Four-year-old bay gelding My Magic Merlin (Mach Three-Making Magic (Fake Left) showed great tenacity to take out the Paul Roberts Jewellers Invitation Lady Drivers Pace at bolter's odds of 20/1. "We haven't had him all that long, but he's shown he can do it tough," Anderson, who is based at Barnawartha, a small town in north-east Victoria, said. "Over the years we've had some nice horses that could work the clock down, but his trackwork leading up to Cobram was unbelieveable. "There were a few sheep grazing close to our track one day and he just got all cranky and nearly bolted. But he felt so good! "I spoke with (driver) Kima Frenning before the race and we decided our best chance was to make it into a staying race." And the bold plan paid dividends as My Magic Merlin was able to outstay Vena May (Lisa Miles) who was sent out a hot $1.20 favorite. Vena May took control from early leader Sheer Modern (Bec Bartley) and rolled along at a reasonable clip. Frenning speared through from the back row to be one-out and two-back, but soon pulled out confidently and moved to outside the leader. The top two raced head-and-head over the final stages with My Magic Merlin getting in front 50 metres from the wire to land a huge upset. Race Replay COBRAM Sunday Race 6 Frenning said she loved getting the win for the passionate harness racing family. "The whole Anderson family was very excited - they love their horses and that's what it's all about," she said. "I'd watched a few of the horse's race videos and Wayne was correct because the horse was more tough than speedy. "The win was a bonus because I was just so glad to be part of the special day." Cobram has certainly been a happy hunting ground for the 27-year-old former Monte rider, who originally came to Australia on a three-month backpacking holiday to get away from another cold Swedish winter. Kima Frenning                                   --Cobram HRC photo The popular horsewoman has won the past two previous Cobram Cups with Im The Boss and Buster Brady. "Yes, I do seem to have much success at the track, but I enjoy it, and the people are just great," Frenning said. My Magic Merlin was purchased by the Anderson clan about three months ago from the strong Grant Dixon stable, at Mount Tamborine, in the Hinterland overlooking the famous Gold Coast in Queensland. Dam of the pacer, Making Magic, was a consistent racemare with 15 wins and 22 placings for over $130,000 when prepared by Dixon's father Bill, during the 2008-11 seasons. Macheasy, a full brother to My Magic Merlin, is a C9 class gelding with 14 wins and 19 placings for $75,000, trained by Grant. Anderson said he believed a change in feed and a different workload had helped My Magic Merlin to hit top form. "If he can keep on improving, I might just see a dream come true and aim at a Melton race in Melbourne," he said. "That would be special, and even better if our son Chris could drive him."   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

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

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