FOR Australia's female harness racing drivers, there's no better time to steer home a winner than in February or early March.
And at least for the last two years, Ellen Tormey has turned winning at this time of the year into a habit.
Each of the Junortoun trainer-driver's eight winners to date in February - and those of her female peers - have helped raise valuable funds for ovarian cancer research as part of the harness racing industry's Team Teal campaign.
For every winner they pilot, Harness Racing Victoria and wagering partner Tabcorp commit $200 each to deliver $400 towards the Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group.
Similar fund-raising initiatives are ongoing in racing jurisdictions across Australia and New Zealand.
Tormey is doing more than her bit to keep the Team Teal tally ticking over, steering home an impressive eight winners through the first 18 days of the month.
Only Kate Gath, with nine, has driven more winners.
Tormey is thrilled to be championing the cause, especially after wins in the first six years of the campaign from 2014-19 were hard to come by.
She puts her fantastic February form down to a matter of the right horses at the right time.
"Nearly all the girls start having a bit of luck when the teal pants go on," said Tormey, who is on track to eclipse last year's personal tally of 11, with the campaign coming not due to wind up until March 14..
"Before last year, every time I had the teal pants on, I used to have a horrible month.
"Last year, I had a really good six weeks and this month has again started off well.
"Some of the horses I have been driving have dropped back to their right grades and obviously driving Glenn Douglas' horses at Mildura, they are always a chance. That really helps.
"As it often does, it comes down to the right horses at the right time."
The timing could not be more perfect for Tormey, who finds herself aboard Well Defined, who will be chasing back-to-back country cup wins at Terang on Saturday night.
Trained at Shelbourne by Kate Hargreaves, Well Defined delivered connections an impressive Group 3 victory by downing the more fancied Havehorsewilltravel in last weekend's Ararat Trotters Cup, with Tormey in the sulky.
The 30-year-old has driven Well Defined in each of his past five starts and will again take the reins behind the six-year-old gelding as he takes on an even tougher field at Terang.
"He's a bit of a handful, but once he is going he's perfect, you just need to get him away," Tormey said.
"In the run he's an absolute pleasure and he has a very quick sprint.
"I know Kate thinks he goes better for me, but he won all his early races with Albie (Alex Ashwood) on him, so I'm not so sure. Albie tends to get along with most horses.
"But Kate and I are having plenty of fun with him, so I'm happy to stay on.
Tormey expects Well Defined, who moved past the magical $100,000 mark in earnings with his win at Ararat, to give his usual honest account of himself against the likes of quality Group 1 performers Pink Galahs and McLovin.
"They are obviously class horses, who have come out of the (Group 1) Great Southern Star final, but if he steps away and makes good use of his handicap, he's a chance. If he messes up the start he'll make things harder for himself," she said.
"I don't think he can sit on their back and outsprint them, but he loves the stands generally and he loves the trip and some of those horses don't.
"The stands and the longer distance do sort a few horses out, so that's something in his advantage."
Tormey can continue to count on sourcing plenty of winning opportunities up north in Mildura through her association with the Hargreaves-Ashwood team, Julie and Glenn Douglas, and the likes of Sunraysia trainers such as Scott Garraway, for whom she has already driven a pair of winners this month.
The City Oval Paceway has long been a happy hunting ground for Tormey, who has notched up a pair of doubles this month, including one this week with Selaphobia (Glenn Douglas) and Glam Rock (Garraway).
On December 18, she finished with a haul of five (Skippers Swan Song, Smoke My Motor, Bernie Winkle, Elegant Jewel and Come On Elvis).
In recent times, Tormey has been fortunate to pick up the drive on Mildura track specialist Bernie Winkle and has partnered the veteran pacer in four wins and two placings from six drives at the venue since early December.
"Bernie is just a ripper to drive, an absolute pleasure. You pretty much just have to sit there, I think anyone could drive him," she said.
"You pull him out and away he goes. I'm sure he's the Douglases' favourite.
"He's an old marvel."
Team Teal tally following Thursday night's Ballarat meeting: Kate Gath (9); Ellen Tormey (8); Kerryn Manning, Jodi Quinlan (4); Tayla French, Shannon O'Sullivan, Jackie Barker, Olivia Weidenbach (2); Denbeigh Wade, Laura Crossland, Anne-Maree Conroy, Donna Castles, Juanita Breen, Lisa Miles, Codi Rauchenberger, Michelle Wight, Monique Burnett, Rita Burnett (1). Total: $17,200.
Nearly all the girls start having a bit of luck when the teal pants go on.Ellen Tormey
Ellen Tormey February winners (trainers in brackets)
Mildura (February 2): Elegant Jewel (Julie Douglas); Bernie Winkle (Julie Douglas).
Geelong (February 3) : Glens Of Tekoa (Ellen Tormey).
Swan Hill (February 9): Orama (Scott Garraway).
Ararat (February 12): Well Defined (Kate Hargreaves).
Charlton (February 14): Aztec Inti (John Tormey).
Mildura (February 16): Selaphobia (Glenn Douglas); Glam Rock (Scott Garraway).