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Bernie Wilson still winning at 82

Photo: The Bernie Wilson-trained Hesluvable in action at Redcliffe recently.

By Duane Ranger

After having given a lifetime to harness racing, and enduring many obstacles along the way, 82-year-old Bernie Wilson is still winning races.

The former horseman and studmaster’s latest victory came via the Lola Weidemann-trained and driven Ima Regal Jet in race four at Marburg on Monday.

Minden-based Wilson still has two horses with Weidemann in work - his other pacer, Hesluvable, finished fourth in race five.

That was Mr Wilson’s fifth win this season, with Ima Regal Jet having also won twice at Tamworth, and seven races in total since making his debut at Canberra back in April 2016.

Hesluvable has won two races this season and four overall, with both 2019-2020 victories at Redcliffe on January 23 and November 27.



Mr Wilson’s son, Clint, said his father deserved all the success he has had, especially now that he isn’t well.

“He’s starting to wear out a bit and suffering from old age, but he’s a tough old bugger and it takes a lot to put him down,” Clint Wilson said.

“We both love the trots, but sadly we still can’t get trackside, so we watched our horses win on TV.

“Dad and Lola have been friends for years, she is a great horsewoman, and drove Ima Regal Jet to perfection - we both got a big thrill.

“Mum (Mary) has been the backbone of Dad’s life, but it was Len and Roy Treasure from Sydney who got Dad into the trots.

“He used to work for him, Len had a really nice horse called Diablo Don, and the bug grew from there.

“Then Dad came up here to Queensland in 1971.”

His father’s career has spanned 64 years, and just over three years ago, Mr Wilson sold his popular stud farm, Runnymede Lodge.

In his younger days while in Sydney, Wilson put the polish on New South Wales Oaks winner, and later broodmare Negro Dancer.

When he sold Runnymede Lodge, it was situated on 50 acres, with an irrigation licence on Warrill Creek.

It could accommodate a minimum of 40 horses, on top of the harness and associated horse equipment that was sold on-site.

“We had some great horses at Runnymede Lodge; Westburn Grant stood there, as did Golden Reign, Lindy’s Laodicea, Brutus Blue Chip, Cool Hand Nukes,” Clint Wilson said.

“Dad’s had some great stallions, broodmares, and racehorses over the years.

“But he still gets the same thrill out of winning, no matter where it is.

“He bought both Marburg horses from down south and then asked Lola to train and drive them.

“There’s no-one like Lola out there - like Dad, she is an extremely hard working horsewoman, and a very good judge of horse flesh.

“Ima Regal Jet drew five on Monday, and ended up in the one-one not long after the start - that was a top drive.”

Ima Regal Jet loomed up three-wide on the home-turn and then drew away to win by an increasing 5.8 metres.

The Stephen Maguire-bred and formerly trained Stonebridge Regal gelding paced the 1,850m mobile in 2:18.5, which equated to a 2:00.5 mile rate.

“He qualified for the (Atlas Copco) Marburg to Albion  $10,000 on Saturday night,” Clint Wilson said.

“It won’t be easy in the city, but he and Lola have drawn ideally at one over the 1,660m.

“Good luck Dad.”