Yabby Dams scaling back

By Adam Hamilton

AUSTRALIA’S trailblazing trotting team Yabby Dams is scaling back its massive harness operation.

Owner Pat Driscoll confirmed the future focus would be split between harness and the big new push into thoroughbreds.

Driscoll’s personal passion for trotting specifically has seen him drive Yabby Dams to revolutionise breeding, especially adding the regal French bloodlines, and lift the bar like nobody before him.

“I’ll still have trotters because I love them, but there are things I’d love to change in this game and can’t. So I get frustrated,” he said.

“I’ve been looking into the thoroughbreds for a while now and the plan is to move to 50/50 between trotters and thoroughbreds, maybe slightly more thoroughbreds.

“Don’t worry, we’re not jumping straight out of the trots, but scaling back over time.”

Driscoll said Yabby Dams and trainer Anton Golino had 60 horses in work at it’s peak and that will come back to “25 or so” in the new model.

“We’ve leased a few out and we won’t be breeding as many, maybe 40/45 with a view to keeping about 10 of them to race ourselves each year,” he said.

It’s clear Driscoll is frustrated with the state of harness racing.

“This industry needs to change, but I’m not sure it’s ready or willing to embrace it,” he said.

“I don’t want to get bitter, so I’m scaling back. I still love my trotters.”

Driscoll said he had already purchased some thoroughbred stock out of NZ and would continue to do so, including utilising his French connections.

“We’ve bought a couple of yearlings and some others from the Ready To Runs to test the waters,” he said.

“Going ahead, the idea is to buy weanlings and broodmares. It’s been a learning from the trotters than it’s hard buying yearlings because they take so long to adapt and settle in, so weanlings is the better option.”

Young gun Ballarat trainers Matt Cumani and Archie Alexander will train Driscoll’s gallopers.

“We’ve got a Dawn Approach yearling with Matt now and a Contributer we bought from NZ a few months back headed his way soon to be broken-in. Archie’s got a Zoustar yearling for us,” Driscoll said.

“Both train at Ballarat and the track is only about 5kms away from our property, so transferring horses is nice and easy.”

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