Rebecca Bartley was a content teenager when she secured a job with Shepparton trots trainer Steve O’Donoghue four years ago.By Gus Underwood
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.
A male allegedly armed with a hunting knifed stole cash from a Euroa McDonald's last night.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
Drivers crossing the Echuca-Moama bridge faced delays this morning at 11.30am when a tractor lost its wheel.
Rochester’s old Courthouse is undergoing a facelift thanks to a restoration grant.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Australian sporting legends are at Heathcote Golf Club this morning for the MS Ashes Trek golf day to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis.
Cobram Barooga Apex Club have raised more than $3600 for Irvin House at Cobram District Health.
Deniliquin RSL Club's A grade bowling championships came to a head on Sunday, with preliminary matches in B and C grade also taking place.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
State Member for Benalla Bill Sykes has thrown his support behind the government’s proposed new domestic animal ownership laws.
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