Chilcott makes history at Alexandra Park

by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk

Cambridge trainer-driver Nicky Chilcott has made harness racing history with her 500th training success last night.

In the opening race at Alexandra Park (the Caduceus Club Member Race Night Handicap Trot) she drove Phoebe Majestic a treat. After beginning like a rocket they gave nothing else a chance, winning by more than two lengths.

There was an anxious moment or two post-race with an inquiry into whether the horse had started in the correct unruly position but ultimately the win was confirmed.

For Chilcott it was a mixture of delight and relief.

"It's really cool," she told Track Chat's Jo Stevens on course, "but I'm glad it's over and done with and now I can get on with it .... it's huge."

In fact her milestone is unprecedented. Chilcott becomes the first woman in this country to both train and drive 500 winners. She already had the distinction of being New Zealand's most successful female driver. After becoming the first to get to 500 driving wins, last night's success takes her to 669 wins.

She becomes the 15th New Zealander to join the "Double 500" Club.

Chilcott's White Star Stables are not one of racing's glamour operations, with Chilcott having a reputation for getting cast-offs and average horses and turning them around through hard work and attention to detail.

"You put in a lot of hard yards mucking around with them but getting those types to win races gives you a real sense of pride and achievement. And nothing beats the thrill of seeing owners winning with those horses," Chilcott said.

Her sole Group 1 winner came with Disprove and driver David Butcher in the 2001 Easter Cup at Addington.

After having his first winner with Waharoa in 1997, Chilcott's most successful season winning-wise was the 39 victories she had in 2004. Among her better performers at the time were Attsanice, Cosmic Illusion, Devine Temptation and Landora's Image.

Other well-known Chilcott-trained winners included grass track specialist President Tomado and Leroy Brogden and Juice Brogden, who both won nine.

This year she's trained 19 winners, and four races after Phoebe Majestic's success Chilcott brought up training success 501 when Tim Williams and Blazing Louie partnered to win race 5.

As for future targets?

Chilcott is eyeing up 700 driving wins (she's 31 away at the moment) and she'd love to drive and train a Group One winner.

In the meantime, she's satisfied with her history-making achievement.

"It's a great moment."

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