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David Aiken now a Caduceus Club Living Legend

David Aiken has joined an honour roll featuring the who’s who of harness racing as a Caduceus Club Living Legend.

David Aiken with host Ryan Phelan after receiving his Caduceus Club award.
David Aiken with host Ryan Phelan after receiving his Caduceus Club award. Picture: HRV

The champion trainer-driver was named as the club's latest inductee during Saturday night's Victorian Harness Racing Awards function at Melton Entertainment Park.

The Caduceus Club inaugurated the Living Legend award in 1995 to honour those who've gone above and beyond – from anywhere in Australasia - and made significant contributions to the industry.

"I can't believe it," Aiken said.

"It's a great honour and I don't know if I deserve it, but to join that honour roll is just amazing."

John Dunne took the chance to look back on Aiken's amazing career in the sport…

David Aiken was introduced to harness racing by his father George, a prominent bloodstock agent, and while still at primary school he would sneak off to Jim Caffyn's Granville stables.

Jumping into the sulky for the first time at the age of nine, the young Aiken's career pathway was already sealed.

As a 16-year old, Aiken spent a year with NZ trainer Derek Rickerby and by the age of 17 had made his first excursion to the US undertaking a shoeing course.

By the early 1980s, Aiken was preparing a small team at Bankstown and had his first taste of competing at the elite level when Toby Duane qualified for the 1985 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Moonee Valley.

Then followed subsequent placings at Harold Park with Tiffs Mystery in 1988 and the American import Ultra Jet, who was narrowly beaten by Weona Warrior in the 1994 Grand Final after sitting outside the leader.

In January 1989, Aiken trained six winners at Harold Park and Aiken-prepared horses won every Sires Final at the former track.

Aiken twice represented NSW in the National Junior Drivers Championships.

A three-time winner of the Harold Park training and driving premierships, in 1995 Aiken made the move to set up stables at Avenel in Victoria.

Aiken has built an imposing record in his adopted state and in the 2013-14 season took out the Metropolitan Trainers Premiership.

It was during this season a horse arrived at Aiken's stables who would later become a cult hero of the sport.

The pacer, Lennytheshark, finally delivered Inter Dominion success to Aiken in 2015 when he proved too strong for his rivals after sitting in the death throughout on a hot December Sunday at Gloucester Park.

A month later, Lennytheshark led all the way in the Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton.

In March 2016, another welcome stable addition arrived when Hectorjayjay was transferred to Aiken's care. Several months later, Aiken produced a fine training feat when Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark ran the quinella in the Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle.

For the next 12 months the pair ensured the Aiken stable would be prominent in feature races around the country.

Hectorjayjay was runner-up in the 2016 Inter Dominion Grand Final in Perth before winning the Group 1 Canadian Club Sprint and the Group 1 Blacks A Fake.

"The Shark" gave Aiken his first Miracle Mile win at Menangle when he sat outside Hectorjayjay in the 50th running of the event.

In recent years, the familiar yellow and blue colors have kept Aiken in the harness racing spotlight courtesy of the multiple Group 1 winner Max Delight.

In 2019, Max Delight chalked up the first of his Group 1 successes in the NSW Pacers Derby, a race which resulted in an Aiken stable quinella with Malcolms Rhythm finishing second.

Two years later, Max Delight provided Aiken with a second Victoria Cup victory when he darted through along the sprint lane to upset the favorites at Bendigo.

Aiken also put the polish on five-time Group 1-winning trotter Big Jack Hammer, who took out the 2019 Australian Trotting Grand Prix.

Aiken has trained or driven at most Inter Dominion carnivals since 1985.

Of Aiken's 2500-plus wins, there have been 33 at Group 1 level and his runners have amassed more than $25m in prizemoney. He has also driven more than 1400 winners in the sulky.

In 2022, Aiken was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and in his role as an ambassador, he has been an active advocate of urging men to get checked up while raising valuable funds for research into the disease.