Brooke goes through a sentimental victory

Victorian harness racing trainer Brooke Hansen is no stranger to the winner’s circle, but by her own admission it’s been “a while”!

Hansen, who has trained big teams in the past, now trains just one horse, but couldn’t be happier about her hobbyist status or a breakthrough win with her trotter Just Abit Dusty (Bacardi Lindy) at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night (November 25), hosted by Glen Craven.

“I absolutely loved stepping back and not working so many horses. I’ve been working full-time and it’s nice to be able to do my horse just for the fun of it – and I enjoy it,” Hansen said.

Victory in the $10,000 VicBred Platinum pace was Just Abit Dusty’s first and the first win in two seasons for his trainer, who is based at Armstrong, near Ballarat. The four-year-old also received his first VicBred win bonus and first Hansen breeders’ bonus.

“Getting the win was just a dream – he’s a very sentimental horse. My mom and dad (Jim and Irene) and my sister Melissa raised him with me and he’s the first one we’ve raised together that won,” Hansen said.

“We were beginning to think this would never happen! I got into harness racing when my mum and dad wouldn’t let me have a pony as a kid. I got a job at Noel Alexander and Jayne Davies’ stables and I’d be there every weekend!” she said.

“As I got more and more involved in the sport, Mom and Dad came in as owners of more horses.”

Melissa, Jim, Brooke and Irene with driver Glen Craven after Just Abit Dusty’s win

Hansen said Just Abit Dusty is from Papparazzi Snapshot (Grinning from ear to ear) a horse that the family raced together.

“She was actually bred on pace and had her first five starts as a pacer,” Hansen said.

“Then I converted her to square walking, and she won 10 races. She won a Boort Trotters Cup (2014) which I would say is my most memorable moment in harness racing. It was a great thrill because it hadn’t been easy.”

That’s an understatement. Even after being converted to trot, Papparazzi Snapshot took its time to reach its potential. On her first five attempts, she broke each time beating an average of 146 yards.

But Hansen’s patience, faith and perseverance eventually paid off when Papparazzi Snapshot won on her 11th start as a trotter, a tough performance, at Horsham, then went on to win three of her next six starts. She ended her career with over $55,000 in stakes.

Hansen hopes Papparazzi Snapshot’s “late blooming” traits will be passed on to the next generation.

“Physically, Just Abit Dusty is five, but mentally he’s probably two – it’s my fault, I didn’t strap him hard early on, so hopefully he’ll get a bit. better yet,” she said.

“Victoria was pretty special though because Melissa helped me a lot in the stables and put a lot into this guy too.”

of Terry Gangesfor Harnesslink

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