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 Tamleugh North farmer has described the theft of four sheep fences from his tornado-damaged property ''a low act''.
Most people at the J C Lowe Oval left on Saturday evening talking about the game but not the result. Pigeon Coach Chris Kennedy summed up the feeling adequately when he said after the game; “it was a frustrating game, but my players weren’t responsible for the frustration.”
The move to extend the Tatura War Memorial area and honour Victoria Cross hero Robert Mactier with the erection of a statue in the Hogan St gardens named in his honour, continues.
A Kyabram man who struck a cyclist on Echuca-Moama bridge with a beer can thrown from the vehicle he was in was convicted and fined $400 in Moama Local Court on Wednesday.
A Rochester mother told a health forum about the devastating effect drugs have had on her family.
Over six hours of junior football is scheduled for Kyabram Recreation Reserve this Sunday.
Ten people were injured after Two Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) collided during a training course at the Puckapunyal Military Training Range in on Wednesday, May 22.
The Finley Apex Sports and Community Centre has secured a $500,000 grant from Regional Development Australia.
A purpose-built bike, equipped with amateur radio, will be on the O'Keefe Rail Trail tomorrow.
Cobram residents John Anderson and Ian Cobb will race down memory lane this weekend when they compete in the annual Historic Winton.
Deniliquin Fire and Rescue's open day has been hailed a success by captain Bill Muirhead.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is investigating incidents of abortion or still-births under the Lamb and Kid Mortality Surveillance Project.(LKSMP).
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