Track success drives Brittany
IT only takes a few minutes chatting to Fernvale-based allrounder Brittany Graham to see why she was chosen as an ambassador for Racing Queensland.
She's polite, good humoured, hard working and proud of her regional upbringing.
Many of her qualities come from her parents Darrel and Linda.
Darrel is one of Queensland's leading harness racing trainers and drivers.
However, Brittany is quickly creating her own reputation in the sport.
Preparing for her latest driving assignments at Redcliffe and Albion Park, she had recorded 33 wins, 28 seconds and 25 thirds.
That included her first trebles at Redcliffe recently and at last Sunday's TAB meeting on the Deagon grass track.
"You've got to have a bit of luck and I'm driving really good horses as well," the modest achiever said.
"I'm very lucky."
However, given her success already, it's hard to believe Brittany is still a teenager, turning 19 in October.
She is a reserve for the inaugural Young Drivers State of Origin series in Sydney on August 26. She's also in line to race in New Zealand in November as one of 10 "young guns" of the sport.
Brittany obtained her A grade licence in July this year, scoring a winner at her first metropolitan drive at Albion Park, racing Emperor Montana.
The former West Moreton Anglican College student started driving aged 12.
After graduating from WestMAC in 2012, she took a gap year to work as a stable hand with dad Darrel to learn more about the industry. She appreciates her supportive family.
"At the start, they weren't too keen on me getting into it because it can be quite dangerous," she said.
"But after I finished school, I decided that's what I wanted to do and I worked for dad for a year fulltime.
"They (my parents) are really good. Dad has given me a lot of really good opportunities.
"He's probably the biggest factor behind my success."
Apart from regular race driving, Brittany trains two pacers and is studying a Bachelor of Business at Griffith University.
"It's a bit of a juggling act but it's not as bad as I thought it would be," she said.
"Dad's really good and all the other boys here will help me out if I can't get to the stables to do something."
Most of her university study is at night, allowing her to train her two horses in the morning, before attending regular race meetings.
She bought one of her pacers, The Falcon Ute, for $2000. The Falcon Ute has earnt about $50,000.
Her other pacer, Luke Hobbs from Victoria, was purchased with $15,000 from long-time harness racing benefactor Kevin Seymour.
She rode Luke Hobbs to one of her three wins at Deagon last weekend.
Seymour continues to mentor Brittany.
Her goal at the start of the season was 20 winners.
"I thought that was a bit high for my first season as well but I've gone past that," she said.
"I can just keep driving winners hopefully and I'd like to be chosen for the young drivers championships. But that's probably a bit further down the line."
AS for being in a male-dominated sport, Brittany Graham takes it all in her stride.
"I don't think it really matters who you're racing against," she said.
"There's some really aggressive drivers but mostly they are really good about it. And if you do something wrong, they'll let you know.
"There's a lot of girls out there now as well so it's sort of evened up a bit. It's not often that I'm in a race where I'm the only girl."
Brittany's approach to racing mirrors her mature attitude.
"I just go in with a positive mindset," she said. "I just do all my form and try and work out the best position I can be in, and then do my best."