Vic Frost’s profound influence on young drivers

Matt Elkins was on stage to help induct Vic Frost into the Hall of Fame alongside presenter Brittany Graham.

Top Queensland reinsman Shane Graham still reminisces about all those long drives in the car to the old Harold Park with champion horseman Vic Frost.

Like many youthful drivers in the harness game, Frost took Graham under his wing, handing him regular race drives as well as passing on a few tricks of the trade that he learnt from his stellar career in the bike.

The Group 1-winning Graham is just one of a production line of reinsman who were like a sponge to the great Frost, absorbing every slice of information that the Inter Dominion and Miracle Mile champion offered up.

Leading Australian horseman Luke McCarthy as well as Hayden Barnes, Matt Elkins and Graham, among countless others, all were students of Frost.

The 40-year-old Graham was a proud onlooker last month when Frost was inducted into the Queensland Harness Racing Hall of Fame at the 2022 Queensland Harness Awards in Brisbane.

Long drives in the car to the harness racing track at Harold Park in Sydney were always a highlight for Graham, able to sit and listen to every word his boss had to offer.

And, even though it is more than two decades on since they first started working together, Graham – who has represented Australia on the world stage – still uses Frost’s advice to this day.

“That was a big thrill for me as a young driver and growing up, you wish to drive at tracks like that, let alone for people like Vic Frost,” Graham said between drives at Redcliffe’s The Triangle track last week. 

Top Queensland reinsman Shane Graham.

“He helped me a lot with my driving and even to this day with my training.

“A lot of things that I did learn from him still come in handy.

“There were lots of times there in the car where we could talk about races and different things that happen.

“There were a few little things he used to do with his driving – that he passed on to me – and still to this day they work ok for me.”

Frost has prepared over 1,000 winners since data was collated, with half of those registered during his time racing on Queensland tracks.

The multiple Group 1-winner took home a raft of titles including the 1970 Miracle Mile, Australian Derby, Australian and Queensland Pacing Championships, as well as the 1992 Inter Dominion on superstar Westburn Grant.

Frost was flanked by his wife, Gail Geeson, and family when he was confirmed as a Hall of Fame member last month. 

Graham thinks there is no more deserving Hall of Fame member than the 82-year-old that calls the Gold Coast home.

The top Sunshine State driver says they still have a “great friendship” and he looks forward to seeing his old mentor at the races or a racing event whenever he gets the chance.

“Vic has been a big influence on me, I think I had my first drive for him when I was 16 years old,” Graham remembers.

“I was lucky enough it was a winner and I was their stable driver for many years after that.

“They were good enough to give me a chance when I was young and Vic gave me my first Harold Park winner.”

Shane and Darrel Graham.

By Jordan Gerrans