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Alford records 6000th career winner

Trent Orwin in Harness 16 May 2017
  • Chris Alford records 6000th career win
  • Best horses: Golden Reign and Lennytheshark
  • Diamond Grace is the horse that brought up 6000th win at Melton on May 15, 2017
Chris Alford records 6000 wins (Credit: Stuart McCormick/HRV)

Champion reinsman Chris Alford has created history by becoming the first driver in the Southern Hemisphere to record 6000 career wins. 

Partnering the John Ryan-trained three-year-old filly Diamond Grace in Race 10 at Melton on Monday night, Alford was able to lead throughout as he brought up his 6000th driving win.

One of three drivers to have driven more than 5000 winners in Australia, the others being Gavin Lang and Chris Lewis, Alford is the first to surpass 6000 and is soon to be joined by Lang who has reportedly driven 5962 winners according to the Harness Racing Victoria Twitter account. 

Alford drove his first winner on October 2, 1984, when he partnered Spring Vance at Wangaratta over 1900m. It was a special victory for Alford with the horse trained by Alford’s father, the late Barry Alford. 

Nicknamed ‘Puppet,’ Alford scored a memorable victory in the 1993 Victoria Derby (2380m) when he drove Golden Reign to defeat Young Mister Charles and Chandon. 

Golden Reign provided Alford with his biggest success when he claimed the 1995 Inter Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final (2600m) at Addington. He would prove too good for Chokin and Desperate Comment in 1:58.1. 

More than two decades on from that success and Alford still speaks highly of Golden Reign, having called him the best horse that he has driven. It’s easy to see why when you have a look at their biggest victories together:

1992 Australian Gold Series 11 Colts & Geldings Final (1609m) at Harold Park 
1993 Australian Derby (2380m) at Moonee Valley 
1994 Tasmanian Pacing Championship (2360m) at Hobart
1994 Treuer Memorial (2540m) at Bankstown
1995 SA Cup (2645m) at Globe Derby Park
1995 Victoria Cup (2380m) at Moonee Valley

Tailamade Lombo and Lennytheshark are also high-up on Alford’s list of favourite horses, with the latter providing a second Inter Dominion Championship success at Gloucester Park in 2015.

Alford spoke to the RSN Breakfast Club on Tuesday morning 

“You always set yourself goals and when I started I wanted to drive as many wins as possible,” Alford told RSN.
“I’ve been lucky with the support I’ve got along the way; it’s pretty amazing really.”

Alford drove Lennytheshark to win the Miracle Mile (1609m) at Menangle in February and said that Lennytheshark may have drawn level with Golden Reign in terms of the best horse that he has driven in his career.

“I’ve driven some great horses over the years and he’s (Lennytheshark) right in my memory now, so he probably just rates on top because of his longevity and his will to win – he is so much like Golden Reign,” Alford said. 

The race victory that stands out most for Alford is the 2003 AG Hunter Cup (3050m) at Moonee Valley. Alford drove his father’s horse Mont Denver Gold to a narrow victory over Smooth Satin and Unique Icon. 

Setting goals has been one of the driving forces behind Alford’s success and his desire to drive winners should put him in good stead as he takes aim at his next milestone – 7000 career wins! 

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Alford records 6000th career winner

Champion reinsman Chris Alford has created history by becoming the first driver in the Southern Hemisphere to record 6000 career wins.

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