Harness racing has long been a family dominated sport, where sons and daughters follow in their parents footsteps. This has been proven time and time over with well known family dynasties such as the Gath’s, Justice’s, Sugars’ ,Hill’s , Hall’s, Tubbs’ and many, many more . This fact, often makes it seem difficult to break into the industry, without the immediate family backing. But, is it really, as difficult as it seems? Although, not having the close family ties to the sport, may make some things a little tougher, the sport of harness racing once again has shown us that, it really is an accessible sport to participate in.
Monday the 30th of October, was a day that James Clark won’t forget. That day marks his first win as a harness racing trainer/driver on his beloved horse “The Octagon” in the Hopkins Saddlery Pace at Globe Derby Park. James has always been an incredibly passionate harness racing fan with his interest stemming back to his childhood, where he was exposed to the sport by his Late Pop, Jack Clark. Earliest memories of sitting on his Pop’s lap during jog work, lit a fire that inturn pushed James to follow his dream as a young adult.
Getting to this point wasn’t easy , James started in SA by purchasing a little filly and sending her to be trained at Franca Carbone’s Harness Racing facility. As an owner he was heavily involved in everything to do with his horses care . Thankfully , his trainer Franca was happy to have him involved in the daily caretaking. Starting out as a stable hand , driving trackwork, his reinsman skills improved and attending race meetings and such James began to build a strong rapport with the local harness racing community. Having a great attitude and work ethic paid off, because when it came time to secure trial drives, many of the associates and friends he had made were happy to offer him drives, he then obtained his drivers license and the rest is history.
This feel good story goes to show, that if you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. With determination hard work and a good attitude it can be achieved. Harness racing is a thrilling sport surrounded by a great community. If you’re looking for a hobby that is exciting challenging and can become quite lucrative this is the one for you. Wether your born into it or not Harness racing is truly FREE FOR ALL.
For more info on how to get involved in harness racing SA go to http://www.saharnessracing.com/site/
Credit Photography Franca Carbone