MELBOURNE driver Jack Laugher has been crowned Mildura Harness Racing Club’s Driver of the Year.

Laugher had 295 starts at the local track this year, recording 69 wins and 81 places.

Laugher was raised around harness racing, but has only been competing himself for the past five years.

He got involved through his parents Michael and Toni who own and train horses.

“I enjoy seeing how happy it can make owners and trainers when their horses run well especially hobbiests and people who do it for the love of it more than a bigger stable,” Laugher said.

A regular at Mildura, Laugher said the local track can be a difficult one, given it’s only half a mile and always delivers competitive racing.

It is the first time Laugher has won the award and he said it’s rewarding for the kilometres he travels in coming to Mildura during the season.

“I managed five winners on the card a couple times at Mildura last season so they’d be my biggest achievements up there,” he added.

Laugher said he isn’t entirely sure what he would like to achieve in harness racing or what the future holds on the track.

“The method in which our rules are regulated leaves me disillusioned at times,” he said.

“Like any sport all you want is a level of competence portrayed by its controlling body and more so when people’s livelihoods are at stake such as in all codes of racing, but driving at great clubs like Mildura makes it worth it.”