GREAT WESTERN - Great Western trainer/driver, Kerryn Manning, has become the first woman inducted into the Harness Racing Victoria Hall of Fame.
Manning was honoured at a dinner at Tabcorp Park, Melton last month for her success as a driver.
The 36 year old is the world's greatest female harness racing driver, landing more than 1400 wins ahead of her nearest rivals.
She has achieved century seasons 14 times - seven of those were over 200 and three over 300, with her most successful being 2002/03 when she drove 371 winners.
Manning found out about her award on the night and said being in the Hall of Fame made her 'feel old.'
"Then again, I'm the youngest one in it and the only female which made it better," she said.
"It is a nice honour to be in the Hall of Fame, to achieve something for the past. It feels pretty special."
Manning is the only female to win a Group (1) race in both hemispheres when as a 21 year old, she drove trotter Knight Pistol to a European Group (1) victory in Norway.
She said that was the biggest highlight of her career so far.
"Knight Pistol was lovely old horse and was tough. He was a bit of a rogue. We worked him a lot, improved his manners and started winning. He looked good and kept improving and just never gave up."
Manning hasn't been back to Europe with a horse, because a trainer has to be invited.
"You have to be good enough to be asked and there are only trotters in Europe. It's pretty rare," she said.
Another horse that stands out in Manning's career is the first one she trained as a 16 year old, Allbenz.
Bought for $500, Allbenz had 24 lifetime career wins and returned $96,000.
"We had many highlights with him. It made it a bit more special that he was my first horse," Manning said.
Other highlights of Manning's career include Lombo Rapida who won the single richest four-year-old race on the Australasian calendar, Chariots of Fire, in Sydney back in 2000 and the wins she has had in both Australia and New Zealand in the harness race series, the Inter Dominion.
At the moment, Manning has 17 horses in her stable and her and Campbell live on a property in Great Western, named Allbenz after Manning's first horse.
"We (the Manning family) moved up here when I was born. I was mainly interested in riding as a child, it was my mode of transport," Manning recalled, adding she got her harness licence before her car licence.
She left school after year 10 to help Peter (after a lot of begging) and from there, the rest is history.
When asked where she enjoyed racing the most, Manning nominated the local area.
"I love racing at Stawell and Ararat. You don't have to travel as far, and horses who are a bit weaker tend to do well on the smaller track."
Manning credits her dad Peter as being her biggest influence on her career and grew up admiring drivers such as Gavin Lang and Chris Alford.
She prefers training to driving winners, but finds it more satisfying in driving her own horses.
"Driving your house makes it more worthwhile. It gives you a bit of satisfaction," she said.
Manning said the harness racing industry has changed a bit over the years.
"The tracks have gotten bigger, the horses seem to go faster but prizemoney hasn't changed," she said.
"Other states are doing a lot better. Sometimes you think 'is it all worthwhile?' But you stick at it, it's all you know - it's your job and you hope in the future it gets better."
What's next for Kerryn Manning in harness racing?