February 1, 2023 Michael Court
OUR young men and women drivers [and trainers] love a good scrap.
Usually it’s on the track in their desperation to emerge a winner.
Yet when the dust has settled and the points are added up, these young horsemen and women also love some recognition for their efforts – post-race.
Enter the Club Menangle Medal, our annual competition to encourage and pay tribute to the efforts of the young people in harness racing and their efforts at our premier track, Tabcorp Park Menangle.
While many of these people probably feel the long hours involved with training and working horses go unrewarded, this is a reminder that they are indeed being noticed – and by those that matter.
Each month our judging panel at Club Menangle and National Trotguide sift through (and discuss) the results from Club Menangle’s meetings so we can judge the best performances of the month and acknowledge that by making them our Monthly Medal winners.
For the rest of February we will reveal the winners from each month of 2022 with the Club Menangle Medal winner to be announced on Sunday, February 26.
It’s been another year to savour too, with the girls more than matching the boys with several outstanding performances during a competitive year of harness racing.
But we cannot keep it a secret any longer and the winner of the Club Menangle Medal is about to be chosen from the monthly winners which we start revealing today.
Open to the newer participants in the industry each month, a winner is selected on performances at Tabcorp Park Menangle and at the conclusion of the season the Medal winner is chosen from (last year’s) 12 finalists.
Last year’s winner, Jack Callaghan, is not eligible to win future medals to enable others to share in future spoils.
Here’s the first three winners for the year, with the other winners to be named in coming days.
Watch this space for the rest of the year’s winners:
ASH HART: One of the hardest workers in the industry, Ash often has to take a back seat to little brother Cameron, who admittedly had a season to remember. But Ash has also taken up training and tasted success as both a trainer and driver during a hectic year where she has handled pacers and trotters with remarkable dexterity.
WILL RIXON: Had his best season in his sixth year in the sulky with 83 winners, a healthy strike rate and a return of almost a million dollars for connections of horses he drove. At the ripe old age of 22, Rixon is already a Group 1 winner and finds some of his toughest competition comes from the same family with his twin sister Hannah also making a name for herself in the driving ranks. Will now has 363 career wins.
SOFIA ARVIDSSON: What an impact this young lady has made in the ranks of NSW trainers and drivers since making the momentous decision to switch her ‘allegiance’ from Victoria to NSW and take up residence near Tabcorp Park Menangle. She has put her hand up to work for various stables and that has been paying off with some impressive drives – and performances – at the premier track in her first year in Sydney.