Racing WA

Edman hopes pony dream will lead to race success

14 November 2023

Newby driver Briana Edman has come a long way since her grandmother bought her a retired pacer when she was 12 years old.

The little girl who dreamed of owning a pony is now a licensed reinswoman and works for a leading WA stable.

Edman, 20, had her first race drive at Pinjarra on November 6.

She has three drives at Bunbury on Wednesday – Hi Tommy (race 2), Franco Mecca (race 3) and Hotfoot It (race 7).

Edman said her parents weren’t too happy when her grandmother Leonie Wilson bought her a gelding called Lucky In Life as a Christmas present but it led to her interest in harness racing.

“Grandma is into horses – she exercised gallopers when she was younger – but it skipped a generation and mum didn’t really want me to get involved,” Edman said.

“We were able to agist him at Phil Duggan’s and that is where I was introduced to harness racing.

“I was there every weekend and started going to the trots with Phil when I was 15.

“Eventually I started working a few and it grew from there.

“I still help him with the young ones when they need to go in the cart and drive them at runarounds.”

Duggan has been Edman’s biggest supporter, teaching her the ropes and providing horses for her trial drives every week.

She will drive Hi Tommy and Hotfoot It for Duggan on Wednesday.

“Phil actually got me in the cart for the first time with my hack then eventually let me have a go in the runarounds at Byford on a few horses he had a few years ago,” she said.

“He is the reason I got my license so quickly because he actually bought all of the horses I have been driving in trials, such as Riskitfordabiskit, Hi Tommy and Lilly Laguna.

“There’s lot to learn from him, especially on the horsemanship side of things and how he gets the horses he has up and going so quickly and so well.”

Edman works as a stablehand for Gary Hall Snr and drives Franco Mecca in his fast work.

“I drive him at home and he goes good,” she said.

“I am very thankful that Senior gave me the race drive.

“It is a pretty good field and I don’t think they expect him to win but I will be trying.”

Edman admits to a few butterflies before she gets in the cart but said her focus was improving with each drive.

“I didn’t eat for two days before my first trial drive,” she said.

“But my first race drives were better. I studied the form and was concentrating hard.

“The more experience I get the more I can enjoy it.”

Rick Lee

Photograph: Young driver Briana Edman with her favourite horse, Hotfoot It. Pic credit – Rick Lee.