Suvaljko Family Affair

07 March 2021 | Ashleigh Paikos

The Suvaljko name is nothing new to the harness racing scene, but the latest generation is making their own mark in the WA industry.

Pinjarra Cup day, on Monday the 1st of March proved to be a successful day for the senior Suvaljko’s, with brothers Callan and Shannon kicking off the meeting with a quinella in the first, with Shannon defeating his younger brother on the Peter Tilbrook trained, Seven No Trumps.

Race 4 saw Daniel Suvaljko steer the $101 chance, I Said Boo to victory, trained by his mum Sarah Suvaljko, giving the Junior driver the first leg of his winning double. Later in the day, he teamed up with his mum again to take out the last on Ark of Rock. Both races saw Daniel take full advantage of the Pinjarra sprint lane.

Daniel (16) has held his licence for six months and has driven in 139 races for 6 wins. “I live and breathe the sport. I dream of becoming a leading reinsman and plan on having my own stable of runners later in my career.”

“I was always keen on getting my drivers licence, ever since I was six-years-old and I saw my first pony trot. I made mum get me a pony and since then I have just always strived to become a reinsman.” Daniel said.

Joseph (18) the son of Joe and Sarah Suvaljko has held his licence for 12 months and in that time he has driven 4 winners. The junior driver, who currently works for leading trainer Gary Hall Snr has some big ambitions. “My goal is to be the states leading driver and to be seen as one of the best. I am planning on continuing driving as well as training.”

Joseph goes into the weekend with 4 drives on Sunday at Collie.

Though bragging rights were with Emily Suvaljko, the daughter of Shannon, who took out the Group 2 Access Cleaning Services Pinjarra Cup on the Phil Costello trained Vultan Tin. The 2020 Pacing cup winner started from barrier 1 on Monday,

“I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much, but Phil and Daniel Costello gave me a lot of confidence that Frank would just be too tough for them”

“Daniel said his work had been better than ever at home and he pre-race warmed him up and said he felt awesome”

Emily gained her driver’s licence in 2018 and has driven in 2201 races for 198 wins and 490 places. With just 3 wins left until she outdrives her claim, Emily doesn’t seem overly worried.

“It is a bit nerve wracking, but most of the horses I drive I don’t use a claim, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I am very lucky to have some very loyal trainers.”

Speaking with Shannon Suvaljko, the accomplished driver could not be prouder of the success Emily and his nephews Joseph and Daniel are having on the track.

“It feels great watching Emily out there. It was a bit scary at first, watching your child out there hoping they don’t get hurt, but she has really accomplished herself as a driver and I am really proud of her”

“It’s really good watching the boys [Jospeh and Daniel] coming through and I am sure Joey couldn’t be prouder of them. It’s good to see them all carrying the family name on in the industry.”


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