FOURTH generation Hunter Valley participant Melanie Elder is reaping the benefits of the grounding she has been given in harness racing by fast becoming recognised for her talent as a trainer.
The 28-year-old prepares her team out of her family’s Maitland establishment, following the footsteps of her great grandfather Ben, grandfather Brian and father Darren.
With the assistance of her partner Joe Taaffe, Elder manages a boutique team, which primarily race on the provincial circuit, but occasionally progress to the metropolitan scene.
One such performer to make the ‘trip into town’ is Man From Braavos, which will contest tomorrow night’s $100,000 TAB State Championship at Club Menangle.
Man From Braavos earned his position in the field with his gutsy second in last week’s Hunter Regional Championship in Newcastle.
Driven by Luke McCarthy, the seven-year-old worked overtime in the ‘death seat’ only to be beaten by a half-head by Metallica Man.
“He was just so very brave,” Elder said. “Reflecting on what he did from that terrible draw, and how much ground he had to cover, makes us very proud.
“I give so much praise to Luke for giving our bloke every chance. He is truly one of the best reinsmen in the sport and I am so fortunate to be associated with him.”
McCarthy will again partner Man From Braavo, which has drawn barrier three.
“He has come through last Friday’s run really well and is the best that we could have him,” Elder said.
“I am excitedly nervous about tomorrow night’s race but am supremely confident of a good showing from him.”
- MICHAEL DUMESNY