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An Aussie & A Doctor Highlight COSA TV

Published: May 20, 2020 5:38 pm ET

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A unique trio of horsemen were initially supposed to be featured on the Wednesday evening (May 20) episode of COSA TV. An Australian trainer/driver who has made quite a name for herself here in Canada, an O’Brien Award winning veteran trainer known for developing young race horses into champions and a double Hall of Fame driver -- Natasha Day, Dr. Ian Moore and Wally Hennessey.

Host Greg Blanchard revisited favourite races and favourite horses with Day and Moore, while technical difficulties halted having Wally Hennessey part of the discussion. As usual, interactive trivia questions were asked throughout the show for viewers to answer for the chance to win prizes.

Dr. Ian Moore was first to take a trip down memory lane with a horse he is quite fond of, double millionaire pacer State Treasurer. Moore defined three of his favourite moments throughout the son of Real Desire’s career.

“The first one was when he had the rail in the final of the Molson Pace and I thought we were good to go to win and he made a break leaving. It was a heck of a race for him to circle the field and win still after making a break -- especially on that track against those caliber of horses, it was incredible. It was phenomenal to see, I’ve raced at London a lot and I don't think I have ever seen a horse do that before.

"Next, would be when he won the Canadian Pacing Derby with Randy Waples aboard, Randy made a gutsy move at the half by going three-wide to win the race, I really enjoyed that. Lastly, but definitely not least would be the U.S. Pacing Championship with Dave Miller, he took his record that day of 1:47. At the time, I think it was the sixth fastest mile in history so it was quite a thrill.”

Natasha Day took control of the conversation, providing a brief history of how she imported to Canada from Australia.

“I was in the states for a few years and then I went home for a year and then I came to Canada and got a visa -- and I haven’t looked back since.”

Day then continued to fill viewers on how she originally got her start in the horse business.

“My mom and dad trained horses, my dad trained and drove his whole life. I was the only one out of seven kids that followed in his footsteps. I worked alongside my dad working together for quite a few years and then I went off to do my own thing. I had my fair share of handy, decent horses. I had a few that I managed to get through to Breeders Crown eliminations, and semi-finals. I had a few that I had bred myself that won Sire Stake races.”

One of the lone female drivers in the Ontario driving circuit then began to explain some of the differences between driving abroad and driving in Canada.

“One of the biggest differences I found was getting the drivers' lean. It’s hard for me, it's physically hard for me to do and still be able to have control of the horse, see where I’m going and make sure I don’t plow anyone over. It still is a challenge for me to this day. I still don’t entirely feel comfortable driving the way some of these guys here do because I feel like you don’t have any control over the horse but that’s just me. How I drove in Australia, I drove like that for 30 years, it's hard to just break out of it.

“As for styles of racing, back home, we can be three-wide at the half and here in Canada that is unheard of because the horses here just physically can’t do it. I don’t know if it’s the different training styles or what it is. So that was a different rhythm to get used to as well.”

Day continued the conversation by discussing female mentors she has had along the way and also touched base on the difficulty of breaking into a male-dominated industry here in Canada.

“There are a lot of women I look up to from back home, a lot of the girls that I grew up with have all gone on to be leading drivers. Kerryn Manning and Kate Gath are all women that have been able to teach the boys lessons back home.

“Back home, women are definitely given more chances, there are women who train full stables of horses. Here, there is a small number of women trainers compared to men. Even driving back home, there are so many girls that are driving and are doing well and are competing in young drivers' championships. Here, it still hasn’t really set in that girls can do it just as good as the guys. It’s difficult because a lot of older people still have the mentality that racing should be left to the boys and that's the way it should be. I’ve verbally had it said to me at the races before and it’s disheartening because you’re out there trying your hardest and trying to change people's opinions. It is going to be a long time before the outlook changes here -- all you can do is just keep chipping away and keep trying your best.”

Switching gears back to Dr. Ian Moore, the Maritime native and part-time pilot discussed another stable star whom he holds close his heart -- Shadow Play.

“He was a late foal, he was immature as a two-year-old but he showed a lot of good things early. He was probably the earliest two-year-old that I wore an open bridle on. He had a lot of bad luck as a two-year-old, he drew the outside almost all the time. In his entire career, he only drew the rail once -- and that was in the Little Brown Jug as a three-year-old where three horses drew for the one, two and three post positions. We actually almost sold him at the end of his three-year-old year and I had trained him a few times at Mohawk and said to my partners that we should keep him because he really did have such high speed. So we kept him. At the start of his three-year-old year he struggled a bit and struggled with post positions but one night Tim Tetrick drove him and won by open lengths in 1:50 and that was sort of the start for him. Shadow Play had a lot of great desire and will to win.”

The trio, which was knocked down to a duo of just Day and Moore, answered questions from viewers and revisited fond career memories. The show was produced by CUJO Entertainment and is available for viewing below.


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