Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Bartley dominates drivers challenge

Shepparton reinswoman Bec Bartley was in a class of her own last weekend when she drove four straight winners in five race series of the Shepparton Young Drivers Challenge.

GUS UNDERWOOD June 6, 2014 3:15am

Bec Bartley won the first four races of the five-race series for junior drivers to beat the best young drivers in Australia.

Star Shepparton reinswoman Bec Bartley made the Shepparton Young Drivers Challenge series her own last week.

In what is believed to be an unprecedented performance in these type of competitions in Australasia, the petite 21-year-old claimed the first four heats of the five-race series against many of the country’s best young drivers.

And to add to her extraordinary feat, all her winners were on longshots.

Bartley started the series at Shepparton on Thursday night by partnering the Shepparton-trained Riviera Kiss to victory at tote odds of just more than 25-1.

The Dean Pattison-trained Village Jasper mare, who was having only her third start for almost a year, beat the Steve Duffy-trained and Joshua Duggan-driven favourite Almost El Eagle in a Shepparton quinella.

In the second and final heat at Shepparton, Bartley was back in the winners’ circle, partnering the Gary Pekin-trained Boom Boom Hall to victory at odds of nearly 17-1.

Not satisfied with these wins that virtually clinched her the title, Bartley bobbed up again in the only heat at Melton last Friday night, winning on the Glenn Freeman-trained Smiling Spirit, another rank outsider who paid a whopping $54.30 on the tote.

The odds of Bartley continuing her winning steak would have been astronomical when she travelled to Ballarat on Saturday night to contest the last two heats of the series.

But she did it again.

In the fourth heat at Ballarat, Bartley continued her memorable clean-sweep of the series, this time steering the 10-1 shot Kankkunen to victory.

Her dizzy run finally ended in the fifth and final heat at Ballarat when she finished fifth on Belvoirama, who was a 32-1 shot.

Bartley scored a whopping 46 points, just four points off the possible 50 in the series.

‘‘She was the story of the series, that’s for sure,’’ Ballarat Harness Racing Club chief executive Paul Rowse said.

‘‘By the time the series finished, everyone knew who Rebecca Bartley was.’’

Rowse described the Young Drivers Challenge as a great series and praised the Shepparton Harness Racing Club for developing the concept.

He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Bartley went on to achieve similar to what Kerryn Manning, Jodi Quinlan and Amy Tubbs had been able to do.

Bartley thanked series organisers and her fellow young drivers in her victory speech at Ballarat.

Hoofnote: If you had invested $10 all-up on Bartley’s four winners you would have collected a cool $2.9million.

Of course, if you got really hungry and invested that amount all-up on her fifth drive and she had of won you would have won a cool $94million. But if you did this and because she was beaten, you wouldn’t have got your $10 back.

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