Speed to Safety

Ladies in Racing - - Contents -

The Speed to Safety Pro­gram, which is rapidly grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity ev­ery year, re­quires rid­ers to ride over 1000m in as close to their given op­ti­mum time as pos­si­ble. Th­ese times are based on their set time for their cross coun­try com­pe­ti­tions. Teach­ing rid­ers this skill of rid­ing to time not only ben­e­fits their time-keep­ing for event­ing, but also en­gages them in the skills re­quired to ride track work for race horse train­ers. Each of the 17 rid­ers who qual­i­fied for the Cham­pi­onships at Moonee Val­ley, had se­cured their place through tak­ing part in some of the 30 qual­i­fy­ing train­ing days held at race cour­ses all across the State. This year is the first year that all 10 zones of the Vic­to­rian Pony Club had Rep­re­sen­ta­tives com­pet­ing - a great achieve­ment in such a short time. With over 90% of rid­ers tak­ing part in this pro­gram be­ing fe­male, it was great to see brothers Harry and Timmy Grace keep­ing the side up for the boys, rep­re­sent­ing North East­ern Zone.

This year’s win­ners were Ri­ley Perry-par­menter (Mid­land Zone) and Celina Gray (East Gipp­s­land Zone). They were this year’s Cham­pi­ons in their re­spec­tive grades.

Ri­ley rode her Off the Track thor­ough­bred, De­sert­line, to vic­tory in the Grade 1 and 2 sec­tions and was less than a tenth of a se­cond out­side the op­ti­mal time of 109 sec­onds. This was a great achieve­ment for Ri­ley, af­ter she had fin­ished 3rd in last year’s State Cham­pi­onships. Ri­ley con­trib­uted her suc­cess to the rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence she gained through the Rac­ing Vic­to­ria Track Rider Pro­gram, plus work ex­pe­ri­ence with Mel­bourne Cup win­ning trainer Dar­ren Weir, Peter Moody and es­pe­cially her cur­rent em­ploy­ers, Terry and Ka­rina O’sul­li­van.

Celina, also no stranger to the rac­ing scene, took out the Grade 3 and 4 sec­tions. Celina was also placed in last year’s Cham­pi­onships, when

THE 2015 SPEED TO SAFETY STATE CHAM­PI­ONSHIPS WERE FULL OF EX­CITE­MENT, FUN AND SMILES FOR EV­ERY­ONE. HELD AT MOONEE VAL­LEY RACE COURSE ON AU­GUST 22ND, THIS DAY TURNED ON GLO­RI­OUS WEATHER AND WAS THE PER­FECT DAY FOR PONY CLUB MEM­BERS AND THEIR FAM­I­LIES TO GET A PRE­VIEW

OF SOME OF THE HORSES PRE­PAR­ING FOR THEIR SPRING CAM­PAIGNS.

she fin­ished a strong 4th. She re­turned in style this year to win with just one se­cond over her op­ti­mum time of 120 sec­onds. Celina’s fam­ily come from a strong rac­ing back­ground with her father Brian a re­tired jockey and now a bar­rier at­ten­dant and her grand­fa­ther Peter be­ing an owner and trainer. Celina re­ally made it a fam­ily af­fair, when she rode her cham­pi­onship ride in her father’s race sad­dle and her grand­fa­ther’s colours, of which she was most proud. Celina now heads off to Univer­sity to study to be­come a Ve­teri­nar­ian and def­i­nitely sees her­self as a race track vet, once her stud­ies are com­plete. Huge con­grat­u­la­tions go to all rid­ers who not only qual­i­fied for the State Cham­pi­onships, but to all who took part in the train­ing and qual­i­fy­ing days through­out the year. Qual­i­fi­ca­tions will start again in Fe­bru­ary 2016 and we hope to see ev­ery­one re­turn, while bring­ing a few new faces along. For fur­ther de­tails on Rac­ing Vic­to­ria’s Speed to Safety Pro­gram, visit

or con­tact Lisa Cof­fey

Story by Lisa Cof­fey - Rac­ing Vic­to­ria Im­ages by Dar­ren Mcna­mara

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