Harness racing owners Jenny and Elizabeth MacLean hail from a successful, long-term trots family and they share their story in Integrity Matters' Q&A.
How did you get first involved in the harness racing industry?
Our Dad is a (retired) vet and we grew up with Dad having lots of clients that were local harness racing identities. Daily trips to school usually involved calling into the into the Caldow/Lang/Justice stables to check on a horse or two. Elizabeth was always keen to trot up another horse and watch trackwork but Jen would always wait in the car and be determined to get to school on time.
How did you get involved in the industry as an owner?
As a family, we started racing harness horses in the late 1990s with Jack Caldow and New Zealand’s Robert Cameron. We raced a lovely horse called Colonel Anvil with Robert. Following this, we started to breed a couple of broodmares at home. We bred Willie Walker (named after a New Zealand rugby player) and personal favourites Rebel Diamond and Whos The Man.
We continue to breed each year and we also love the sales and studying the catalogue and of course, bidding on the day! Lately, we have been racing our horses in partnership with friends and that’s a great way to do it. We currently have an interest in about 25 horses.
Tell us about some of your successes as an owner in the harness racing industry?
Breeding and owning Anywhere Hugo (pictured) has been a definite highlight for our family. He won the sires final as a three-year-old in 2018. We have also been part owners in Supersonic Miss, a dual Group 1 winner. But all wins are special, Smileifyouluvme’s one and only maiden win at Coolamon was a fist pump moment, as seen on the replay!
What does integrity mean to you?
Integrity encompasses a lot of things and, for us, it has a lot to do with respect. Respect for yourself, your peers, the horses and the racing community as a whole. When you knowingly break the rules, it shows a lack of respect for not only yourself, but your peers and our community. The damage it does has a much greater ripple effect across all codes. The care and wellbeing of our horses is paramount. Ensuring that those with responsibility for our horses' welfare act with the upmost integrity is something we have learnt first-hand over recent years.
What improvements have you seen in the industry?
There are many positives that we have seen in the industry lately. There are many passionate and dedicated committee members that form our kindred bodies. Elizabeth is on the Harness Breeders Victoria committee and they are always working hard. Improved communication platforms such as MiStable and the use of social media to inform and educate our participants help to build the professionalism of the industry, which in turn helps to bring new participants into the sport.