Latest News

Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators

Unsung, unheralded and underrated; that’s Pierre Whitby, who is proving to be an iron horse and a wonderful bargain for Mark Lewis.

And sharing the path of gold with the West Australian-bred five-year-old is outstanding young driver Jocelyn Young, who has formed a remarkable association with the gelding, having driven him to 13 of his 14 victories.

Pierre Whitby, a fast-finishing winner at Gloucester Park last Tuesday, was a popular $1.90 favourite in the 2536m York Racing Inc Pace at harness racing’s headquarters on Friday morning.

He started out wide at barrier seven, and after racing three wide early, Young cleverly manoeuvred him into the favourable one-out, one-back position, with Bee Seventeen setting the pace from Regal Cheval in the breeze.

Pierre Whitby unleashed a spirited finishing burst to hit the front 50m from the post on the way to scoring by a half-length from Regal Cheval after a final quarter of 28sec.

The victory took Pierre Whitby’s record to 102 starts for 14 wins, 32 placings and stakes of $136,018. He was bred by Ed Dewar and Geoff Groenenberg, and Lewis, a keen judge of horseflesh, took a liking to him when he began his career as a three-year-old under the care of Dewar.

Pierre Whitby had six unplaced starts for Dewar in March and April 2019. “I called Ed and asked him about the horse, and was able to buy him for $7500,” said Lewis, whose mother Debra has trained Pierre Whitby for 96 starts for 14 wins, 32 placings and earnings of $134,678.

“Jocelyn was driving him before I bought him, so we have kept her on him.”

Pierre Whitby has inherited much of the staying ability of his dam Party Date, who was an excellent performer, earning $256,008 from 25 wins and 27 placings from 111 starts. She won the group 3 Ladyship Cup at Moonee Valley in May 2004 and revealed tremendous staying ability in starting off 60m and winning the 3309m Marathon Handicap at Gloucester Park in August 2004 and winning the 2005m Easter Cup over 2907 after starting from the 20m mark.

Ten of Pierre Whitby’s 14 wins have been over distances between 2536m and 2692m.

“I think that his wins over those distances is basically because of the way we drive him,” said Lewis. “When he was young before I bought him he was getting fired up early, so we decided to take him off the gate and racing him back in the field, which suited him.

“That’s his racing pattern. He is also very quick, but he hasn’t been used for his early pace for a long time. He thrives on racing and had 55 starts in last season’s extended racing season, and he has had 26 starts this season.”

Lewis, who assists his mother with the preparation of the stable’s pacers, celebrates his 40TH birthday on Tuesday of next week. It is a little-known fact that he landed his first winner as a reinsman when he was successful with his fifth drive in a race, scoring with Kurt Hanover in a C2 2150m event at Pinjarra on January 5, 1998.

That remains his only winner from 50 drives in Western Australia, but he enjoyed considerable success as a trainer and reinsman in America between 1999 and 2014 when he had 2217 drives for 245 wins, 275 seconds and 247 thirds for $2,733,745 in prizemoney. He had 372 starters as a trainer for 61 wins.