Group 1-winning reinsman Paul Diebert is back fighting fit and driving winners after a bout of glandular fever put him on the sidelines for six weeks.
The accomplished driver set the new benchmark in the 2021 TAB Trot Rods series on Wednesday evening at Redcliffe, getting Regal Nightshade up in a smart time of 66.10 seconds for trainer Mark Dux.
Veteran pacer Regal Nightshade’s effort tops that of “The Kid” Angus Garrard and Living Free, who previously were the leaders in the exciting series, in a time of 66.45 seconds.
It was a significant victory for Diebert, who has been working his way back to full fitness of late, after recovering from a serious case of glandular fever.
Now feeling close to back to his best, Diebert says he now has to look after himself better to ensure the glandular fever does not return, including staying healthy and fit.
“I got sick about 11 weeks ago and was out for six weeks; I have been good since then, it has been great all the trainers have put me back on,” Diebert said.
“I have been driving a lot more and getting more winners.
“It knocked me around for a bit being out for six weeks, the doctors said my liver and sternum were really weak and they did not want me to cop any pressure or hits to the guts.
“I would not have been in a good way if that happened, it was a good freshen up for me and I am glad to be back.”
With The Band took out the inaugural Trot Rods crown, and the $10,000 bonus, in a time of 64.77 seconds last year, with Diebert the winning driver on that occasion.
He is hoping to go back-to-back in the series but believes there is going to be some speedy pacers go around the triangle in the coming weeks that may upset his time on Regal Nightshade.
“This was my only drive in the series so far this year with Regal Nightshade so it is good to get the win on the board,” Diebert said.
“I enjoy the series; it is good for our sport and the viewers at home.
“It is a really good thrill to win it last year, to break the record as I did.”
The leading time was almost eclipsed in the next heat the same evening, as No Doubt rocketed home in 66.20.
Regal Nightshade, an eight-year-old with over 160 career starts on his resume, is well suited to the Trot Rods format, trainer Mark Dux believes.
“It was good, it seems to be a good series and the money is good, so you cannot knock it,” Dux said.
“He is no superstar but he goes alright, it all really depends on how they run the races as well with how hard they go out.
“We were fairly confident he would race well; it was just about where he would land from the barrier draw.
“It is another race series and if you have the horse that suits, you look towards it.”
Dux, who has 14 in work in his team, doubts old campaigner Regal Nightshade will be able to hold on to claim the fastest lap of the entire series, believing there are classy horses set to contest heats in the coming heats.
“I would like to say he will win it, but I am not confident,” Dux said.
“He has been a nice horse but he is getting to the end of his game, which is the worst part of it all.
“We were still good enough to win it on Wednesday night, which was good.”
Two more heats for the TAB Trot Rods series will be run this coming Wednesday night, May 12, at Redcliffe.
Over the series, 10 heats to be run over successive Wednesday nights before the Trot Rods Final night on Wednesday May 26.
A $10,000 bonus will be awarded to the owners of the horse with the fastest time throughout the series, thanks to Otto Tuza.
The winning trainer will also receive an Otto Tuza two-horse angled and fully enclosed horse float valued at over $21,000.
A $1,000 bonus will be awarded to the connections of any horse that eclipses the previous best series time, split 80% to owner and 20% to trainer.