Reinsman Donald Harper has claimed a thrilling finish to the Albany Harness Racing Club’s driver of the year award despite not recording a winner at the final meeting of the 2018-19 season on Friday night.
Aaron Beckett led the standings by four points over Harper heading into the last meeting but when Beckett didn’t make the trip down to Albany, it was set up for a cracking finish.
With points awarded to the top three drivers in each race, Harper had six drives on the 10-race card to overhaul Beckett.
Harper wasted no time as he finished second in the first three races on Peter Anderson-trained runners to take the lead.
He added two third placings, including in the $10,000 Denmark Cup to reach 69 points and win the AHRC Drivers’ Premiership.
Harper had 10 winners from his 63 drivers in Albany across the season to edge out Beckett (65 points).
Emily Suvaljko enjoyed a terrific season to claim third place in the standings with 62 points, while the top five was rounded out by Trent Wheeler (56) and Tim Stone (43).
Anderson had already wrapped up the trainers’ title and, like Harper, was not able to notch a winner on the final night, but his success was evident with a comfortable win in the trainer of the year award.
With 15 wins to his name from a total of 71 runners, Anderson collected 90 points to easily beat Barry Howlett (58), Alfred Paganoni (32) and Peter Fairless (32).
Disco Under Fire was crowned Pacer of the year after a third win of the season on Friday took him to 21 points to defeat Marilyn Said (17).
Suvaljko was a clear winner in the junior driver standings.
Peter Anderson 90 points
Barry Howlett 58
Alfred Paganoni 34
Donald Harper 69 points
Aaron Beckett 65
Emily Suvaljko 62
Disco Under Fire 21 points
Marilyn Said 17
Its Major Bubbles 13