John Justice excited about Wayville

05 October 2017 | the Office of the Chief Executive Officer, John Lewis



Trainer-driver John Justice has done it all in harness racing. From a young 10-year-old collecting bottles at Wayville to make some cash to winning an Inter Dominion, Justice, 58, has etched his name into the harness racing honour board.

Justice is one of few drivers to have won Group One races in every state of Australia. Inter Dominion champion Shakamaker helped with victories in the 1999 WA Derby (Gloucester Park), 2002 SA Cup (Globe Derby Park), Inter Dominion (Moonee Valley), Tasmanian Pacing Championship (Hobart), and Ben Hur (Harold Park). Safe And Sound chipped in with the 2000 SA Cup (Globe Derby) and 2000 Australian Pacing Championship (Albion Park) while Tip Top Prince won the Legends at Moonee Valley.

Justice also drove Smoken Up for his brother Lance to win the 2012 Len Smith Mile at Menangle. In total he has driven 2044 winners and his drives have collected $12,480,000 in stakes.

Justice returns to South Australia on Friday 27 October to take part in the return to Wayville for harness racing. “I was only a kid when racing was conducted at Wayville,” Justice said. “I spent the nights hassling people for drink bottles so I could make a bit of cash.

“The only race I remember was when dad (Dudley) had a horse called Findon Lou which was driven by Les Justice. It led all the way and on the way home Les kept telling us it was all in his hands.”

Justice forged a successful career in South Australia as a trainer-driver in the 1980s before a horse called Tip Top Prince convinced him to move to Victoria. “He was the fastest horse I have driven,” Justice said. “I rate him on the same level as Shakamaker as the best horse I’ve driven.

“Unfortunately, ‘Tippy’ had injury issues which prevented him from reaching the levels he could have but he still managed to win the Legends at Moonee Valley.”

The trainer-driver has also had good success with squaregaiters, Lenin and High Riser in particular. Justice said he had driven at the Melbourne Showgrounds which was a tight track but was looking forward to driving around Wayville.

“I remember the atmosphere from the old days and hopefully we will get the same on Retro Night. “I think it is a great initiative by Harness Racing South Australia to help publicise the sport.”