Shane Graham To Represent Australia in World Driving Championship

06 March 2017 | Chris Barsby

Shane Robert Graham was born to drive.

And now the Queensland based reinsman gets the opportunity to showcase his talents on the world stage after being selected to represent Australia in the World Driving Championship in Canada later this year.

Harness Racing Australia announced today that Shane Graham had been selected to be Australia’s representative in the prestigious series, after considerable discussion.

“We are blessed with outstanding talent in our driving ranks at present and the HRA Executive considered a number of drivers for selection, all of whom would have been fine representatives of our country,” HRA chairman Geoff Want said.

“Shane has been most consistent in recent times, taking the J.D. Watts award as Australia’s leading driver in 2015 with 259 winners and finishing runner-up last year,” he said.

“I have no doubt he will perform well in the demanding series and be a wonderful ambassador for Australian harness racing.”

Graham is delighted to be selected to represent his country and for the opportunity to compete against some of the world’s best drivers.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be selected to represent my country, it came as a massive shock but I can’t wait to get over there and drive against some of the very best drivers in the world,” he said.

“We have so many great drivers in this country and anyone would have done a great job, and I’m keen to win the trophy and bring it back down under.”

The third generation horseman has been sitting in the sulky long before he cares to remember, and it’s little wonder he has become one of the country's finest reinsman.

Born on June 30, 1982, the son of Wayne and Lyn Graham was blessed with natural ability and shares a special bond with the standardbred horses he works with on a daily basis.

From the early days in mini-trotting events Graham displayed great balance, poise and skill. He has since gone on to represent Queensland in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in 2003 and twice in recent years in the Australian Drivers Championship.

He has been the leading Queensland driver for the past two seasons and has driven more than 2,400 career winners, with a career strike rate of 16.05% winners to starters and 42.78% winning and places to starters.

The World Driving Championship was established in 1970 and is held every two years, in conjunction with the World Trotting Conference. The last series was conducted in Australia in 2015 and was won by ace New Zealand reinsman Dexter Dunn.

 The 2017 event will be conducted across a number of provinces in Canada and has been timed to coincide with the 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada.

The Championship begins on August 12 at Century Downs in Alberta before moving to Ontario where heats will be conducted at both Mohawk Racetrack (August 14) and Georgian Downs (August 15).  The fourth leg is August 16 at Hippodrome 3R in Quebec before finishing August 18 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino on Prince Edward Island during Old Home Week.

Dexter Dunn will compete again as the defending champion while Mark Purdon will also represent New Zealand.

Shane Graham will be attempting to emulate the feats of two Australian drivers who have won the world championship – Queenslander Keith Addison in 1975 and Ted Demmler of Victoria in 1987.

Racing Queensland CEO Eliot Forbes applauded the selection of Shane Graham and said it highlighted  the depth of talent in the state.

“Shane won his first race nearly 20 years ago and has been consistently one of Queensland’s and Australia’s best drivers over the past 5 years.

“His dedication and commitment has been rewarded by his selection. Shane is an inspiration to anyone who aspires to succeed in the sport of harness racing.

“All of us at Racing Queensland wish him all the best in Canada later this year when he competes on a global stage.”

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