Clark Griswold, the horse with the Hollywood name on injury vacation

Young pacer Clark Griswold gets playful with Terang hobby trainer Tony Harrison in the paddock.   Picture: ROB GUNSTONE
Young pacer Clark Griswold gets playful with Terang hobby trainer Tony Harrison in the paddock.  Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

ENTERPRISING pacer Clark Griswold is unlikely to follow his namesake on to the Hollywood silver screen any time soon.

But the three-year-old colt is in the midst of a vacation of his own — in a lush green paddock on the outskirts of Terang.

The circumstances which led trainer Tony Harrison spelling his stable star are just as fanciful as what Griswold, the cult cinema character, often finds himself embroiled in.

“He got injured in the swabbing box at Terang last start. He hurt his hip. He’s out of action for a while,” Harrison said.

“He just gave it a knock. He had some bruising on the bone and some of the muscles around it were strained.

“We think a bit of him so we thought we’d err on the side of caution. We’ve given him a let-up, which we were going to do anyway. He’s been in work for a while.”

Harrison’s verdict of Clark Griswold is so far justified. Four wins from five starts has the hobby trainer optimistic he’s got a handy prospect to work with.

The Modern Art-Moroni pacer ran third at Terang in February but has since saluted four times in six months: at Terang, Hamilton and Horsham.

Matthew Craven has been in the sulky on each occasion, with the distances ranging from 1680 metres to 2180 metres.

“His first-up run was good. He needed another trial but there was nothing around. We threw him in and hopefully the experience did him good,” Harrison said.

“That night Matty got off and said ‘you’ll have some fun with this bloke’. His best win was at Hamilton but this time we’ve had a few setbacks.

“He won at Horsham but he got a cut. He missed a bit of work so it was fortunate he won last start at Terang.”

And like all hobby trainers who come across a good thing, Harrison, 36, and a father-of-two, is enjoying the ride.

The Lyndoch Living case management worker developed a casual interest in harness racing when he was 12, which became a passion by the time he was 17. He drove “very badly” for a while and has been training in his own right for the past eight years.

Clark Griswold, which Harrison leases off Nullawarre breeders John and Maureen Murnane, is his only horse in work.

“When you train for yourself, you don’t have owners to satisfy. You can take your time, you can pick and choose a little bit,” he said.

With that in mind, Harrison has “no great plans” for Clark Griswold, only to keep racing him where he’ll be competitive.