Rebecca Bartley was a content teenager when she secured a job with Shepparton trots trainer Steve O’Donoghue four years ago.GUS UNDERWOOD February 22, 2013 4:20am
Rebecca Bartley was a content teenager when she secured a job with Shepparton trots trainer Steve O’Donoghue four years ago.
A baptism in pony trotters had Bartley dreaming constantly of a career around horses and in the sulky.
But in her wildest dreams she didn’t anticipate how quickly it would all happen.
On Sunday the petite reinswoman, raised at Merrigum, flies to Sydney to experience her biggest week and thrill so far in the industry.
She has been selected to represent Victoria in the Australasian Young Drivers’ Championship.
This means pitting her driving and horse skills against some of the most promising young drivers Australia and New Zealand has to offer.
Bartley will be joined by another Victorian reinswoman, Ellen Tormey, who gets automatic entry into the five-meeting series as the reigning champion. Other states and the two New Zealand islands will have just the one representative.
Bartley admits she was pleasantly surprised when she learnt of her selection to represent Victoria in such a prestigious series.
‘‘It’s a big honour and it’s going to be a good life experience,’’ she said this week reflecting on her selection.
Bartley makes no secret she owes everything she has achieved to date to her boss and mentor O’Donoghue.
‘‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Steve,’’ she said.
‘‘He’s put trust in me and gave me a start, so I’m trying hard to repay his faith.’’
In four years under O’Donoghue’s tutelage, Bartley has driven more than 100 winners, a generous portion of them for O’Donoghue.
Her 100th winner aptly came up on the O’Donoghue-trained Bookkeeper at Albury in November.
But her reputation as a budding and competent reinswoman has grown and so has the interest of other trainers who have given her plenty of chances during the past two seasons.
She has proved particularly popular in the Sunraysia area and is a regular driver at Mildura meetings.
Bartley is preparing for a hectic week when she meets up with other championship aspirants at a base in Camden on Sydney’s outskirts on Sunday.
In between competing at five meetings throughout NSW next week, there is plenty of off-track entertainment to keep the title challengers busy away from the racetracks as well.
Drivers will compete in two heats at Goulburn on Monday, Menangle on Tuesday, Bathurst on Wednesday and Penrith on Thursday before going into one final heat on Inter Dominion final day at Menangle on Sunday week.
And, for Bartley, Monday just won’t come around quickly enough.
The sky is the limit for Wanganui Year 12 VCAL student Leigh Polan, 18, who decided to create two posters examining birdlife around the school.
The under 16 Pigeons kick started the YFNC's finals campaign with a resounding victory over the Paul Spargo led Scots College in the Grand Final of the AWJFL Elwyn Langford Shield at the Albury Sports Ground on Sunday.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
An ad for the Healthy Ageing Project will be filmed in Echuca, Rushworth and Rochester today.
More than $15,000 was raised at a family day on Sunday. The event was to raise money for the families of Barry Purtell and Dave Lobb.
Book Week gets colourful turnout.
Deaprtment of Environment and Primary Industries unhappy about Mt Disappointment vandals.
Jerilderie Shire deputy mayor Ruth McRae handed the key over for the new Rural Fire Service station last Friday.
Farmers have a new weapon in the fight against mice.
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
Murray Irrigation to search for new boss after Anthony Couroupis finishes with the company.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
The Benalla Indian Myna Action Group will pay a $1 per bird bounty on live birds delivered to CAL farm. National Party MP Bill Sykes donated $100 to fund the bounty.
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