Grant Dixon has carved himself another piece of Queensland harness racing history.
The proud Queenslander steered Leos Best to victory at Albion Park today (Tuesday) in the Burwood Stud Pace but it was win of significance.
In doing so, Dixon registered career victory no. 4000 while becoming the first banana bender to achieve the feat.
He joins Gavin Lang, Chris Alford, Daryl Douglas and Chris Lewis as the only Australian reinsmen to sit in this elite club.
And that club is the significant factor that gives Dixon full perspective of his latest achievement.
“When you look at those names and realise what they’ve all achieved in this sport, it gives you great satisfaction and a proper understanding of how hard it is to join this group. It’s quite surreal to think that I’m up with these guys.” A typically humble Dixon said.
While Dixon was fully aware the milestone moment looming, he actually forgot as he approached the finishing line and therefore, never acknowledged the feat.
Not that Dixon is known for showing emotion; certain moments have got the better of him just like the night he won the final event at the now defunct Parklands complex on the Gold Coast when he sailed down the outside to snatch victory with Lionsixchristiansnil back in 2013.
“It’s not in my makeup and it’s not really my thing but sometimes I’ve allowed the moment to get the better of me but I completely forgot today and was focused on winning the race. It wasn’t till after the race when everyone started congratulating me that I’d brought up the milestone.
“Thinking back about the Gold Coast, it was my favourite track and it’s where I kick started my career, my first drive and first winner came at that track and I’ve got plenty of fond memories of that track, it’s such a shame it no longer exists.”
But since the closure of Parklands, the winners have continued to flow for Dixon and he’s happy to drive as many winners as possible.
Because back in July, 2012, the record breaking horseman was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML), a cancer of the blood cells, mainly affecting adults which usually grows slowly at first.
Following extensive treatment, Dixon regained full strength and kept working at his craft.
“It was tough, no doubt about it but I had a great support team around me and I couldn’t thank them enough because it made a huge difference.
“My wife Trista is my backbone and for the whole stable for that matter, I had to keep fighting for her and my two boys, Thomas and Jai.
“I love working with the horses and I enjoy competing so I just worked my way back into it, I’m fortunate to be in that position.”
Since commencing his career during the 1988/89 season, he is the winner of the Queensland premiership more times than anyone else and his record haul currently sits at 11.
His nearest rival is renowned horseman and now retired, Kevin Thomas with 9.
During the 2009/10 season, Dixon enjoyed his best season in the sulky with 242winners.
On six occasions, he has driven 5 winners at a single meeting – 4 times at the now defunct Parklands complex and twice at Redcliffe.
He has driven 9 Group One winners.
The best horse that Dixon has partnered is the incomparable Blacks A Fake, the greatest champion this country has ever produced.
Dixon has represented his state as a junior where he dead heated with Tasmanian representative Ricky Duggan back in 1993 while a decade later; he represented his country in the World Drivers Championship in Canada.
Last season, Dixon won the Australian Drivers Championship series in Tasmania.
“I’ve made lifelong friendships from all of those series that I’ve been lucky enough to compete in, they’re great fun and play a role in the sport.
“When I was in Canada, I was competing with Jody Jamieson and it gave me a great buzz when I got him to drive one of my horses during the World Drivers Championship in Sydney a few years ago.
“He’s a top guy Jody and it’s one of my regrets in not driving a winner in Canada all those years ago but it was great to have that friendship initiated.”
Dixon, 43, is still working the biggest stable in Queensland with Trista where they set the benchmark in the country for winners.
Over the past nine years, Team Dixon has led the way throughout the country.
And Dixon shows no signs of slowing down.
“We’re working a big team and we’re hopeful of another productive season, especially with the younger stock because we were a little quiet last season.
“Having horses like Alleluia, Majestic Major and Our Overanova in the team are a big thrill, no champions but very tough performers who keep the stable ticking.”
And Dixon will keep the winners’ ticking too, that’s what he does best.
Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | November 29