Nathan Dawson chasing history

Nathan Dawson and My Ultimate Byron.

Nathan Dawson believes an increased level of maturity in the sulky is behind his stunning campaign in 2023 that he hopes will end in breaking the rare 300 winners milestone.

Still with over a week to go in May, Dawson has 155 victories his name on the track this year.

Like his cousin Pete McMullen did two campaigns ago, Dawson is shooting to surpass the 300 winners tally for the season.

McMullen become the first Sunshine State-based reinsman to do so when he eclipsed the milestone in 2021.

The younger of the cousins – Dawson – is on track to follow in McMullen’s footsteps this season.

McMullen finished on 315 two years ago and Dawson is on track finish at a similar number if he can avoid injury and suspension. 

He will use the Trot Rods finale night on Wednesday evening as another opportunity to continue to stack up winners.

A total of five selected drivers will drive in each of the 10 heats on the Trot Rods finale night on Wednesday at Redcliffe.

While Dawson is a softly spoken individual at the best of times, he has made no secret of his ambitions to break the triple ton milestone this season.

“I am aiming for 300 for the season, so to be halfway just short of halfway through the year, it is a pretty good effort,” he said.

“I have got my mindset on 300 and while there is a long way to go in the season, it is looking good so far. It is quite a good milestone.

“I have got my little thing that I stick by, with the winners and the days of the year, so if I can keep above that rate then I am in good stead for finishing the season off where I want too.”

He recently drove in five winners on one single day at Albion Park. 

The Group 1-winning Dawson has gone past the 200 wins barrier on four occasions previously in his career, posting his highest mark in the 2019-20 campaign with 255.

Earlier this year Dawson become the fastest ever Australian driver to 100 wins in a season, doing so in just 86 days, beating Chris Alford and Daryl Douglas, who previously shared the record of 87 days.

While the 27-year-old has had some huge seasons in the bike across his career, he believes an increased level of maturity is behind his strong pace towards 300 in 2023.

“I think my driving, I don’t take as many risks as I used to but I seem to be getting the same results, which is good,” he revealed.

“I am probably driving horses to their style now compared to previously I would drive them to my style.

“That is probably the main reason I am having more success this season, I am giving the horse more of an opportunity to race in their normal pattern.”

Leading driver Nathan Dawson.

As well as his driving responsibilities for numerous stables in Queensland, Dawson is also training a small team of standardbreds himself.

He has two in work – with one spelling – and has enjoyed recent success with My Ultimate Byron, who has won his last two trips to the races.

Dawson has already won a heat of Trot Rods in 2023 – claiming the third heat with Bronski Delight – and the leading driver is looking forward to the standalone finale evening.

Ahead of the Trot Rods finale evening, the Grant Dixon-trained and driven Aroda currently holds the fastest time of the series at 64.6 seconds, which was posted in the fifth heat earlier this month.

Driver Cameron Hart and Just Dessy claimed last year’s series in 63.46 seconds, the fastest sprint around Redcliffe ever recorded in the Trot Rods concept.

The Trot Rods series is raced over the unique 947 metre distance – one of the shortest in the world – with a $10,000 cash bonus and Otto Tuza 3 horse float on offer for the quickest lap across the 20 heats.

The last 10 heats will be run on Wednesday at the “Triangle” track.

Dannielle Veivers and Angus Garrard will be joined on Wednesday evening alongside leading drivers Dawson, McMullen and visiting Victorian James Herbertson.

“I am looking forward to the Trot Rods finale night,” Dawson said.

“I have been in most of them since it started so it is good to continue in it.

“I have had quite good success with it and hopefully we can aim for it again this year.

“It is a good concept, it is different for everyone and it gets new people to the races and different drivers in from interstate.”

The five drivers took part in a “Driver Draft” on Monday night where they had the chance to pick their drives after the fields were drawn in a draft style selection process.

The finale night will be isolated to 10 Trot Rods races and showcased on SKY 2 coverage via Foxtel.

Click here for more information on Trot Rods.


By Jordan Gerrans