Catrina Stephens ʽamazed’ by instant success after eight-year break
Catrina Stephens exploded back on to the harness racing scene with a sparkling display on Saturday in the season opener at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre that exceeded expectations.
The 27-year-old chalked up the most wins, was the only driver running below their respective time bar and recorded a clean sweep of two separate divisions on her return to the track from an eight-year hiatus.
“It was amazing to be able to come back like that,” Stephens said. “I wasn’t expecting it all, but to be able to come back and win all my races is a big accomplishment for sure. “
Stephens swept both heats in the 1:03/1-1:04 time bar with the Burrows family mare Reign of Terror.
She then replicated the feat in the 1:11/4 & Slower time bar with gelding Whatyatalkinbout, also owned by the Burrows family.
The time of 1:10/1 that Stephens and Whatyatalkinbout posted in heat 16 was also under the respective 1:11/4 & Slower time bar.
“I was very surprised and it’s a good surprise and nice to finally be back in the sulky after having two children,” Stephens added. “But I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without David Burrows because he is letting me race his ponies for him.”
Stephens was particularly thrilled to see the gelding Whatyatalkinbout thrive.
“He didn’t do well at all last season, so we stopped him early,” she said. “So for him to come out this season and do what he did is a big achievement for us.
“He was definitely considered the underdog.”
Meanwhile, another female driver laying down an early marker was Andrea Westerfield, who achieved the fastest time of the night.
The experienced driver posted a 1:04 at the helm of Andy Stoneham’s stallion, Custard the Dragon, competing in the 1:03/1-1:04 time bar.
Stephens was among a trio of drivers making triumphant comebacks, which included Kirista Rabain and Colin Mello, president of the Driving Horse and Pony Club of Bermuda.
Rabain won heat 18 competing in the 1:03/1-1:04 time bar with Jason & Ashley Peniston’s mare, Reel Patrol.
Mello’s win came with mare Thisbabyrocks competing in the 1:03 & faster time.
Other drivers achieving sweeps of their respective time bars were Dylan DeSilva, Burrows and Tahzil Flood.
DeSilva, whose three wins was the second most on the night, swept both heats in the 1:03 & Faster time bar with Simsfield Stables’ gelding, Simsfield Hardtimes.
Burrows did likewise in the 1:05/1-1:06/3 time bar with mare Shady Maple, and Flood with Inwood Stables’s stud, Somegoldsomewhere.
“The committee are very happy with the first race day,” a DHPC spokeswoman said.
“Drivers and ponies were excited to be back in action and the performances showed that.”
Harness racing continues tomorrow night at Vesey Street, beginning at 7pm.