Lewis Taylor and Darcy Gardiner might be on opposing AFL teams in 2020 but they will ride the highs and lows of harness racing together.
The pair is co-owners in Ecklin-trained Code Bailey which won the Terang Pacing Cup on Saturday night.
Taylor, the former Brisbane footballer now preparing for his first season with Sydney, grew up in Mortlake and has close ties to Code Bailey driver Jason Lee and his mum, trainer Marg.
Code Bailey lived up to its favouritism tag at Terang, winning the $50,000 group two race by 17.9 metres from the New Zealand-bred Pat Stanley.
Taylor, 24, said he had strong ties to the Lee and Craven families, who are known in south-west Victoria for their work in the harness racing industry.
"I used to work out there. I didn't do year 12 and I also did a bit of work out there when I was in year 11," the Swans recruit told The Standard.
"I have known them for a long time, played footy with one of the sons and went to school with the brothers - Jason, Paddy and Jack.
"Every time I get back home, I always go out and see the Lees and the Cravens.
"They looked after me a fair bit. I always show my face out there when I go home, say g'day, go for a feed or get out to the stables.
"They are a ripping family so when the opportunity presented itself (to be a co-owner) we thought 'why not?'."
Taylor played at NAB League club Geelong Falcons with Gardiner before both were drafted to Brisbane in the 2013 national draft.
He said the pair had enjoyed following Code Bailey's fortunes.
"It's been a pretty fun journey so far to be honest. He's been good to watch. Me and 'Dizzy' (Gardiner) have been down to a couple of races so it's been good," Taylor said.
"I was in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago for the Hunter Cup so it was good to catch up with all the Lees and Cravens.
"I watch every race it's in. I think potentially it could be coming up to Sydney.
"That would be nice if it could come up here and I could get out there and catch up with the family again."
Taylor said Code Bailey gave its connections plenty to smile about.
"If it gets to the front it always seems hard to beat, to be honest," he said.
Taylor, who was traded in October, has settled into Sydney and is preparing for the Swans' first Marsh Series pre-season game against cross-town rivals GWS Giants on Saturday, February 29.
The wingman-small forward said he was "super impressed with the club" and was living in Maroubra.
"It's a bit quieter and close to the beach which is a bit of a perk," he said.
The AFL home-and-away season starts on Thursday, March 19.
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