Day At The Track

Adam Sanderson thrust into the "hot" seat

06:39 PM 28 May 2015 NZST
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Adam Sanderson
Hot Seat: Adam Sanderson has key drives at Albion Park this Saturday night including Mafuta Vautin in the Gr.2 QBRED Triad Final

New Zealand harness racing reinsman Adam Sanderson has been thrust into the ‘hot’ seat this weekend. But it’s a role he’s comfortable with.

Leading trainer and his boss, Darrel Graham, has stepped aside and entrusted Sanderson with a key book of drives including Mafuta Vautin in the Gr.2 $50,000 QBRED Triad 4yo Entires and Geldings Final plus Chattanoogachoochoo (Christian Cullen) in the $20,000 Seymour Rising Stars Championship Final.

This is nothing new for the stable; Sanderson got the call-up to partner giant filly Montana Marie in the 2013 Gr.2 $75,000 Seymour Nursery Pace Final and duly saluted that night.

The 26yo is cool under pressure.

“I’ve got some good opportunities this weekend and I’m looking forward to the challenge, Mafuta Vautin has an excellent draw while Chattanoogachoochoo has a shocking draw so it’s a mixed bag in that respect.” Sanderson said.

Mafuta Vautin will start a short priced favourite after landing the inside gate and his recent form is very strong including his victory in the QBRED Breeders Classic Final on March 27.

The Rollon Bigred – Ashleysplace gelding has started once since that victory and proved too good when leading throughout at Redcliffe in a heat of a Rising Stars Championship but was subsequently scratched from the final.

But Graham is confident his charge is in great shape.

“It wasn’t anything serious but just enough not to risk him with this race in mind and he’s trained on really well since so I’m confident he’s ready to go. The barrier draw is perfect so hopefully it’s a case of aim and shoot,” Graham said.

“I’m happy to take a backseat role this weekend, Linda (wife) and I bred this horse and he’s done an amazing job winning 10 of his 14 starts and I’m looking forward to sitting in the stands with Linda and Stephanie and cheering on both Adam (Mafuta Vautin) and Brittany (My Arthur Bee) in this feature event.

“Both kids are driving in good form currently and they both deserve this opportunity so I’ll be leading the cheering from the stands.”

Chattanoogachoochoo scored a decisive victory in the heat of the Rising Stars on Tuesday afternoon but fellow heat winner Alleluia (Art Major) drew favourably off the front-line and will start from gate five.

Connections are looking at several features in the coming weeks with the winter carnival just around the corner.

by Chris Barsby

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