Stephanie Graham’s time in the spotlight during Inter Dominion series

The Graham family celebrate a Majestic Harry victory at Redcliffe.

Usually working away quietly in the background and acting as the cheerleader on race night, Queensland’s Stephanie Graham is finally receiving some well-deserved shine through the Inter Dominion series.

It is mostly Stephanie’s father Darrel or her high-profile sister Brittany who receive all the plaudits when it comes to the Grahams pacers and trotters over the years.

With consistent square gaiter Majestic Harry transferred into the 23-year-old Stephanie’s name as the official trainer for the Victorian series, she has become more widely known across the broader industry.

“Not that I have ever done too many interviews or anything before, but I don’t mind it,” Stephanie said on Thursday afternoon when asked about an interview she did on radio that morning.

Brittany is one of the most recognisable people within the harness racing code and as her sister says, it is not just at the track where the Sky Racing presenter, as well as being an accomplished driver, is noticed by strangers, it is everywhere she travels.

Usually flying under the radar at a track like Albion Park or Redcliffe, Stephanie has understood what life is like for her older sister at times during their Victorian sojourn.

“Beforehand it was dad’s name in the race book and Brittany’s name as the driver and people did not really know who I was,” Stephanie said.

“It is actually funny having people come up to me at the races down here and knowing who I was.

“It was kind of weird because at first I was wondering how the people knew who I am (laughs).

“It is good to get out there and get my name recognised a little bit more and be recognised for the work I do at home with the horses.

“To be recognised for the work I have done over a long period of time is nice.”

It is not just during the ID series that Stephanie is hands on with the Graham teams runners.

She helps work the horses every morning with her father before turning her hand to her part time jobs with Australian Pacing Gold as well as her own beauty salon.

Stephanie previously worked with Telstra for four years before becoming more involved with the horses and now she is able to travel away for interstate campaigns such as the big ID series this year.

The youngest Graham has 45 winners to her name as a trainer so far in the early stages of her career.

While the family and stable have been in several big feature races over the years, it was always Darrel’s phone buzzing for an interview from the media or a commitment along those lines.

In her time in the sun, Stephanie is enjoying learning about a different side of the industry that she was previously not exposed to.

“It is funny because we have had horses in big races before but I have never seen this side of things before,” Stephanie said.

“It is exciting to be at the track and being a little bit more a part of it all than I usually am, I have always been the cheerleader before.

“Now to be front and centre, it is exciting.”

It is most certainly a team effort when it comes to Majestic Harry.

Majestic Harry winning at Redcliffe.

“Dad’s done a lot of work with the horse obviously and we work closely together. I own him with mum, so it’s a family affair,” Brittany said. 

“It’s massive. I’ve only driven in a handful of Group 1s and never ever in my wildest dreams expected to drive in an Inter Dominion series, let alone an Inter Dominion Final. It’s quite incredible.

“I’m just going in Saturday night, no pressure, just going to enjoy the occasion, take it all in because more than likely this is going to be my only chance to ever drive in an Inter Dominion Grand Final.” 

Being just 23 years of age, Stephanie is one of the youngest trainers ever to compete in an ID decider, with the sisters the first to train and drive a runner in the race as a combination. 

Parents Linda and Darrel will be at Melton on Saturday evening for the special occasion.

If Majestic Harry was to cause an upset in the big Group 1, he would be the first from the Sunshine State to become an Inter Dominion champion since the legend Blacks A Fake.

After just scraping into the Trotting Final, the TAB has the Queensland hopeful listed as a $101 shot to cause an upset on Saturday night.

Majestic Harry – who won a golden ticket into the series by claiming the Group 2 Trotters Sprint at Albion Park earlier this year – has handled the extra workload of the three heats in a short period of time well.

“He has been really good, after every race we have put him out in the paddock the next day and he has been able to have a run around,” Stephanie said.

“We have noticed that he has pulled up really well.

“We did not think he would struggle with all the racing as over the winter carnival he raced 10 weeks in a row or something along those lines.

“We knew he would be fine with all the racing – we were not sure how he would go with how close the runs were to each other – but he has handled it well.

“He is going into Saturday happy and we could not be any happier with the way he is.”

Speaking from the teams Sunbury base for the series,  Stephanie is hopeful of a repeat of the first heat of the series at Ballarat in Saturday’s Final.

On that occasion, the gelding and Brittany were able to sit behind the leaders for much of the trip before slipping up the inside to run into third.

“We will be ducking straight to the pegs and trying to find the shortest way home,” she said.

“If they go hard up front and a gap opens, I am sure Harry will be finishing off well.

“That is what we are hoping for – a gap opens up along the pegs and he can duck up – as you never know what will happen in a race like the Inter Dominions.

“Being a long shot, it just takes the attention of us and people will not be worrying about where we are, it would be nice if he could sneak up and run a place.

“We said at the start that getting into the Final would be the Grand Final for us, so to make it there, we are all very stoked.”


By Jordan Gerrans