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Steward Starts Sulky Career

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Published: March 29, 2009 5:18 pm ET

Last Comment: March 30, 2009 8:09 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

It’s a role he’s been prepping for since he could walk and now that’s he turned 18, Nick Steward of London, ON is wasting no time pursuing the career he’s very passionate about.

“Nick is my grandson, and I can remember scooping him up and holding him in the jog cart with me since he was four years old,” says well known London based trainer Larry Fitzsimmons, a winner of 933 races for over $5.4 million. “What I’m most proud of right now is the kind things people are saying, that he sits a horse right, that he handles them well and with respect. He’s got a good start on things. He’s warmed up as many as eight horses on a race night too for a lot of trainers including Rod Duford. It’s great that they know and trust him and I hope he’ll keep on earning that trust.”

“I think the earliest I can recall jogging a horse alone was when I was eight years old,” Nick recollects. “Working for my granddad has taught me so much and it still is. As far as starting my career driving, I have a lot of idols. Like most Canadians, John Campbell is one I really look up to. Locally, being out there alongside really talented guys like Brad Forward and Alfie Carroll is just great. For the guys my own age, it was amazing to see Doug McNair win the Battle Of Waterloo last year and to be having the success he is” Nick added.

He hasn’t wasted any time joining the training and ownership ranks, either. He notched his first pair of training wins last year and has added another pair this year. Nick is also an ownership partner on four two year olds in training, and a pair in particular are those he’s most excited about. His name is on the papers with his mother, Lisa, on pacing colt Ear To Ear (Grinfromeartoear-Hornby Lucky) and with his brother, Ryan, on pacing filly Starlite Killean (Aces N Sevens-Starlite Spring).

Fast Learning Curve, His 1st Win

Nick’s first pari-mutuel start in the bike was at Western Fair on the March 24 program for trainer Ray Bunn with a three-year-old filly. He tried to work out a trip from the track’s outside post seven with The Grey Filly (Northern Luck-A Roan Again). She was making her first start of 2009 after competing in the Trillium Series and the Middlesex County Series last year.

“I thought I did alright sitting as long as I did but I might have over estimated her a bit when I went three wide before the final turn,” he says. “It’s a process and I feel I’m learning quickly and don’t feel nervous at all being out there. The two best horses I’ve been hands on with so far are Stonebridge Celest and Cuban Seelster and a goal I have is to earn the chance to drive horses of that calibre."

After several drives in Windsor last Wednesday and then on Friday morning in the Western Fair qualifiers, Nick scored his 1st lifetime win. In the March 27 1st race at Western Fair he sat a perfect pocket trip with three year old Rambaran-D Js Fool filly Rhianne to score easily for owner Darryl Newbigging of Komoka, ON and trainer Ray Bunn.

“He’s was a little put out with me that I haven’t named him on Stonebridge Celest yet for the Mares top class here in London” says Nick’s granddad, Larry Fitzsimmons. “He’s only 18 and has had his drivers’ license for less than eight weeks. Anyone that’s seen him sit behind a horse will tell you that his time will come soon enough.”

March Into Easter

The March Madness promotions end at Western Fair on the Tuesday afternoon, March 31 program with a ‘Toonie Tuesday’ theme based on the Canadian $2 coin.

On-track program coupons can be redeemed from 3-6 p.m. for a $2 betting voucher. Non-winning exactor tickets from London races on Tuesday can be entered for a chance to win double the original bet. Tuesday’s snack bar special is a hotdog and soft drink for $2.

April will be ushered in with the ‘Easter Bunny Hop’ Handicapping Contest. The preliminary legs on April 3rd, 6th, and 7th set the stage for the final on April 10th with cash prizes, betting vouchers, and Easter baskets on the line.

Through June, post time at Western Fair each Monday and Tuesday afternoon is at 3:35 p.m. and every Friday evening at 7:05 p.m.

(Western Fair Raceway)

March 30, 2009 - 8:09 amI remember seeing Nick

Norm Borg SAID...

I remember seeing Nick jogging horses every day during his summer vacations. I also remember seeing a proud grand dad looking on.

Congratulations to Nick and to Larry. Well done.

Norm Borg

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