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    Success beyond her wildest dream Success beyond her wildest dream

    KATE GATH - Photo Stuart McCormick

    ASK Kate Gath about her early days  in Victoria and you’ll be surprised she’s become the household harness racing name that she is today.... Success beyond her wildest dream

    ASK Kate Gath about her early days  in Victoria and you’ll be surprised she’s become the household harness racing name that she is today.

    Quite frankly, the South Australian native never saw herself pursuing a long-term career in the sport and certainly had an uninspiring start to life across the border.

    But one thing led to another and many years later Gath has reached and surpassed the 2000-win milestone.

    It’s a remarkable feat by the 39-year-old, who reached the mark with the first leg of a winning double at Geelong on Wednesday night.

    The horse, Ai Sedhai, was trained by her husband Andy, a man she credits with developing her into the driver she is today.

    “I just tell people I married well,” Gath said.

    “For someone that never drove, he knows more about it or as much about it as anyone.”

    Gath’s first race drive was on January 1, 2000 at Whyalla in South Australia, and she broke through for her first success behind Rxplore – a horse trained by her father Peter Thompson – at the same meeting.

    But it was the decision to leave a job she loved in law and move to Victoria that started a rollercoaster ride that has seen Gath reach some of harness racing’s highest points over the last two decades.

    “When I got offered this job with Andy over here, I really liked my job and didn’t know what to do,” Gath recalled.

    “Dad said he’d been offered a job in Perth when he was young driving horses for a stable and he never did it. He always wondered what if.

    “I spoke to my boss and my boss said I could have my job back if I didn’t like it. But I did say to him that if I was going to try it, I had to go for six months.

    “And I hated it. I was an office worker and I lived at Brighton, near Glenelg, and we lived three rows back from the beach. I was in a share house with four other people and it was the best life.

    “After a few months I guess I just adapted to it and thought I’d just keep going – and now I’m where I am today. You definitely can’t try something for a short period of time.

    “I guess you have to get a little bit lucky with the people you are around and opportunities you get, too.”

    A. G. Hunter Cup glory with About To Rock in 2006 was a life-changing moment for Gath, and that victory sits right up there alongside recent Chariots of Fire and Miracle Mile wins with Catch A Wave, Caribbean Blaster’s 2012 Victoria Cup success and Tornado Valley’s Inter Dominion Trotting Grand Final triumph in 2018 as her most treasured memory in the sulky.

    While she sits more than 2000 winners behind Kerryn Manning as our most successful reinswoman of all time, Gath’s 54 Group 1 winners is an Australian record for a female.

    “It was just a bit of fun and it was never going to be a full-time proposition,” Gath said.

    “I’m just really lucky and I definitely could not have envisaged being where I am today when I started.”

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