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Race Day Prelims

NZ Harness Trainers & Drivers Assn
Published by Pete Cook in News · 18 December 2019
I know it sounds like common sense, but apparently there have recently been a couple of occasions where the application of that emotion was absent. While drivers are permitted to warm their horses up the opposite way to the direction of the race, it should be done as close as possible to the outside of the track. The Association has been advised that this is not always happening, and would suggest, given the scary consequences of not following this pattern, that all drivers comply.

What a wonderful effort by Sarah O’Reilly in just her third season of race driving, to not only win the NZ Junior Drivers Champs, but also clean up convincingly in the Australasian contest also. Obviously blessed with the rich family history that she comes from, Sarah displays a cool head and superb skills which she has developed since a young age. And, of course she carries the trademark quiet modesty that you would expect from a Mid-Canterbury lass. As an industry, we are fortunate to have such excellent young talent coming through, a reflection on the group of Juniors currently going through their ‘apprenticeship’. At the risk of being either sexist, or whatever the opposite is, it should be remembered that the last Australasian Championships were won by Sheree Tomlinson, not only a New Zealander, but a female one!

I have no doubt that some of the skills that these two ladies and our other local competitors in the international event, are borne from driving on such a diverse range of tracks, both in size and surfaces, as opposed to the majority of the Australian equivalents. In addition, I reckon our rules lend themselves more to developing more flexibility of driving styles in races. Long may the trend continue.

Pete Cook



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