Catch up on the week's harness racing action in our weekly review, thanks to Darren Clayton.
After finishing on the podium twice previously, Angus Garrard has been crowned the 2023 BOTRA Young Drivers Champion following the conclusion of the six race series on Sunday night.
Starting on Wednesday night at Redcliffe with two races, a further two heats were held at Albion Park on Friday afternoon before the final two heats were back to Redcliffe following the transfer of the scheduled Marburg meeting.
It is the first win for Garrard after three previous attempts have seen him finish second in 2020, third in 2021 and fourth in 2022.
Claiming the series by 21 points, Garrard recorded 61 points made up from two wins and two second placings across the four heats, with Taleah McMullen finishing second on 40, one point behind in third place at his first attempt was Nathan Rothwell on 39.
It was Paige Bevan that struck first on Wednesday night aboard the Trent Moffat-trained Shadys Cullect, withstanding a strong challenge soon after the start to lead throughout with eight metres to spare on the wire.
Heat two went to Rothwell after coming with a well-timed run aboard the Donny Smith-trained Bettys Gold Class to defeat Garrard who was driving the race favourite, Sunrise Ruby for Grant Dixon.
Jordan Topping claimed the third heat for trainer Narissa McMullen when the series shifted to 'The Creek', producing Crime Time with the right trip to rattle home and claim a narrow victory over the Chloe Butler-driven Ima Birubi Boy.
The fourth heat saw Garrard claim his first victory, leading from barrier to box with the Mark Rees-trained Madrigal.
Firing out to led early, Madrigal was able to dig for the fight under Garrard’s urgings to hold off a fast-finishing Arkin Wicked for Paige Bevan, with Amanda Payne picking up her first points with a third behind Bonnies Dance.
With the series up for grabs following the four heats, Garrard put it effectively out of reach after the fifth heat was held on Sunday afternoon at Redcliffe.
Sending the Mat Wright-trained Tapthekeg straight to the front as the mobile pulled clear, the pair were never headed with the win breaking a three-year win drought for the eight-year-old gelding.
The final heat saw Amanda Payne claim her fourth win of the season, driving a well-judged race aboard the favourite, Skippers Swan Song for trainer Chris Watson.
Settling at the rear, Payne angled wider and made her run at the right time to bring the six-year-old mare home down the outside to claim victory.
With another second placing aboard the Ricky Gordon-trained Jang Pel, Garrard was able to claim his first BOTRA Young Drivers Championship.
Making it a night to remember with the title, he was able to claim a winning treble on the night, with wins aboard Bella Bronski and Born To Write to cap a successful night.
Despite not picking up a heat win, Taleah McMullen was consistent through the series to hold second place, with Rothwell in third.