By Duane Ranger
No horseman in the long history of harness racing ‘Down Under’ has trained 340 winners in a season – that was up until 8.40pm last Saturday night.
Grant Dixon’s record-breaking season was capped off in grand style at Albion Park on Saturday night when he drove three winners on the eight-race programme.
His 340 winners were 37 more than Victoria’s Emma Stewart.
Dixon has now nailed his seventh Australian Training Premierships in eight years. Last year Stewart set a national record of 309 season victories – 18 more than Dixon.
That was the first time in 11 seasons that Dixon or his father, Bill, had not won the national training premiership.
The ‘Queensland Maestro’ had 2,258 starts in 2018-2019. He also recorded 298 seconds, 273 placings, and netted $2,968,723 in stakes.
When his season finally came to end after steering two-year-old Blackjack Bart in race eight, Dixon had the following to say as he made his way back to the stabling enclosure for the last time in 2018-2019:
“I’m very proud of what we have all achieved. I couldn’t hope for more. I never set out to break any records, but the winners kept coming and we were lucky enough to break the record, and in doing so set a pretty good one.
“None of this would have happened had it not been for quality staff and my wife Trista, who is the rock of our business and the one who makes it all happen. It will be good to have her back driving again next season.
“It was great that Trista and the boys (Thomas and Jai) came to the track on the final night of the season. It was great to again have her help throughout the night,” Dixon said.
“It was special having the whole family there,” he added.
His wife is expecting their third child in late November and hopes to be back driving again sometime in January. She was obviously very proud of her husband’s achievements.
“Grant is an amazing horseman, who pays a great deal
of attention to detail. He is such a hard worker, and is so dedicated and determined.
“I wouldn’t say he’s a workaholic, that’s probably what he would say about me. He’s just such a great family man and is goal-driven and so focused. He only ever does what’s best for the horses.
“We have a massive operation at Tamborine and Grant and all the staff need to be applauded for this record-breaking season,” Dixon (Trista) said.
Dixon racked up winners 338, and 339, behind Brads Luck in race three, and Ima Black Beauty in race five before capping off the season with his juvenile pacer in race eight.
“Brads Luck is a very nice horse and will win a few more, while Ima Black Beauty was left here by Bernie Hewitt last week. He said she would win one at short notice.
“As for the two-year-old (Blackjack Bart), he’s also a very nice pacer, who will have a spell now before coming back for his three-year-old season,” Dixon said.
The 46-year-old said Group One winning performances for his stable stars - current Horse-of-the-Year, Colt Thirty One, and star 2-year-old, Governor Jujon, had made the season even spicier.
“They are both class horses who are now spelling. They did an exceptional job for us, and we had a couple of good ones under them that kept the wins ticking over.
“We’ve been working 75 to 80 horses all year and have had a record number of starters to the races. I know I’ve said it every time I talk to you, but this would have never happened had it not been for our quality staff and the tireless work that Trista has put in all year – and while pregnant,” said Dixon.
Dixon was also only one of three Australian reinsmen to drive more than 200 winners (238 - $1.5m) in a season.
The Dixon stats read:
2019: First - 340 wins ($2.9m) – 37 more than Victoria's Emma Stewart.
2018: 291 ($2.4m) - second behind Emma Stewart’s record-breaking 309 wins ($2.88m).
2017: 286 ($1.7m) first.
2016: 245 ($1.7m) first.
2015: 282 ($2.3m) first.
2014: 260 ($2.0m) first.
2013: 226 ($2.1m) first.
2012: 265 ($1.1m) first.
2011: 299 ($1.8m) first.
2010: 264 ($0.5m) first.
2009: 242 ($1.6m) first.
2008: 243 ($1.4m) first.
The Dixons’ racing numbers have steadily increased over the years from 1,100 starters from Bill Dixon in 2007-2008 to the 2,258 starters that his son has lined up this season - compared to the 1,630 when he went out on his own in 2011-2012.