Helen Harding was crowned Leading Esperance trainer after an exciting conclusion to the 2016-17 racing season on Sunday.

Harding and Rod ‘Freddo’ Brown were in a tight battle for top honours, but it was the former who prevailed after a double.

Harding set the tone early when Pivarnick and Bohemian Lass, who arrived with a powerful run, won two of the first three races.

Pivarnick broke through after three previous placings while Bohemian Lass snuck under the radar of punters as a $20 chance.

Brown went close after three placings including Rhino Buster who ran a ¾ length second to On The Ropes in the Esperance Cup.

Rhino Buster’s runner up finish gave him enough points to hold out Jestpatim and take out Esperance Horse of the Year.

The former Perth sprinter proved a model of consistency in his eight start campaign, notching five wins, two seconds and a third.

Jestpatim, once a former stable mate of Rhino Buster when in the care of David Harrison, claimed five wins and two placings from his seven starts.

The jockey premiership was a clear cut affair that was never in doubt with Craig Staples accounting for Daniel Staeck and Natasha Faithfull.

Faithfull ended the season on a high when she partnered Dylicious Secret at good odds in the last race, scoring by a nose.


Helen Harding 61.5
Rod Brown 61.0
Brett Mathews 49.0


Craig Staples 69
Daniel Staeck 45
Natasha Faithfull 36


Rhino Buster 25
Jestpatim 22
Dark Shot 17