IT’S been a long time between drinks for Gammalite Cup winning trainer and driver Gaita Pullicino.
After serving a lengthy ban from the sport and fighting to have her driving licence reinstated, the Rockbank-based trainer made good on Sunday night.
She notched up her first win in more than 14 years on just her third drive back with seven-year-old Lovable Larrikin.
“It’s been a long time coming, that’s for sure,” Pullicino said yesterday.
“I had my first race drive at Melton on Friday night where we finished towards the back of the field.
“Then on Saturday night at Melton we ran second with Mister Grizzley. To round the weekend out with a win at Terang was fantastic.”
Pullicino was suspended in 1999 from having any involvement with harness racing for three-and-a-half years. Other disqualifications meant that ban was extended until 2007.
In 2008 she applied for a driver’s licence and a licence to be a stablehand, both of which were refused and led to a VCAT hearing where the decision was upheld.
She was granted a trial driver’s licence at the start of the harness racing season in September last year and was upgraded to a B grade race licence on January 30.
“I’m grateful to be given a second chance,” Pullicino said. She was a popular winner on Sunday night, taking out the $7500 feature.
Pullicino said she had a good run from the second line.
“Over 600 metres I consolidated my run, then about halfway up the straight I made my move,” she said.
Hawkesdale-trained Bliss Man was second and Glenferrie Rustler (NZ) was third.
It was Loveable Larrikin’s second win for the season after taking out a feature race at Mildura in January.
Pullicino said she had intentions of entering him in the Terang Pacing Cup on February 22.
“I have a B grade driving licence at the moment, so I’m entering in all the country meetings around the place,” she said.
“We’ll nominate him for the pacing cup, that’s for sure.”