Layne Dwyer off the mark in the sulky

Rookie reinsman Layne Dwyer and Little Change on Monday evening at Redcliffe.

Rookie reinsman Layne Dwyer was able to give one back to his old mate Little Change on Monday evening at Redcliffe.

Only recently ticking over to 16 years of age and commencing his journey as a professional driver, Layne has been waiting in the wings getting ready to get in the sulky on race day over the last couple of years.

And, back home at his father Graham’s stable, veteran gelding Little Change has been helping him along the way.

While he was learning the tricks of the trade in the bike, Layne would often partner the 10-year-old pacer to the trials to build up to his debut race day appearance as a reinsman as well as getting behind the gelding regularly in the mornings for his daily work.

Just a few weeks after he made his debut as a driver, Layne was able to break through for his maiden winner on Monday at “The Triangle” as he steered Little Change to victory.

The son of Changeover has been with the Dwyers since September of 2020 and Layne was worried his old mate may be forced into retirement before he was able to make his first race day appearance.

The stalwart of 235 career race starts hung on long enough to become the pacer that Layne will always remember as his first winner.

“There is no better horse to do it on than him,” Layne said on Wednesday morning.

“I always wanted to drive a winner on him – I did not expect him to be my first.

“He has taught me a lot over the years – we have had him for ages – and he is just the coolest little horse to have around.

“He has been a favourite of mine for years and I did not actually think he would still be racing here by the time I started driving.

“He was one of the first horses I started working myself and he is not like any other horse, he is a bit different.

“He is a character and has taught me a lot over the years.”

The breakthrough victory came in the opening event from the Triangle track on Monday evening with Little Change scoring by just over two metres.

Little Change is prepared by Layne’s father Graham.

The win came at Layne’s 12th ever race drive after making his debut earlier in April. 

Graham has been there every step of the way for Layne and was smiling from ear to ear on Monday night at the track.

“It was great, it was so awesome for him,” the proud father said.

“It is a long slog for him to get to that point but he has done well.

“We loved it.”

Graham regularly used his young son as a track work driver for his team of pacers well before he was eligible to drive on race day.

Rookie reinsman Layne Dwyer and his father Graham.

Layne has worked his way through the junior driving ranks in the Sunshine State, including claiming top honours at the Shetland Inter Dominion at Menangle in December of 2021.

The keen teenager is still pinching himself that he is regularly driving against his idols, who have also been a guiding hand behind the scenes as he worked towards his race day debut.

“I have always looked up to people like Pete McMullen and Nathan Dawson and other drivers like that,” Layne said.

“It is sort of weird that now I am sitting in a race and competing against guys like that.

“I am really enjoying being out there.

“Those guys have always given me good advice and I just need to take all the advice that I can get from people like that.

“They have been a real big help to me.”

While the maiden victory will always stand out as a memorable milestone, Graham was particularly impressed with how Layne performed in his first race drive earlier this month.

Layne partnered He Said She Said at Redcliffe and was quick out of the gates in the early stages to lead before finishing fourth.

“He drew three in his first drive at Redcliffe a few weeks ago and he had to cross Grant Dixon and somebody else,” Graham said.

“For your first drive, that takes a bit of doing and timing.

“I thought he got the job done as best he could in that first start and that just showed to me that he had a bit of confidence and I thought he was going to be right from there.”

As well as regularly driving for his father, Layne has also been booked by several other trainers for drives in the early stages of his journey.

The teenager is completing a traineeship through Racing Queensland that allows him to drive through the week as well as completing his school studies.

The 16-year-old was at school on Wednesday of this week before finishing up in the afternoon and heading to the Peninsula track for one drive in the evening.

The talented youngster is set to partner Luxury Lad at Redcliffe on Wednesday night over 1780 metres.

Also at Redcliffe on Monday night, race caller Anthony Collins recorded a rare milestone.

Collins calls all three codes of racing in the Sunshine State and has recently returned to also preparing standardbreds.

The 36-year-old trained and drove many winners earlier in his life but broke through for his first training victory in 3,504 days on Monday night.

Mare London Lady handed Collins the win.

He was behind the microphone for the race as well as London Lady won the event in a photo finish.

London Lady with trainer Anthony Collins and driver Dayl March on Monday.