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SPOTLIGHT ON: Trevor Barsby's love of harness

Trevor Barsby is a former Australian first-class cricketer with a keen interest in harness racing. He is also one of the owners behind promising performer 'Gotothemoon'. In this month's edition of PACE Magazine, we caught up with Trevor to find out a little more about his time playing for the Bulls and his involvement in our great sport. 

IMAGINE the nerves pulsing through your body when facing the West Indian pace attack.

And we’re talking the pace attack of the 1980’s/90’s that terrorised batsmen worldwide.

Names like Malcom Marshall, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh among many others. The deeds of these fast bowlers are legendary.

It also matched their amazing batting battery with the likes of Sir Viv Richards, Sir Brian Lara, Sir Richie Richardson, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes. This era of West Indian cricket was an absolute powerhouse, feared by all and admired worldwide.

Even non-cricketing fans tuned in to watch this freakish outfit at play.

When they toured Australia during this dynasty, fans flocked to the stadiums to catch a glimpse of poetry in motion, even when playing warm-up games against the Sheffield Shield state sides.

Enter Trevor Barsby.

The talented athlete, nicknamed "Tank" is a former Australian first class cricketer who played for Queensland. Barsby was an aggressive batsman, usually opening and often with Matthew Hayden. He is one of a select group of players to have appeared in 100 Sheffield Shield games for Queensland.

And during his 11 year span with the Queensland state side, he played against most of the touring teams including the fearsome West Indian outfit plus the likes of South Africa, England, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand.

He played with and against some of the biggest names in world cricket.

Allan Border, Shane Warne, Merv Hughes, David Boon, Mark Taylor, Craig McDermott, Ian Healy, Allan Donald, Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch, Sir Ian Botham and Sir Imran Khan among many others.

Barsby scored a century in Queensland's maiden Sheffield Shield win in 1994-95 and bowed out with another in the state's second victory two seasons later.

Unafraid to attack with lofted drives or hooks, Barsby was a pain for opposition bowlers over 12 seasons in which he played 111 first-class games. He finished with 15 hundreds and a reputation as a valued senior player at the beginning of the Bulls' long streak of success.

“I was living the dream, playing cricket for a living and competing against some wonderful players. I’ve got some great friends and unbelievable memories from my time in the game,” Barsby said.

“Yeah I faced some tremendous bowlers but I rate the likes of Shane Warne, Paul Reiffel and Dirk Tazelaar as the best. I had trouble with all of them, they were great bowlers.”

After working as a sales manager for a wine company in retirement, he was appointed Queensland's talent development manager in 2004. A year later he graduated to the Queensland Academy of Sport's coaching role and in 2008 succeeded Terry Oliver as the state's main mentor.

He ultimately stood down as the state coach in 2010 and replaced by National coach-in-waiting Darren Lehmann.

During his days in familiar cricket whites, Barsby was just one of many players that enjoyed the racing scene.

A day or night at the races was a pleasant distraction from the day’s play.

Most racetracks around the country have been paid a visit or two from Barsby; he enjoys a punt but loves being close to the action.

It comes as no surprise that he has shared ownership of a few horses during his time, both thoroughbred and harness, and with some success.

Just recently, he has ventured back into the ownership fold and has teamed up with an old cricketing mate in Donny Smith.

Barsby purchased tried performer Gotothemoon from former Racing Queensland Board Member Brad Steele and Brian Hewitt in which the gelding was in the care of Smith at the time.

He races the pacer with his mother Lorna and partner Mary Bragagnolo.

“I wanted to race a pacer and had Donny looking at several types for quite some time before we ended up with Gotothemoon, he’s a slow maturing type with ability plus he was QBRED which was an added bonus.

“The fact that Donny is based at Redcliffe is another bonus, previously he was working his horses at Albion Park but now that he’s at Redcliffe suited better. Mum (Lorna) is in her 80’s and she lives at Redcliffe so I like to take her to track for his races plus we’ve been to stables and watched him track work.

“It’s gets her out of the house and gives her an interest which is great, she enjoys being involved and likes being an owner.”

Gotothemoon has won twice for his new connections, both at Redcliffe while running a number of minor placings.

Trevor-Barsby-2.jpg

Still loosely assessed, connections are hoping he will continue to improve and strengthen with time before eventually making his way to Albion Park.

Amazingly, Barsby finds it more nerve wracking than facing any pace attack.

“I get nervous, no doubt about that. Just like when I played cricket, I find myself wandering off to a place on the track by myself and hope for the best.

“It’s an amazing adrenaline rush, a really unbelievable feeling when your horse wins a race and it doesn’t matter where it is because the jubilation is all the same.

“Donny and Maureen (Smith) have been brilliant to deal with and I’m happy to have young Matt (Elkins) driving him, they seem to have a good rapport because I don’t think he’s the easiest horse to drive. Maybe it’s the cricketing connection because Matt was a talented young player.

“We’re having fun and that’s the main thing and in time, we’ll look at joining another pacer to the list.”

A number of other cricketers that have interests in racing include Chris Lynn, Mark Waugh and Paul Nobes among others.