Alex Holland with Alittlebit Rusty before a ‘comeback’ to racing at the Dubbo Showground paceway on Saturday night.Alex Holland grew up with horses at Troy Stud but admits he is a little nervous before having his first drive for more than 10 years at Dubbo on Saturday night.
Holland will drive the aptly named Alittlebit Rusty in the Palis Pride Pace over 2120 metres.
Even more interesting is the fact that the gelding is eight years old and this will be his first race engagement.
“I guest we’ll both be a little bit rusty on Saturday night,” said Holland, who owns the gelding with his wife Lorraine.
“The family has had so many good horses over a lot of years and we had some great times but there was a period quite some time ago when we lost a lot of promising types because of various reasons.
“We had a nice full brother to Garry D’Oro who died in the space of two days with a stomach virus and it didn’t get any better so I just got fed up with it all and virtually gave the game away.”
Alex’s father, the late Ray Holland, was a legend in harness racing with the family’s best horse Rowan Garry all quality on the way to winning something like 26 of his 56 starts.
Alex Holland believes that Alittlebit Rusty is probably his last progeny to race from their mare Lehigh Spring.
“Alittlebit Rusty comes from a pretty good line, being a full brother to the likes of Full Rusty and Rusty Rowan who was eventually sold to American interests,” Alex said.
“Unfortunately I’ve had to work away in recent times and this gelding has had only a limited preparation with swimming during the week and then track work when I get home. In recent weeks we’ve picked up the pace a bit and he was beaten a head in a trial at Dubbo in the mud last Tuesday.
“For us harness racing now is purely a hobby but it’s nice to be back in the gig.”
While punters may want to have a sentimental couple of dollars on Holland’s gelding, the more serious backers will be looking to the chances of the Garth Hoy trained and driven Rebelle.
The Stature USA x Bellevedere three-year-old gelding is one of the most consistent pacers in work and boasts a career record of six wins and two placings from just 10 starts.
This preparation he ran two seconds on resuming and then put together three successive wins at Bathurst and Dubbo (twice) before a last-start sixth at Bathurst on December 29.
Despite being drawn in barrier nine on Saturday night, he does look to be one of the best bets of the night.
And if you can’t back a winner on the track, Dubbo club secretary-manager Marge Bradley urges patrons to try their luck with a number of race book competitions.
“A feature of our prizes this week is the Rex (Regional Express) race book competition that will be drawn and I am certain the winner will enjoy the two return tickets to Sydney,” Bradley said.
“Other competitions are the Dubbo Tenpin Bowl family pass for two adults and two children for two games each including shoe hire, as well as the Western Star dinner for two and the Eagle Boys Pizza prize of two large pizzas.
“Racegoers will also be able to take advantage of the food and refreshments that are always popular each race night.
“Don Schumacher and Beetson Cole have all the refreshments at the bar while Patsy and Brett Wrigley and their team in the canteen have food to suit young and old.”
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