ANAKIE trainer Tim Bolitho has praised the tenacity and skill of young Heathcote reinswoman Shannon O'Sullivan after the pair combined for a win at Terang on Wednesday.
O'Sullivan notched up career win number 16 aboard the nine-year-old pacer Our Summer Wind, who in turn helped himself to win number 19.
It was part of a winning double for Bolitho, who was born and raised in Bendigo, but has his training base at Anakie, near Geelong.
Bolitho, who took up training following a long career in the police force, said O'Sullivan had a remarkable strike rate aboard Our Summer Wind, with a pair of seconds (at Melton and Geelong) and a win in her only three drives.
"Shannon was just terrific, I'm sure there is a bright, bright future ahead for her," the trainer said.
"It was her first drive at Terang and she won; she came a long way for just the one drive, but she was rewarded and we're all very happy for her.
"She drives very well; she's only small, but she is tenacious and she doesn't get pushed around out there. Everyone speaks highly of her and is proud of her.
"She is all smiles and happy and 100 miles an hour."
Bolitho said he would not hesitate offering O'Sullivan a follow-up drive on Our Summer Wind - or any other horse in his stable - but admitted the young concession driver had been a little bit fortunate to get the opportunity at Terang.
"He's a horse who has to be placed well ... he has won 19 races and has been a little ripper for his owners and for me," he said.
"Sometimes to get him into a race where he will be really competitive, I need to take the claim, so whenever I need that claim she is in contention.
"Jackie Barker was a bit unfortunate, she has been driving him as well, but she had a commitment at Maryborough she couldn't get back from, so Shannon got the opportunity.
"But I have no hesitation giving her drives."
(Shannon) is tenacious and she doesn't get pushed around out there. Everyone speaks highly of her and is proud of her.Tim Bolitho
Bolitho, who spent his primary school-years in Kangaroo Flat and still has grandparents, uncles and aunties living in Bendigo, currently has 10 horses stabled at Anakie.
Our Summer Wind was part of a winning double for him, with C4 to C6 pacer Morvah winning the night's closing event, with Michael Bellman the driver.
The win for O'Sullivan continued a golden four days for Bendigo region trainers and drivers, with eight winners in total across meetings at Bendigo on Sunday, Shepparton (Tuesday) and Terang (Wednesday).
The team of trainer Kate Hargreaves and driver Alex Ashwood continued a productive 2019, when Dynamite Dozer scored his maiden win at start number seven at Shepparton on Tuesday.
The four-year-old gelding benefited from a patient drive from Ashwood to outlast a fast-closing Joey's Hangover, driven and trained by the daughter-father combination of Tayla and Terry French.
It boosted Ashwood's win tally for the season to 44 and Hargreaves to 16.
Winners on Sunday night's 12-race program at Bendigo included the Castlemaine-trained Dealers Knock (Gary Scoble), Brackenreid (Keith Cotchin), Repeat After Me (Robert Rothacker), Trade Whispers (Chris Svanosio), Brochel Bow (Ivan Collison), and Nephew of Sonoko (Graeme Dalton).
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