By Duane Ranger
After arriving here from her home town of Leeton in July last year, Alanah Pitt, has now nailed her first Queensland winner.
The 22-year-old New South Wales driver reined her boss, Ian Gurney’s, black gelding, God Sake, to a 3.6 metre victory in the sixth race at Albion Park last Thursday (October 10).
It was her third career victory after having her first race-day drive on Australia Day (January 26), 2018. All-up Pitt said she’s now almost had 30 drives in TAB races.
“It was a big thrill, and I think I was more pleased for Ian and Angela (Gurney), because they are great people to work for, and they also own him. They have been very supportive of me since the day I moved up here. They made my shift very easy,” Pitt said.
The former Leeton High School student drew four with the Kenneth J gelding, and sat parked throughout.
Then in the straight the tough 7-year-old out-muscled his seven opponents to win the 2,138m mobile in 2:37.3 (mile rate 1:58.4). His sectionals were 31.3, 31.6, 28.7, and 27.9.
It was God Sake’s 12th win in 72 starts. He’s also placed 21 times and banked $84,846 in stakes.
“I love driving. There’s no better feeling than winning. I’ve grown up around horses. One day I would love to train a few with my partner, Adam Richardson, but for now I’m more than happy learning the ropes and getting more drives,” Pitt said.
Pitt was born in Leeton, and raised around horses with her mother Rose and father Darryl. Her father trains standardbreds, as did her grandfather, Barry.
“Dad still trains a couple, but ‘Pop’ is a bus driver in his retirement. They influenced me a lot early on, as did my step-Dad, Paul Driscoll, who sadly passed away in 2012.
“They all taught me heaps. Paul educated me a lot on breaking in young ones. I had my first trials drive on our local 800m Leeton track,” Pitt said.
When she left school, Pitt said she became a stable-hand for Shane Hillier, who was also a mentor. She then took a break from the game when she was 19 and worked in a supermarket in Hay – a couple of hours from her home-town.
“Even though I was working in the supermarket I used to travel a seven-hour round trip from Hay to Albury just so I could drive my own horse at the races”
“After eight months in the Supermarket I returned to Shane’s barn, before relocating here on July 5 last year. Shane actually advised me to broaden my career by coming up here,” she said.
Four months after driving Starry Eyed Amanda into fourth in her first-race day drive, Pitt reined her first winner behind Lancelot Hall at Wagga Wagga on May 18 last year.
“That was a big thrill, he gave me my first winning drive, and I also owned him. But I think my most memorable and special win was behind Resounding, also at Wagga on June 29.
“That meant a lot because Dad trained her. I think it meant more to me than winning behind my own horse,” Pitt said.
She said she currently had one horse in work at Gurney’s Logan Reserve Stable. His name is Sit Down Walter.
“He’s a 9-year-old Il Vicolo gelding, who has been away from the track for two years. Dad owns him, and he’s a real work in progress, but he gives me a project to work on, and I really enjoy the training side of it.”
Pitt said she also enjoyed living in Queensland and was here to stay.
“Paul Diebert actually put the word in for me, and I’m grateful to him for the job I now have. Like I said earlier, Ian and Ange, are just great people to work for. They have also taught me heaps.
“My goal is to keep working hard for them, and put my name out there so hopefully I can get more drives. The aim is to keep progressing and then, fingers crossed, more people will notice me,” Pitt said.
“I won’t forget my first Queensland winner in a hurry, I know that,” she added.
For the record, Leeton, is located in the Riverina region of southern New South Wales, and is situated about 550km west of Sydney and 450km north of Melbourne.