FROM first climbing in the gig for a mini trotting race in 1998 to driving at Melton Park in a heat of the Inter Dominion Series – Anthony Frisby has certainly come a long way.
As a young kid in Queensland excited to steer Pacing Peggy, Frisby would never have dreamed that he would line up against the best drivers from across Australia and New Zealand in one of the world’s great harness racing series.
In 2006 his father-trainer Chris Frisby had a runner – Dinki Di – contest a heat of the Inter Dominion series in Hobart, but that was some 2½ years before Anthony made his senior driving debut.
However, 10 years and two months after he contested his first senior race, Frisby can now count himself amongst those to have experienced driving in an Inter Dominion series.
READ ALSO: Higgs’ veteran shows he’s not yet done with
On Saturday night at Melton he guided Our Uncle Sam, a $29.20 chance, to fourth place in the third of the 2,240 metres, Group 3 first round qualifying heats.
“It was sort of dream to be able to have a horse make it, let alone drive in the bloody thing. We always sort of planned his preparation around this and hoped he’d make the step,” Frisby said. “It’s fantastic to even make there, to be good enough to even get in the race. He was on the verge, but he ended up making it in pretty easy.”
As he came out onto the track for his heat – one which also included the Amanda Turnbull driven Conviction – Frisby could have been forgiven for feeling nervous. However, he was not worried by the occasion.
“It really didn’t faze me actually to be honest, he [Our Uncle Sam] just felt so relaxed when he was out there and I guess because he’s relaxed it helps you,” Frisby said.
“There was a reasonably good crowd and all that sort of stuff, so it was a good experience, that’s for sure.”
Drawing barrier two for the $30,000 heat, Frisby had Our Uncle Sam travelling one out and two back on the bell.
From there the son of Sportswriter got home well to finish in fourth, 7.7m behind the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained Cruz Bromac ($1.20 favourite).
It earned Our Uncle Sam nine points to sit equal 10th in the series heading into Tuesday’s second round at Ballarat.
“Super happy we were, the little fella went good, we couldn’t ask for much better really,” Frisby said.
“The draw helped us a fair bit, but I sort of got one spot too far back than I was hoping too.
Keep up to date with the latest sports news by clicking here
“Let It Ride come out underneath us on the corner and locked wheels with us for a few strides and knocked him off balance. I thought that he’d [Let It Ride] go straight past after that, but our fella balanced up and got past him again – he’s pretty quick but our little fella’s blown him away.
“We’ve drawn 10 on Tuesday, but I think that might not be too bad. The best part is that he's got some points and if he can repeat that, come fourth or run in the top five, we’ll get points again and that will take a little bit more pressure off.”
The Lagoon’s Steve and Amanda Turnbull will be hoping to improve on round one as Conviction (sixth), Joes Star Of Mia (ninth) and Ellmers Image (10th) all finished off the pace in their heats. In the trotting championship, the Graham Bullock bred and owned Red Hot Tooth ran sixth in her heat.