A FIVE-hundred win driving career to date for Avenel's Josh Aiken has included plenty of special moments - among them 10 Group 1 successes.
But his win aboard Revelstoke in Friday night's Group 3 The Graeme Lang Aldebaran Park 2YO Trotting Mile at Bendigo was right up there among the most memorable.
The 29-year-old was genuinely humbled to be holding a trophy adorned with the late and great Graeme Lang's image after steering the Anton Golino-trained filly to an upset-of-sorts win at Lord's Raceway.
A $10 chance, Revelstoke notched up career win number four at start nine with a bold and brilliant frontrunning performance, finishing nearly four-metres clear of Ebonys Avenger (Chris Angove/James Herbertson), with Lindys Love (Jess Tubbs/Kerryn Manning) in third.
It was a victory that clearly meant plenty to Aiken and on many levels.
"It's always good to win a cup, but to have a legend's face on a trophy like that, that's pretty special," he said post-race.
"Pretty much growing up at the trots, in harness racing the Lang name was just famous.
"I was probably a bit too young to see Graeme at the peak of his powers training-wise, but every horse that he trained, all the way to the very end, was always a good racehorse and his trotters trotted and they trotted very well.
"Just to even race against Gavin as well, I'll probably look back on it (as) you've driven against the best driver to probably ever race in Australian harness racing. It's pretty special."
Aiken praised the filly's professionalism and development with her win coming off the back of another in the Group 3 Breeders Crown Silver Trot at Lord's Raceway late last month.
"Massive credit to Anton and the team, she's a green filly and a bit of a tricky filly," he said.
"Anton's always had an opinion of her, he's just had to iron out some creases.
"Tonight (Friday) she was a true professional, going to the gate she felt really good.
"It's the first time she has shown gate speed and that just shows how she's progressing as the season goes on.
"Heading to the two-year-old Vicbred fillies I wouldn't swap her for any of them."
While Revelstoke's win did not come without a slice of luck when the favourite and Breeders Crown champion Just A Bit Touchy broke on the home turn, Aiken, who has driven the daughter of Quaker Jet in all nine of her race starts, is confident there is still much improvement in the filly.
"Especially maturity-wise. She is a little filly, she's growing and filling out as the season goes on," he said.
"She really felt sharp, she went 28.2 (final quarter) and still felt like she had something up the sleeve.
"Once she fills out and matures in the head as well, she is going to be a nice racehorse."
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