Equine awards night

28 November 2016

The Gippsland Harness Training Centre (GHTC) at Warragul has celebrated its 20th anniversary at an awards evening to recognise student achievement.

More than a hundred people including current and past students, staff, industry representatives, horse trainers and owners turned out to applaud students attaining qualifications as stable hands, drivers and trainers.

Staff and students celebrate the Gippsland Harness Traning Centre

Gippsland Harness Training Centre, Coordinator, Jennifer Lewis, said it had been a wonderful year to mark the Centre’s 20th.

“Six of our students passed their trial harness driver assessments and two of those have achieved trial driver licences - a major step in their careers as harness drivers on the professional racing circuit. A number of others have attained their trainer’s license or have qualified to work as stablehands.”

Janine Stewart took out the Student of the Year Award sponsored by Warragul and District Light Harness Club and presented by President Greg Witty. Janine first came to the centre as a mature age student with basic horse skills and progressed from stable hand qualifications to this year attaining her trainer’s license.

“I learn something here every single day. It has been life changing me for and my next step is to buy a horse and start training,” Janine said.

Below: GHTC Student of the Year Janine Stewart receives her award from Greg Witty of the Warragul Light Harness Club.

Janine Stewart receives Equine Student of the Year 2016

19 year old Rhiannan Hocking-Gobbett (below) took out the Dani Lewis Memorial Award which honours the memory of Dani a past student at the Centre who passed away in 2014.  The award was presented by Donna Doyle.

Rhiannan receiver the Dani Lewis Memorial Award at the GHTC.

Abby Orchard (below) won the Angelique Club Award to encourage young women in the field. Abby started as a VET-in-Schools student and now has her sights set on becoming a race horse driver after attaining her trial driver’s licence last week.

Abby Orchard receives the Angelique Award at the GHTC 20th awards night

VET-in-Schools student Miranda Knight (below) was awarded a CCG Personal Development award presented by Community College Gippsland, Chief Executive Officer, Sue Geals.

Miranda Knight receives Equine VET in Schools award from CCG CEO Sue Geals

Ebony Hooimeyer (below) was awarded the Warragul Harness Racing Club Award by Club President Doug Cameron for her effort in completing a Certificate III Stablehand course and now working at a stable in Darnum.

Ebony Hooimeyer awarded the Warragul Harness Racing Club award

Guest speaker was harness racing legend Ted Demmler who clocked up over 3,000 wins as a reinsman and numerous premierships at the Victorian, Metropolitan and national level during his career.

Ted spoke about the importance of never giving up, putting in the effort and working long the hours to achieve. He told graduates that if you love what you do it does not feel like you are working.

Following his presentation, Montana McStay (pictured below) was awarded the inaugural Ted Demmler Award for her hard work and commitment to becoming a new young driver in the harness industry.

Community College Gippsland manages the Gippsland Harness Racing Centre at Warragul’s Logan Park race track and provides a fully operational stable with race horses for students to learn hands on with horses and perform real track work.

CCG Chief Executive Officer, Sue Geals, said the awards night was an industry-driven event with strong support from Harness Racing Victoria (HRV), the Warragul Light Harness Club and Warragul Harness Racing Club.

“The support of industry is a critical in the delivery of training which is producing high calibre graduates who are making their mark in the equine industry at so many levels,” she said.

For further information on the Gippsland Harness Training Centre visit the Community College Gippsland website at:

Below: More photos from the night.

harness great Ted Demmler speaking at the GHTC 20th awards night

Ted Demmler and Kyle Galley

Celebrations at the GHTC 20th awards night
Students enjoy the GHTC 20th awards night

Equine industry supporters celebrate at the GHTC 20th awards night

Ted Demmler receives a thankyou from the Gippsland Harness Training Centre

Students thanks GHTC staff

For further information, please phone (03) 5622 6000 or email