Narrandera harness racing trainer Ellen Bartley now features in an American Harness Racing Update (HRU) publication.
Born in Kyabram, Victoria, Bartley now resides in Narrandera and currently has 18 horses that she and her partner Blake Jones own and train.
While most of the time they race their horses at Wagga Wagga they also travel to Sydney and interstate to Melbourne.
These horses are Tygerphinn, Ella’s Reason, Major Thinker NZ, Dun Me Up Fancy, Hy Proactive, Red Shores, Bolanalong, Pirani Princess, Hereshecomessassy, Admirable NZ, Be My Girl, Manhattan Bridge, Miki Pins NZ, Brooklyn Bridge Resume NZ and Island Bouhenia.
Bartley has been training standard breds for nine years and driving them for 10.
Her best horse to date is Miss Chantilly NZ, who had a personal best time of 1:51.6 before being sold and shipped to her new owners in America.
Her fiance Blake does most of the driving, but she takes over the gig if they have a double up or he has a drive for another stable.
Bartley’s biggest win as a driver was in the TAB regional championships with a purse of $100,000.
She shared her thoughts on the differences between harness racing in the United States versus Australia with HRU.
“The style of racing can be quite tactical here because we race over a lot of half-mile tracks,” she said.
“We tend to race over longer distances, and tactics and race styles are very different here than those in the States. A lot of times, the tactic is that when you’re on top to back off the speed through the middle half and then sprint home, which can encourage other tactics like horses making a move three wide from the half and trying to catch the leader napping.”
Bartley said the Wagga Wagga track was a 1000 metre track and one of two of this size in the region but there are seven different racetracks they are able to race at, all within two and a half hours apart so the couple have quite a selection to choose from.
As well as being an accomplished horsewoman, Bartley is also a qualified equine sports massage therapist, something she is very passionate about.
She is a firm believer in pre- and post-race massage therapies and stretching exercises.
Bartley breeds several horses each year and has recently added to her family a Captain Crunch filly she purchased at a sale.
This article appeared in the Narrandera Argus, 13 July 2023.