TWENTY months ago Christine and Graham Gee had much more on their minds than harness racing.
Within the space of two weeks Graham suffered a heart attack, a stroke and had a triple bypass.
The prospects of him getting out of his hospital bed looked grim, while getting back to harness racing seemed an impossible dream.
“The doctors told us Graham would probably not get out of the hospital bed,” Christine said.
“But he was very determined and we got him home and getting back working with the horses really helped with his recovery.
“In those early days I held the fort but I soon got elbowed out as Graham got fitter and stronger,” Christine laughed.
While Graham still has some issues from the stroke, including speech difficulties, he continues to thrive as does his work as a harness racing trainer, something he has been doing for more than 40 years.
On Sunday the Gees will travel from their Hawkesdale home with their star pacer Bliss Man to contest the Gammalite Cup at Terang. The cup is named after the renowned Terang pacer Gammalite which won 94 races and more than $1 million in prizemoney.
Considered one of the greatest pacers of all time, Gammalite was trained by the late Leo O’Connor and was the darling of the local harness racing community.
The Gees were big fans of Gammalite and having Bliss Man line up in the Gammalite Cup is a huge thrill for them.
“Gammalite is an idol in our house,” Christine said.
“We have photos of him up on the wall.”
“There were a lot of good horses running in that era but what stood Gammalite apart was his toughness. He was such a determined and strong horse.
“We have had some good horses but this is the first time we have had one good enough to get a run in the Gammalite Cup so we are very proud to have the opportunity.”
The Gammalite Cup, run over 2180 meters from a mobile start, carries prizemoney of $7500.
Bliss Man will go into the race with strong winning claims after winning his last six races with Jason Lee in the driver’s seat.
The Gammalite Cup is the feature race of the eight-race twilight meeting which begins at 5.58pm with the last race at 8.48pm.
A field of 10 will line up for the cup which is the seventh race on the card at 8.28pm.
Sunday’s twilight meeting is part of a big month for the Terang Harness Racing Club which will host the Terang Pacing Cup on Saturday, February 22.