Behind the reins

IT was one of the most dramatic falls seen at the Dubbo Paceway and one that young Parkes driver Mitch Hutchings doesn't remember much about.

It was Boxing Day last year when Max Hughes and Hutchings were both catapulted from their sulkies, with the latter suffering a broken wrist.

There's little doubt the 18-year-old will be a bit nervous when he heads out onto the track aboard the same horse he was piloting in the fall, Gracey Grace, for the Agriweld Pace (1720m), the first event on Dubbo's bumper post-Christmas meeting.

The similarities are not lost on Hutchings, who will feel like a winner regardless of where his mare finishes.

"Same horse, same race, same night," Hutchings said with a laugh.

"Hopefully I can just stay in the gig and make it around this time.

"Dad and I take turns in driving her in her races and it just worked out that I'm on her at Dubbo on Boxing Day again.

"I remember Max Hughes coming down in front of me and then I was thrown out but after that all I remember is hanging on to the horse and realising I had a broken wrist."

Gracey Grace will start from barrier eight tonight and will be out to record her first win at her 43rd race start.

And Hutchings hopes there will be speed on throughout the race to give the mare the best possible chance.

"She hasn't got much of a sprint, she just whacks away, so I hope they go hard because that will give her her best chance," Hutchings said.

"When she's been in the placings it's been when there has been good speed up front. She's going OK at home, we just need to get the race run to suit. She's the only one we have in work at the moment, the others are all young horses that we're trying to get going."

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