Shannon O’Sullivan achieved her original goal in harness racing when she drove her 100e career winner aboard the Mighty Flying Art trained by David Aiken at Cobram five months ago.
Daughter of legendary rider Jim O’Sullivan, Shannon remembers riding in a sulky as a child on her way to getting her driver’s license at 18.e birthday.
“When I first started driving in races, all I wanted was to have a century of winning,” O’Sullivan said.
Despite being surrounded by horses from the time she could walk, O’Sullivan harbored a vision of forging a career in any industry where she could help the community.
“I always wanted to be a teacher or a nurse where I could help people,” she said.
“But that changed a bit as I got older and got more involved with the horses, and went from pony trotting to driving in races.”
A few months ago, O’Sullivan hit another big milestone when she picked up her first Metropolitan win aboard Love Ina Chevy at Tabcorp Park.
“I don’t get a lot of opportunities to drive in Melton on a Saturday night so it was a great pleasure to win on Love Ina Chevy which is a story in itself,” she said.
The off-track potential of 23-year-old O’Sullivan was spotted by Harness Racing Victoria and these days she’s a regular face on TrotsVision.
“I didn’t think I would get involved in the media, but I started doing a few radio segments, then I was approached to do some hosting on TrotsVision and I enjoy it every time I continue. “, she said.
The multi-talented O’Sullivan is set to graduate with a degree in exercise science at the end of the year.
“There are a lot of similarities between horses and humans in motion, so who knows where this will lead,” she said.
“I like the clinical side, working in hospitals.”
O’Sullivan thinks his post-college work-life balance will always involve a healthy dose of harness racing.
“I like the training side of things and would consider spending time at other stables to learn more,” she said.
Not that she has to look far to draw from a veritable sports encyclopedia.
“Yes, dad is always there to answer any questions,” she said.
“He remembers everything and has so much knowledge – he should write a book.”
O’Sullivan will be looking for her second Metropolitan success when she teams up with Kate Hargreaves-trained Beau Garcon in the Max Agnew Memorial Trot and Wonga Lake in the VHRC Pace at Melton this Saturday night.
“Both have a chance if the races go at the right pace,” she said.