A CHANCE to expand operations has led Mick Gadsden and Denbeigh Wade on a move to Charlton.
The Ararat couple will be the latest industry participants to set up camp at Charlton's increasingly appealing training centre.
It's another shot in the arm for the Charlton Harness Racing Club, following the unveiling of its new $2.4-million multi-purpose centre last last year and the long-awaited return to racing on home soil following an 18-month hiatus.
Far from displeased during their tenure at Ararat, Gadsden said the trainer-driver combo simply did not have the space to accommodate an expanding number of horses.
"We just outgrew the current set-up we have here in Ararat, and the Charlton complex seemed like a good way to expand without having to fork out copious amounts of money and investment, where if things don't work out we are lumped with financial hassles," he said.
"We got talking to Joe Thompson and Greg Norman and learned about the ins and outs of it and it seemed like a perfect fit for us.
"We are currently working six (horses), but it looks like we will be up to between 11 and 14 when we get into the swing of things in a couple of weeks."
Gadsden, who is originally from Robinvale, moved to the Wimmera region in 2011, initially working for Peter Manning at Great Western.
He and Wade eventually purchased property close to the Ararat harness racing track about four years ago, where they remained until the move north.
"It was just big enough to be working four to five horses and we've hit that number now, and with a few more horses looking to come in, it's either we knock back horses or try something different," Gadsden said.
"I'm a farrier full-time, but I am trying to get away from that a bit and more into the training of the horses."
Their small team of horses has produced nine wins and 16 placings from 57 starts this season.
Six of those wins and five placings can be credited to the stable's undoubted star Maorishadow, who was trained in the early part of his career by David van Ryn at Marong.
The five-year-old mare has this season achieved back-to-back wins at Melton twice, with the highlight her success in the $30,000 Group 2 VicBred Platinum Trotting Mares Sprint Championship in January.
Gadsen said the couple was grateful for the continued support of owners for allowing them to pursue their dream of expansion.
"Stephen Blacker has looked after us really well, he brought Maorishadow in with us and a couple of others, and with a couple of other outside interests, we've done well," he said.
"We've had a good run the last couple of years, a couple of country cup wins and Group 2 wins with Maorishadow
"Momentum and interest in the stable has really been building in the last 18 months.
"Hopefully we can get the horses all settled before the end of this regional racing period and they are ready to hit the ground running when the racing opens up."
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