When Alex Cain was crowned a winner of the BOTRA Rising Star award at the Racing Queensland Harness function on Sunday night, it came as a shock.
And for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the young trainer wasn’t even in attendance, in fact, the 22-year-old was over 35,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean.
Cain was on her way home from a working holiday in North America with her family when the announcement was made.
Secondly, there was no expectation of winning the award which only added to the surprise.
In fact, after clearing customs in the early hours of Monday morning and checking her Facebook page, the amount of congratulating made her do a double take.
“It caught me by surprise, we arrived home very early on Monday morning and when Leonard checked in on his social media channels, it clearly wasn’t something I expected to see and given how early it was, it was hard to confirm.” Cain said.
Each season, two winners are announced as the BOTRA Rising Stars (male & female) winners and Cain won the award in conjunction with Mitchell Dawson, brother of leading driver Nathan.
Both trainers experienced good success during the 2017/18 season when preparing plenty of winners.
Cain prepares her small team of pacers and trotters with her family at Logan Village, south of Brisbane.
Her younger brother Leonard, a gifted talent in his own right, does the bulk of race day driving while Matt Elkins and Paul Diebert often get called up.
A graduate of the mini-trotting ranks, Cain enjoyed good success with Rocknroll Promise and trotter Day Tourer last term.
The North American trip was her maiden voyage to the mainland following a trip to Hawaii last year and it was a great experience.
“The first part of the trip was spent on the east coast and we got to spend time with Ross Croghan, I got to drive former Queensland Derby winner The More The Better in track work along with smart mare Prairie Sweetheart which was great.
“We spent time at Gaitway Farms, Magical Acres and visited Winners International while attending race meetings at Harrah’s Chester and Freehold. It was great to check out all these places and it was cool to play a hands-on role working some horses, just a really good experience.
“Another highlight was going to Hanover Shoe Farms and getting to have a real good look at Captaintreacherous and Sebastian K, both were champion performers on the track and look like they will do great things at stud.”
While the basics are very similar, the whole experience was something that Cain needed.
Visiting racetracks, training centres and a leading nursery is something that opened the eyes of the rookie trainer.
“It was a great trip and fascinating to see how different they are in many areas compared to what we are used to here in Australia, I found it very well structured and organised.
“There are certainly things I noticed that I can adopt and use in my methods of training, it’s all about trial and error I guess.”
Cain has her trotter Day Tourer engaged at Marburg this weekend in the Graham Harriot Memorial.
Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | October 18