The lifeblood of any sport is its junior development.
Harness racing is no exception, creating a pathway for future drivers with the introduction of a Mini Trot racing schedule.
Tasracing has thrown its support behind the development of the stars of tomorrow by appointing Wayne Yole as Mini Trot Co-ordinator until April 30.
Twenty-two harness racing meetings across the north and north west will host Mini Trot races this season at Launceston, St Marys, Scottsdale, Carrick, Devonport and Burnie.
On Sunday night in Launceston, five youngsters sported their silks in two Mini Trot races at the Launceston Pacing Club meeting.
All five drivers have parents or grandparents involved in the harness racing industry which again proves harness racing is a family sport.
Once bitten by the racing bug, it’s in your blood and the passion for the industry is passed down from generation to generation.
Matilda Rawlings, daughter of Andrew Rawlings and Sharon Slater, drove her ghostly grey Rocka Fella while Makenna Hillier, daughter of Rohan and Katrina Hillier, steered the flashy Edie Betts.
Jackson Burke, son of Melissa Maine, sat behind the pint-sized Pommie with Gail Menegon’s grandaughter Sara Wilkin combining with Snapcracklepop for a well-deserved victory.
Ten-year-old Brodie Davis and his trusty pony Sky Valley have been on the Mini Trot circuit for three years and took out the first race in style.
Brodie, son of Steven and Marni Davis, proudly carries his father’s racing colours when he hops in the sulky.
Steven is one of very few dual-code-licensed trainers in the nation and is delighted Brodie loves his involvement in the industry.
“Our families have had a long association with racing and Marni and I dedicate a lot of time to our horses and our horse transport business. It makes life so much easier with Brodie also having a great love of horses,” said Steven.
“Brodie and the other youngsters who drive at the Mini Trots all have a great time, but come race time on comes the game face.
“Brodie does all the work with his pony and is really hands on around the stables. We have five pacers and three gallopers in work at the moment, and he is always up early to fill all the water buckets and keep everything in place.”
“He dreams of one day being another Gavin Lang and models his driving on the legendary reinsman. He owns our pacer Cats and Dogs who is as old as he is. If I don’t drive him to his expectations he is not afraid to give me a spray. On those occasions the trips home can be very long.”
The Mini Trot series continues Friday at Carrick.