Gippsland harness racing trainer Robert Evans often has to pinch himself when he looks back over the form of his terrific square-gaiter Overandout.

And who could blame him as the eight-year-old has posted nine wins and six placings for earnings of over $60,000 in just 27 race starts!

“He’s the best I’ve had – by far! I’ve been a bit lucky I reckon,” Evans, who trains at the Warragul track, said.

But the 71-year-old is undoubtedly down-playing his attention-to-detail and the constant treatment to keep the gelding sound and racing near his peak.

Overandout has been at the top of his game over the past five weeks with four victories.

Two of these were when the strong stayer was handicapped off a daunting 50-metre backmark over 2575m at Cranbourne on May 26 and then again on a rain-effected track last Sunday week June 30.

“I don’t know if I like giving him such tasks like those. It sort of pulls at my heart a bit,” Evans said.

“At home he’s hopeless in trackwork but get him to the races and it’s a different story. He just tries his heart out.”

Leading Victorian reinsman James Herbertson, who has taken the reins after Craig Demmler was seriously injured in a trackwork fall in late May, has nothing but praise for the horse.

“It’s a big effort to come off 50 metres behind. At his most recent win it was a task because they went hard early. Once we tacked on, we were able to get a breather, but the last 700 metres we had to make a solid run,” Herbertson said.

Evans bought Overandout with his son Ben after spotting the horse being advertised back in mid-2022.

“He was a cheap horse; we didn’t really pay much for him at all. But he’d broken down and it was a bit of a risk,” he said.

“Greg Sugars and Jess Tubbs had him and they were very honest regarding all the problems he had. Everything they told us was 100 percent true. They were great.

“I treat his leg every day and all is good. It’s time consuming, but I’m retired, and I only have one other in work, a pacer named Oh No Never Again. He won recently and I reckon we’ll see his best in the next one or two seasons, I really like him a lot.”

Evan races Oh No Never Again with his farrier Bryce Templeton.

” I used to shoe my own but I’m getting too old now, and Bryce also comes and helps around the stables. He races a few gallopers and has had a crack with the greyhounds, but he always told me that he’d come in if I found a nice one.”

Evans said he got involved in the sport when he was about 20 years old.

“My dad had a horse with Don Dove, and when he moved his training operations to Avenel, I went and worked for him. I stayed for a couple of years but I got married and we had kids. I had an earth-moving business and at one stage there was 30 working for us.

“I drifted away from the trots, but it was never completely gone. Once you’ve been involved it’s always there in some small way. When I retired, I got back into it, but some seasons I wouldn’t have raced a dozen times.”

In 2015/16 Evans recorded one win and two placings from nine starters. It was a similar scenario until 2019/20 when he had 23 starters for three wins and six placings. The current season has been his equal best (boasting a terrific strike-rate) with five wins and one place from 13 starters – coincidentally the same figures he had for the entire 2022 season!

Evans said he planned on giving Overandout a few more runs before sending him for a spell.

“I want to compete in a few feature races like the country cups with him,” he said.

But Evans is adamant he’ll be staying in his home state. This time last year he was in Queensland competing in the Darrell Alexander Trotting Championship series.

“That was the first time I’d ever raced outside of Victoria. He went very good up there with a third in the second round of heats and then second in the final. We thought we were a chance and Craig (Demmler) did a ripper job.”