THE women take centre stage at Tabcorp Park Menangle today and at least five of the eight races could easily be taken out by some of the up and coming girls in the sport.
There are few sports where the women perform on the same stage as the men and harness racing is proud to produce an endless stream of outstanding women trainers and drivers.
And two young ladies who could probably be described as rookies can take out the opening two races where they will partner two of the shortest priced favourites on the eight-race card.
Hannah Rixon has been entrusted with getting the first of those home when she drives $2.25 favourite Oneoftheclan for James Rattray in Race 1.
The lightly-raced trotter finished second, beaten about eight metres at Menangle last week with Hannah chasing her first Menangle win.
And Rattray has stuck with the teenager this week after the square-gaiter showed good gate speed to lead last week and stuck on well to finish second to Moonshine Stride.
Former Kiwi trainer Tim Butt, now based at Menangle, has also enlisted the services of promising young driver Ashley Hart for his promising trotting mare Sassy Pants, who is first-up since May and has been installed a $1.45 favourite in Race 2.
Sassy Pants has had the benefit of two recent Menangle trials, winning both in good style, and should be able to make it nine wins from just 18 starts.
Another woman making her mark in the sport is Bankstown trainer Kerry McDowell, who will have two starters in Race 4, including the favourite Stardust, to be driven by her father-in-law Colin.
Stardust burned off his rivals last week and led all the way for an impressive win.
His task has been made easier with the withdrawal of odds-on favourite Fiore Stride and his main danger could be stablemate Matai Valour, who is first-up since early August but does have the benefit of three recent Menangle trials.
McDowell also has two starters in Race 5, the enigmatic pacer Cowboys N Indians (Colin McDowell) and Chezmac (Madi Young), with both capable of being in the finish.
Another young trainer Katie McGill also has Mahala Prince (Nathan Xuereb) in the same race.
In one of her busiest afternoons yet, McDowell also has two runners in Race 6, Shanocon and Cherokee Warrior as well as a treble of chances in Race 7, Bettors Pocket, Gentle Giant and the $3.50 favourite Volando Denario.