Down Under Drivers Confirmed
The trio of drivers that will represent Down Under harness racing at the 2017 World Driving Championship has been finalized with the recent announcement of Australia’s reinsman.
Harness Racing Australia has announced that Queensland based reinsman Shane Graham will represent Australia at the 2017 WDC. “Shane has been most consistent in recent times, taking the J.D. Watts award as Australia’s leading driver in 2015 with 259 winners and finishing runner-up last year,” said HRA Chairman Geoff Want. “I have no doubt he will perform well in the demanding series and be a wonderful ambassador for Australian harness racing.”
Graham has been the leading Queensland driver for the past two seasons and has driven more than 2,400 career winners, with a career strike rate of 16.05% winners to starters and 42.78% winning and places to starters.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be selected to represent my country, it came as a massive shock but I can’t wait to get over there and drive against some of the very best drivers in the world,” said Graham, a third-generation horseman.
Courtesy of his win at the 2015 WDC, New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn earned the right to defend his title again in 2017. "I've never been to Canada, so I'm really looking forward to competing in 2017," Dunn said after winning the 2015 WDC. As defending champion, Dunn will wear the official colours of the International Trotting Association.
Since their country won the 2015 WDC, New Zealand had the opportunity to send a second driver, and in the fall of 2016, Harness Racing New Zealand announced that Mark Purdon would also be an official representative for New Zealand at the 2015 WDC. Although Purdon has never been New Zealand’s leading dash-winning driver, his reputation and accomplishments speak for themselves, as he has proven to be a high percentage horseman that points to the sport’s high-end stakes events.
(With files from HRA)