Harnessing the power

Third generation harness racer, Jayden Brewin, is breaking all the moulds in an industry he says he was “born into”.

Having only just finished his first full season in the buggy – where the 17-year-old won a staggering 62 races – he looks set to take home the state’s 2016/17 junior driver title for the second year.

And just a few weeks into the new season, which started in September, Jayden has already won 24 races.

All this while competing in the open events.

Based in Two Wells, Jayden is ranked the top driver for SA in the Under 25 years of age group and travels all over the state to racing events.

He took out the junior driving title last year despite an injury-interrupted season and has also attended a few events in Melbourne, where the competition was a little bit bigger in all regards.

“It’s a lot more professional there,” he said.

“There’s a lot of quality drivers.

“I’d love to make it (driving) a career but I’ll probably have to go to Victoria to do that.”

A commercial flooring apprentice, Jayden attends St Patrick Secondary College in Elizabeth and started out competing in the pony trots.

He honed his skill there for three or four years before stepping up into the open events at just 17 years of age.

While horses are a big passion for Jayden he is also a talented footballer, playing with the U17 side at Two Wells Football Club, where he was later invited to train at SANFL club Woodville West-Torrens with its Under 17 squad.

However, he said he had to make a choice between the two sports he loves.

“It was always going to be the trots,” he said.

“I love it.

“I get a big thrill, it’s very risky.

“It’s all about split second decisions (and) I love it for the thrills and spills.”

Currently South Australia’s leading open driver, (he finished fifth last season), Jayden is the third generation of Brewins to go through the sport following in the “hoofprints” of his grandfather, Doug, who trained harness racers, and his father, Justin, who also fell under the harness racing bug.

He drove his first winner, Octagon, at Pt Pirie last July, just a couple of weeks after celebrating his 16th birthday.

“My biggest thrill was winning the Graham Silke plate, which is a big race for upcoming junior drivers in South Australia,” Jayden said.

“The year before that I was leading up to the Graham Silke plate when I broke my collarbone in a local footy match, which ended my football career and ruled me out of the harness racing industry for four months.

“I missed out on the last two months of the season and the first two months of the 2016/17 season.

“I had a brilliant season notching up wins with all sorts of different trainers and also winning my first cup on Power of Attorney for Shane Young.”

Jayden says his love of harness racing has always been in his blood having been born into the industry.

“I have loved it from day one,” he said.

“I started off helping my pop cleaning up manure from the day I could start walking and then that led to sitting on the sulky with my father.

“I started driving in the pony trots in 2010 driving quite a few winners and winning a fair few cups along the way.

“My first ever winner in the pony trots was Two Toned Miss, which was a little Shetland pony who taught me a lot.”

As a young talented lad however, Jayden’s interest in harness racing waned in favour of football, where he took out the best and fairest for Two Wells in the Under 14 competition in his first two seasons.

“I fell in love with football, which made me lose interest in harness racing for a few years,” he explained.

“But I gained that interest again in 2015 when dad was having a bit of success and I had got my stablehand license.”

After a big fall in 2008 saw his dad break four ribs, which ruled him out of the harness racing game for good as a driver, Jayden took up the reins driving for his dad and has not looked back.

The family takes great pride in their horses and spends a lot of money to get them looking and feeling well, with the father-son partnership bringing success and growth to them both.

“Driving for dad at the start was hard,” Jayden said.

“I was learning and things weren’t going our way but all of a sudden things started picking up and now we haven’t looked back.

“I have had so much success with my father now and if it wasn’t for him I would not be where I am today.

“He has been not only my father but my mentor and my best mate.”

Jayden was recently awarded a prized Harness Racing SA (HRSA) 12-month scholarship and has just returned from his first interstate placement where he drove two winners.

The scholarship will help Jayden not only improve his driving skills through practical stable-based placements, but will also focus on his health and well being, fitness, and mental strength.

Media training is also a component of the scholarship.

Jayden’s first scholarship placement was to Western Australia where he was based at a stable based just outside Perth.

“The best part of the experience was driving at Gloucester Park,” he enthused.

“It was just amazing to drive over there.

“They have a bigger pool of drivers, more horses, more prize money.

“It was just fantastic.”

His next placement in about a month’s time is likely to be in Melbourne.

Teenager Jayden is in a field of his own when it comes to driving, with most drivers in their early 20s and 30s, but despite this, he said he loves the camaraderie, excitement and fun of the sport.

Jayden Brewin is definitely a name to keep a watch on.

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