30 November 2013 - Longlea reinsman Brian Gath has been inducted into the Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Fame in recognition of his successful career.
Gath joins his father George and brother Neville as members of the illustrious club.
He was one of six inductees - four human and two equine - honoured at a dinner at Tabcorp Park in Melton on Wednesday night, hosted by Harness Racing Victoria and the Victorian Harness Racing Media Association. A typically humble Gath accepted a trophy marking his inclusion. "Thank you to whoever voted me in," he said.
"It's a great honour to be here, the same as my brother Neville and my dad and all the wonderful people who are in it." Since he began driving in 1963, Gath has amassed more than 3000 wins, been the leading Melbourne reinsman four times and the leading trainer twice. He drove more than 100 winners in a season 11 times, represented Australia in the World Drivers Championship and won 32 Group One races, including the 1978 Inter Dominion with Markovina. Others awarded Hall of Fame membership this week included reinsman Gavin Lang, the first driver or jockey to win 5000 races in the Southern Hemisphere; Will Whitbourn, the first to win 200 races in Melbourne and who was never suspended in his 39 years on the track; and driver, trainer, journalist and steward Keith Greenwood. Leading sire Meadow Vance and dam Dixie Love were also inducted. Another highlight of the night came when 2009 Hall of Fame member Maori's Idol - widely regarded as Australia's greatest trotter - was elevated to legend status. He was the first trotter in the Southern Hemisphere to break the two-minute mile in a barrier race, clocking 1:59.3 at Mooney Valley in 1977. Owned by Ric Healey, he still holds the Australasian record of 24 successive victories by a trotter and was the only trotter ever voted Australian Harness Horse of the Year. In retirement from the track with a record of 40 wins and four places from 46 starts, he became a leading sire of trotters that won almost $4 million in stakes. Maori's Idol died in 2006, aged 34, and is buried near the admission gates at the Bendigo Harness Racing Club. The Club also has a wall of honour for the trotting champion and races the annual Group 2 Maori Mile in his honour. With the files of Raelee Tuckerman (Bendigo Advertiser)
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