Tamworth proves to be a field of dreams

Trackside: Tamworth Paceway was the busiest place in town at Easter as it hosted the NSW Mini Trot Championships. Photos: Gareth Gardner.

Trackside: Tamworth Paceway was the busiest place in town at Easter as it hosted the NSW Mini Trot Championships. Photos: Gareth Gardner.

Tamworth Paceway has played host to a successful staging of this year’s New South Wales Mini Trot Championships across the Easter break.

The annual titles visited for the first time in its rich history and attracted more than 180 ponies, drivers and their families.

Sam Mitchell and Maggie.

Sam Mitchell and Maggie.

A wander through the showgrounds, peppered with caravans, tents and floats, illustrated just how far the drivers, aged from five through to 17 years of age, travelled to compete at state level.

Car number plates from Victoria and Queensland were interspersed by people from Singleton, Cardiff, Dubbo, Petersham, Bathurst, Leeton, Bathurst and Cessnock.

The next generation of harness racing stars took to the track throughout a variety of races, which features three classes.

The equine stars also impressed, impeccibly turned out by their owners, on the greatest stage of all.

This is where the next Nathan Xuereb, Courtney Sutherland or Tom Ison will hail from and become a key part of the NSW harness racing scene.

Grace Panella won the coveted champion of champions prize with Velvet's Little Star, beating home Bobby Bouche, driven by Jimmy Cunningham.

Chester's Lad, driven by Charlie Harris, rounded out the trifecta.

Tamworth Paceway will be the new home for the championships going forward after Harness Racing NSW officially took over the running of the property. 

"This property is ideal for the Mini Trotting Championships," HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny said.

"It has ample stables and most importantly, established camping facilities.

"The other  other amenities assist with the operational aspects of the Championship and what’s more Tamworth is the horse capital of Australia.

"The Championships are a fantastic experience for our young competitors and a holiday with the family and friends during the four-day Easter break makes for a really great time."

One young driver to make a good impression was Cooper James, who won a race with his pony Tootles.

James was warmly congratulated as he made his way off the track in the sulky, but remain eternally modest.

“I only had to pass one horse to win it,” he said.

Tamworth's team of nine drivers impressed across the weekend and looked a million dollars in their new shirts donated by event sponsor Kootingal Quality Meats.

Picture perfect conditions ensured for great racing and ran smoothly thanks to the fine work of volunteers.

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