CHRIS Lang is “King” of trotting.
What started as a stunning rise to the top in Australia has crossed the Tasman to include New Zealand. There is no trainer of trotters more admired on either side of the ditch than Lang. It was top young trotter National Interest who gave the first real glimpse of Lang’s trotting genius in the late 1990s. He followed an outstanding juvenile career with some strong and sustained performances at the elite level as an older horse. It was National Interest - in particular contesting the 1999 Auckland Inter Dominion with him – that fuelled Lang’s hunger to win Australasia’s biggest trotting races.
Since then Chris and his wife Sharon have exceeded even their wildest dreams with a trio of champion trotters – Sundons Gift, Skyvalley and Let Me Thru - and a complete dominance of the sport’s biggest races. Langs major wins include a record three Inter Dominion wins as a trainer (Sundons Gift twice and Galleons Sunset); a record seven Breeders Crown finals; four consecutive Australian Grand Prix winners; two Cochran Cups; six Derbys and seven Oaks. Langs dominance is underlined by the fact six of his horses have won the Australian “Trotter of the Year” crown: Sundons Gift (a record four years in a row); Kyvalley Road (2 and 3 year old); Right Interest (3 Year old); Jauriol (2 and 3 year old;, Aldebaran Shades (3 year old) and Shes An Image (3 year Old).
The foundation for Lang’s success has been his knack for spotting young, well-bred talent at the New Zealand, and to a lesser extent Melbourne, yearling sales and nurturing them to become stars on the track.
In 2009 Lang dared to take on the world with Sundons Gift in the famed Elitlopp Trot in Stockhom, Sweden. Although he didn’t quite achieve the results many hoped for the trip was a huge “win” on every other level.
Sundons Gift returned home a much faster and better trotter and Lang a more experienced and better trainer.
What Lang learned in Sweden and France helped him tinker with his already impressive training complex to expand it to have four differing training tracks ranging from a traditional 1000m all-weather track to a 950m heavy sand jog track, a revolutionary 3km purpose-built slow and fast working track and also a 1000m straight track.
The Langs have already achieved more than most would ever dream of in Trotting, but their vision and willingness to step outside the "square" makes you think – there is much more still to come. Who knows... maybe an Elitlopp?
Adam Hamilton (Leading Australian Journalist) 2013