Teenager’s bizarre path to first metropolitan win

Teenage harness driver Jordan Topping went from kissing dirt in the main arena at Ekka on Saturday afternoon to embracing owners under lights at Albion Park after steering her first metropolitan winner.

The 19-year-old was having her second metropolitan drive when she urged home Glenledi Commander by 2.6 metres for trainer Ryan Veivers in the Qualifying Pace over 2318 metres.

Just hours earlier she was tipped out of the cart in the main arena at Ekka in front of thousands of onlookers, in what was a bizarre but fulfilling day for the fledgling driver.

“I said to a lot of people, I went from the s***thouse to the penthouse pretty quick,” Jordan said laughing.

“It was my first time driving at the Ekka and it was quite fun, but it’s a different style of racing.

“You drive at Marburg and you think that’s tight and you get out there and it’s tighter again, and the fans are on the fence and yelling and that’s pretty cool.”

And not only did she race in the main arena, but she also took competition winners on circuits of the Ekka track in a double sulky ride.

Jordan Topping is all smiles scoring her first metropolitan win at Albion Park on Saturday night

Topping started driving three years ago when she was just 16 and had more than 300 races under her belt before she came to town.

It was Ekka Final winning-driver Dan Russell who taught Jordan to drive after her father had bought her a standardbred to learn with on their large property past Gatton.

“When we moved out Gatton way, dad bought me an ex-pacer and Dan was shoeing him for me and I asked him if he would be interested in teaching me to drive,” Jordan said.

“He said ‘yes’, and from then on, I’ve been driving.”

All her hard work and persistence paid off on Saturday and she was overwhelmed with elation and relief as one of her favourite standardbreds delivered her first metropolitan victory.

“It was a bit of both, relief and excitement,” she said.

“It was good to get that first win at metro and even better on Glenledi Commander as I had a special connection with him ever since I started at Ryan’s.

“He’s just done so well for me and you know he is going to try 100 per cent every week and never puts in a bad run.”

Jordan Topping steers a double sulky for a competition winner at Ekka

It was approaching the home turn that Jordan thought she may get to salute the judge at Albion Park for the first time.

She said one of the main dangers had started to wain while Glenledi Commander, a $9 chance, still had a lot to give.

“I thought he was traveling really well at the 400,” she said.

“When the third horse started stopping, I had a little look around and nothing was really coming, and I knew the main danger was on my back from the get-go.

“I saw him come up inside of me and Commander gave me a little bit of a kick and just kept going to the line.”

By Darren Cartwright