IN THE RUNNING: Off and racing at Marburg's Oktoberfest, which featured a nine-race card.
IN THE RUNNING: Off and racing at Marburg's Oktoberfest, which featured a nine-race card. ALI KUCHEL

Marburg remembers local trainer with feature race

HARNESS RACING: A sea of green and white lined the rails at the Marburg Pacing Association for the Graham Harriott memorial race on Sunday.

Held in conjunction with the club's Oktoberfest celebrations, the race ran in honour of the former club president and harness racing legend.

After his death in 2012, the family and club have honoured his passion and commitment to the industry each year with the Graham Harriott Memorial Trotters handicap.

His daughter Madonna Murray said her father would be proud of the club's progress, along with its new TAB broadcast.

"I think Dad would be quite surprised they got TAB here, he would be loving it,” she said.

Location trainer-driver Denis Smith took out honours in the memorial with five-year-old gelding Northern Muscle, winning by a neck on a wet track.

Having driven a number of horses for Harriott in the late '80s and early '90s with a good strike rate, Smith said his effort on Sunday was very satisfying.

Smith said Harriott was a well-respected president of the Marburg Pacing Association and a very successful trainer of trotters.

Having made a mess of the first running of the memorial due to driver error and with numerous attempts to land a winner, Smith said Sunday was "finally the icing on the cake”.

"But he possesses great physical strength and a strong will to win,” he said.

Club president Scott Neaves said despite a severe storm, the patrons who "toughed it out” appeared to have a good time.

"This was our second Oktoberfest and the year before we abandoned the meeting because it hadn't stopped raining,” he said.

The day also featured the first two races of the young driver series.

Eight drivers under 23 years who regularly race at Marburg were selected to compete and randomly assigned drives for the races.

"It's a good opportunity for some of the young drivers who aren't associated with big stables to have a drive for some of the bigger trainers,” Neaves said.


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