A late driving change has gifted Stacie Carbone her first race drive. 

The 22-year-old partnered with dad and trainer, Mick Carbone, to steer Pete Mitchell to a third placing in the Freemans Transport Pace at Ballarat last night. Carbone, was pushed into the limelight when young reinsman James Herbertson decided to steer the Michael Gadsden-trained Dallas Charlie.

“I didn’t realise I was going to drive so soon to be honest,” Carbone said.” James (Herbertson) was actually down on the horse (Pete Mitchell), but he chose to drive the other horse (Dallas Charlie).

“The decision was I will just take the drive, he is such a beautiful horse to drive.”

Stacie’s dad, Mick, didn’t give the reinswoman too much advice before her debut performance.

“Last night, we actually didn’t talk about the race until about five minutes before the race, we had a few little conversations, dad was trying to keep me relaxed,” she said. “Dad is just happy to see me doing what I love.” 

Carbone could hear the cheers and the encouragement from family and friends.

“I had a lot of family and friends there, my best friend Ewa (Justice) came across and she wasn’t driving last night, she just came across to watch,” she said.

“When I was warming up, I could actually hear them all cheering and carrying on over the fence.”

The Bendigo reinswoman has built up her experience in the trials before last night’s debut race day drive.

“Everyone says it’s different from the trials and it is,” she said. “Racing is a lot tighter than the trials and no-one gives you any room.

“It is a great experience, it is a big difference (from the trials).”

Carbone’s journey to finally make her race day debut has been many years in the making.

“I did the pony trots and I got sucked in with the adrenaline rush,” she said.

“Dad trained and I was taking the horses to the races and trials, and I thought I might as well get my trial licence.” 

Carbone is set to team up with the John Justice-prepared Sports Wrack at Cranbourne on Sunday.