New Zealand Trotting Club Triumph – Another first for Ladies in Racing
The horse she piloted, Arden Rooney, is also trained by Kerryn. So she became the first woman to train a NZ Cup winner also. Of course winning is nothing new for Kerryn – she has won more than 3,500 races during her illustrious career, but this win was extra special to her. “I remember watching this race as a young child, thinking how great it would be to win and now my dream has been fulfilled,” Kerryn said post-race, as cameras beamed pictures of an elated ‘Aussie’ lady aboard her stable star pacer across Australasia. In Australia trotting fans were ecstatic. The popular girl from Great Western in Victoria had beaten the best in the business. “I probably appreciate this (win) more because I’m a bit older – all the success I had when I was young, I sort of took for granted,” Kerryn said when asked where the victory stood alongside her other career highlights. And there have been many. In season 2002-03 Kerryn became the first Australian driver – male or female – to notch more than 300 winners in a single season. So beguiled was the township of Great Western, they erected a sign on the main road which still stands today, reminding all passers through that Kerryn Manning is a local. In 1997 she became the first lady to drive a winner in both the Southern and Northern Hemisphere’s with victory aboard trotter Knight Pistol in Norway. Last season she became the youngest ever recipient of Victorian harness racing’s coveted industry honour, the Gordon Rothacker Medal. Kerryn has also won numerous Group 1 races in Australia, but the Addington success in November has become “the greatest win of my career”, she said. Gender inequality in harness racing is a distant memory. Kerryn, who is 39, recalls things being a bit different when she started out.
“The number of girls in the sport has tripled at least since I started,” she said. “There are a lot of girls coming through the ranks. “Horses sometimes run (better) for girls. It’s funny how it works and sometimes it doesn’t make sense … but some horses just go so much better for some people. We have a lot of girls coming through the ranks who are doing really well.”
Ladies in harness racing nowadays don’t just compete on an even keel with the men, quite often they dominate.
A quick glance at the Melbourne metropolitan drivers’ premiership reveals three of the top 10 are female, with 25-year-old Amanda Turnbull and 32-year-old Kate Gath joining Kerryn on the chart.
More importantly, in the junior driving ranks, it is a similar story with three of the top 10 concession drivers in Victoria being young ladies – Emma Hamblin, Donna Castles and Lisa Bartley.
Last season’s leading Victorian Metropolitan and State-wide Trainer was Emma Stewart, whose 48 metropolitan victories in 12 months eclipsed a who’s who of leading trotting trainers for the last decade. No one had had near 48 wins.
SEVEN DAYS AFTER JOCKEY MICHELLE PAYNE BECAME THE FIRST LADY JOCKEY TO WIN THE MELBOURNE CUP ABOARD PRINCE OF PENZANCE, ANOTHER VICTORIAN, HARNESS DRIVER KERRYN MANNING, WON HARNESS RACING’S EQUIVALENT – THE RACE THAT STOPS A NATION IN NEW ZEALAND,
THE NEW ZEALAND TROTTING CUP.
Five ladies, Emma Stewart, Nicole Molander, Belinda Mccarthy, Amanda and Kerryn finished inside the top 10 on the metropolitan trainers’ premiership. Around Australia it’s a similar scenario. In New South Wales, the top two metropolitan trainers are Kerry Ann Turner and Belinda while 22-year-old Lauren Panella, won last year’s NSW driving premiership by a huge margin, when she had 167 wins all up. In Queensland, Vicki Rasmussen is the leading Metropolitan Trainer and Chantal Turpin is second on the State Trainers’ title. In South Australia, Danielle Hill is comfortably in first place on their State Drivers’ premiership. The fact that Kerryn’s momentous achievement came hot on the heels of Michelle Payne’s, thrust horse racing into the national spotlight for all the right reasons twice in the space of seven days. Before she took her position in the sulky behind Arden Rooney at Addington in the two-mile Group 1, Kerryn Manning said she was proud of Michelle’s achievement. “Good on her,” Kerryn declared, when asked what she thought of Michelle’s now famous; “because ladies can do anything and we can beat the world!”