Hanara's tearful victory at Alexandra Park
by Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
Taitlyn Hanara can now add winning owner to her resume.
The Pukekohe-based junior driver was in tears after I See Fire won at Alexandra Park last Thursday.
The Muscle Hill four-year-old is the first horse she's owned and getting him back to the races, and then winning, was extremely rewarding.
"Once he was on the track it was crazy, and very nerve-wracking," says Hanara.
Afterwards the relief and delight was clear to everyone as she hugged driver Matthew White, tears rolling down her face.
"The emotions were pretty high alright, just all the hard work involved in getting the horse back to the races."
It was I See Fire's third race for Hanara after she acquired him from a high profile ownership group.
A classy performer, he had won six from 16 before being sidelined with tendon trouble. At the time he was being trained by Tony Herlihy who Hanara used to work for. She's now employed by Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hacket, who officially train I See Fire, though she does most of the work with him.
Hanara had his first driving win for the stable in June with Kings Landing at Auckland. She's had 10 wins overall in exactly 100 drives.
"I bought him (I See Fire) initially as a hack but then asked Tony if his leg came right if I could race him.... he talked to the owners Glenys and Phillip Kennard and the Breckons and signed him over."
What followed was a "slow build up" to get him race ready.
"Clare (McGowan) did a great job with her laser machine and so did (vet) Kara Watson ... I couldn't have done it without them."
In all he was away from the racetrack from July 2021 to September this year.
"There were also hours and hours of icing his legs and a lot of hand walking."
He galloped in his first two starts back with Hanara in the sulky so she decided a driver change may do the trick - it did.
"As soon as I saw he got round the first bend ok I thought he could run in the money."
He did better than that, clearing out to beat 2021 Harness Jewels (Ruby) winner Double Delight by over three lengths.
Hanara is not getting ahead of herself with a horse she thinks is potentially good enough to run in a Dominion or Rowe Cup.
"He'll race again in a fortnight and we'll go from there."