Hailing from a harness racing family and then working for a number of top trainers, it would appear that Future Star Award finalist Chris Lancaster has a solid foundation for success going forward.
The British Columbia native, who comes from a long lineage of horsepeople including father Ron and uncle Rick, spent the last decade in Alberta working for three top operations in the prairie province before fully breaking out on his own last year.
"I moved out to Alberta in 2009," recounted Lancaster. "I worked for Kelly Hoerdt for three years, then I worked for Jamie Gray from 2013 to 2015, and for the past few years I was with Rod Hennessy."
Armed with experience as an assistant trainer on the western circuit and having won 19 races as a trainer through 2017 while conditioning one or two horses of his own at any given time, the Airdrie, Alta. resident was confident in his ability to compete on his own in 2018.
"I felt that I had acquired enough knowledge and experience to venture out on my own," Lancaster said. "With that, and a lot of hard work together with great horses, I feel that all resulted in my nomination for the Future Star Award."
Through the 2018 season, Lancaster won 29 of 103 races, good for a 28.2 per cent strike rate, and earned $216,573 in purses. Rockin Mystery, last year's Alberta Sire Stakes Super Final winner, and Lady Neigh Neigh, were at the fore of Lancaster's charge, both claiming multiple stakes wins in the juvenile distaff pacing ranks.
Lancaster, who cites Lady Neigh Neigh's win in the Emerald Filly Stakes on Aug. 6 at Century Downs as a standout moment in his breakout year, is grateful for the behind-the-scenes support he's had through the season, namely from Derek Gilbert, and Tara and Chris Lambie — with whom Lancaster shares ownership of Lady Neigh Neigh.
"Honoured and shocked" to have learned of his O'Brien nomination, Lancaster simply stated, "I am excited to attend the awards."
Standardbred Canada will present the 30th edition of the O’Brien Awards on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale Hotel. The black tie gala includes a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, wine, and complimentary portrait for the night's attendees.