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The rise of Paul Diebert – race-by-race comments

By Duane Ranger

Eight months ago, Paul Diebert wondered if he would ever get more than one drive per meeting.

“To be fair I was struggling, and was starting to wonder where my next drive was going to come from. It’s been a big turnaround. The last couple of weekends I’ve had my first two full book of Saturday night drives at Albion Park. This week I’ve got eight (out of nine).

“Returning to Grant and Trista Dixon’s stable late last year has certainly lifted my profile. Winning my first Group One a couple of months ago has also helped. I just can’t thank the trainers and owners enough – especially Grant and Trista. They have done so much for me. I’m driving five for them on Saturday,” Diebert said.

Diebert’s first Group One victory behind the Dixon trained Ohoka Punter in the $100,000 Sunshine Sprint on July 13 certainly lifted the 24-year-old reinsman’s profile. It also ensured his most lucrative season in the bike.

Ohoka Punter’s owner, Kevin Seymour had this to say about Diebert in his post-race presentation speech:

“It was a fantastic drive and I honestly believe Paul is one of the most underrated drivers going around in Queensland. Kay and I are so proud of him.”

All trainers will continue benefit from the Seymours’ kindness on Saturday. At the end of July, they donated $100 Coles vouchers for everyday essentials to winning trainers. This time they have doubled it.

On Saturday night Diebert will have eight drives at ‘The Creek’. There’s nine races programmed.

But the Tamborine horseman hasn’t been gifted his new -found fame on a plate. He’s a tireless worker, and has been jogging standardbreds since he was 14. He was actually advised by his family to pursue another career.

Diebert said he was born into a harness racing family in the Riverina region in New South Wales. He said he got the bug from his grandfather and father and (Norm Diebert Snr & Jnr).

“They never wanted me to get into harness racing, but like I said I got the bug when I was in my early teens and haven’t looked back. I’m proud to be a third- generation member of my family that has taken up harness racing for a living.

“I have worked for a few trainers since starting out in 2010 when I left school. I even left the industry and went to Thailand for a while. I’ve also worked for stables in New South Wales, Western Australia (2016-2017) and Queensland,” Diebert said.

“I’d worked for Grant previously and this time I’ve been back at his (Tamborine) stables since late 2018. He’s a real pleasure to work for. You can see why he’s Australia’s top trainer. Grant leaves nothing to chance and gives a lot of attention to detail,” he added.

“I think driving horses for the country’s top trainer has certainly lifted my profile a bit. Sometimes you can’t help but win when you get behind quality horse-flesh,” he added.

He said his boss always insisted that Diebert did his homework behind every drive.

“That’s how professional he is. Grant leaves nothing to chance. It’s not a problem going through my eight drives on Saturday for you,” said Diebert.

And the New South Wales native is no mug tipster either. Last Saturday at Albion Park he told RaceQ Twitter viewers (via video) that $28.30 outsider ($5.10 place), Southern Alps, would go close.

Sure enough the 6-year-old Monarchy gelding got the chocolates by 2.3 metres.

A day earlier (September 20) at the same venue he reined the Adam Sanderson trained Dream to Share to win at odds of $33 and $7.10.

On Saturday Diebert’s eight drives are from four separate trainers. Here’s what he had to say about his book of drives tomorrow night (with trainer, draw, and opening odds):

Race 1: The Grant Dixon trained HEZ RAZOR SHARP (5) $8 - "He’s knocking on door and hasn’t had not much luck lately. It’s a very even field with no $100 shots in the race. I think there’s five or six horses all paying single figure dividends, with the outsider at 15s. This fella is a better horse in front, but from five it could be tough getting there, so I’’ll probably hope for a sit, and then if he can cop some luck he should be thereabouts.”

Race 2: The Charlie Chiang trained RIVERLEIGH WILLIAM (1) $4.80 third favourite – "He’s going good despite copping some bad draws of late. I think one of the favourites, Ima Birubi Boy, should lead from two. He has more gate speed than us, but I’ll be looking for the trail, the passing lane run, and then hopefully we can out-sprint them.”

Race 3: The Billy Moore trained WAVEDANCER (1) $6 third favourite - “Somebeachsomewhere gelding, who has been racing well since Billy has taken over the conditioning. He hasn’t finished further back than fourth in his last five starts. He has a nice draw and should figure bin the photo finish.”

Race 4: The Grant Dixon trained LEOS BEST (4) $12 – "This is an even free-for-all field and I don’t know why ‘Leo’ is paying that much. He got knocked over two starts back, and he hasn’t been getting best of draws lately. In fact, the only time he had a decent draw he won. I’ll see if I can get into a nice spot, because I think Chantrey (2) and Watch Pulp Fiction (3) will have too much gate speed for him. he’s certainly a chance here with the trip.”

Race 5: The Grant Dixon trained CRUZY DUDE (4) $2.20 favourite - “He's won his last three starts at Albion Park and last five from six. He and Justalittle Torque (R8) would have to be my best drives of the night. Robbie (Morris) has left the horse with Grant. He’s drawn well over the mile and should go close again. There was a nice easy hopple-up last week and the week before he was three-deep, got out, and then crushed them when favourite. Each-way.”

Race 7: The Grant Dixon trained SOUTHERN ALPS (9 - 20m) $8 - "Monarchy gelding, who races over the longer journey again, but this time he has copped a 20m handicap, and not 10 where he won from last week. It’s a similar race but last Saturday he got a ‘magic’ run through. Miracle Rising (20m and stablemate) could be the one to beat because he got too far back last week and ran home very well for second. There are several chances, but the field is no stronger than seven days ago, just harder from 20 metres behind. Southern Alps is working well at home, and if close enough can get some of it.”

Race 8: The Wayne Graham trained JUSTALITTLE TORQUE (2) $2.20 favourite - "Five-year-old mare who can go on with it here. Her Mum (Torque In Motion – 19 wins) was a nice race-mare, and she has thrown a nice one here. We should be leading in this and even over the 2,138m should lead all the way in this seven-horse field. She gets to the 400m and just wants to pull away from them, so hopefully she will be a bit more settled this week. She has the draw and gate speed to go very close here.”

Race 9: The Grant Dixon trained CHAPTER ONE (8) $21 - "Son of Art Major who races his best races when he finds the front, and I can’t see him leading here, but from eight he will be on the markers, and he won’t be covering any extra ground. It’s going to be very hard getting past stablemate, Tennyson Bromac, in this. He looks the winner here. He looks a class above them, but with a bit of luck and a nice ‘possy’ we could fill a minor placing.”