Vale Neil Epps

The harness racing industry is mourning the passing of Neil Epps.

Harness racing at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds
Harness racing at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds Picture: HRV

Epps died at the age of 80 following a 55-year involvement in the sport.

Epps landed his first winner as a trainer-driver aboard Game Neddy at St Arnuad in 1967 and his son Michael, also a harness racing trainer, recalls his father training standardbreds in the tourist town of Daylesford.

"Dad was a butcher and he used to work the horses up the road behind the butcher shop," Epps said.

Neil Epps came close to Group 1 success early in his career when his trotter Tarport Wyn was runner-up in the 1967 Victoria Trotters Derby.

Epps put the polish on metropolitan winners Mister Music, King Shan and Leitches Creek whom he also drove to victory on the racetrack.

He also prepared multiple winners Hanover Cup, Kyvalley Duke, Jeffrow, Top Kid and Heading On.

Epps drove his last winner behind Jack Darby, trained by his son, at Horsham in 1991.