It was fitting that a graduate of the Gippsland Harness Training Centre should win a race at Warragul's trots meeting on Monday afternoon, on a day when the Centre's importance to the Victorian racing industry was recognised.
The Gippsland Harness Training Centre has operated at the Warragul Pacing Bowl for almost 20 years, enhancing the life skills of and creating employment opportunities for hundreds of graduates since it was established.
One such graduate, Yarra Valley horseman Ken Browne, landed a well deserved win in the third race on Monday with Hi Tech Fury.
Browne has been a long standing participant in the Gippsland area, and is currently based at the Gruyere property of veteran horseman Peter Goudie, after recently leaving the position of track curator at the Cranbourne harness venue.
Browne is also a regular among the raceday staff at Warragul.
Driver Michael Bellman took Hi Tech Fury to the front in Monday's race, and despite the pace of the race quickening sharply heading into the last circuit, the nine-year-old gelding kept on finding in the home straight, to score his eleventh win at start 139.
Champion reinsman Chris Alford landed two of the seven winners on the day. Soho Ledger gave Alford and trainer Jayne Davies few concerns when winning the Trotters Handicap as a red hot favourite.
The horse made it wins at successive Warragul meetings after a victory on the track a fortnight earlier. Alford also steered the Allan McDonough trained Tiz A Jamane to victory in the final event.
Mornington Peninsula horseman Trevor Reid landed the opening race of the day with Elteearr, the five-year-old mare's first race victory at start five.
Young driver Zac Phillips also showed his talent with race wins in successive events. Phillips drove Starzzz Of Icon to win the fifth event for Melton horseman Adam Kelly, while Gozo Lighting showed a welcome return to form for trainer George Batsakis in the sixth.
Fellow junior reinsman Patrick Franklin steered Glenhuggard to victory in the fourth race for trainer Paul Green.
Glenhuggard was another veteran winner on the day - the nine-year-old having raced 124 times previously for nine wins and 21 placings.
Warragul hosts its final meeting of the 2015/2016 Victorian racing season on Monday, August 20.