Day At The Track

Amateur's take centre stage

08:15 AM 26 May 2017 NZST
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Christchurch-based racing journalist
Christchurch-based racing journalist - Matt Markham.

The best driving talents in the New Zealand amateur driving ranks will take centre stage in Canterbury this weekend as part of the 2017 New Zealand Amateur Driving Championships.

The first of three heats to be held over the next three days opens proceedings tonight at Addington Raceway with 12 drivers competing for national glory before heading to Rangiora on Sunday for a further two heats.

Six drivers each from the North and South Island will take part in the annual series with some hugely successful names filling the roster over the three races.

The South Island line up of Mike Maynard, Richard Sissons, Adam White, Colleen Negus, Todd Woodward and Alan Edge have close to 100 amateur driving wins between them along with a number of open driving victories.

Woodward leads that tally with more than 220 driving wins in his career.

From the North Island; Warren Rich, Cheree and Sheryl Wigg, Danny Blakemore, Jeff Darby and Gerry Cronin will do the business.

Early advantage for the series looks to sit with Sissons who has drawn Take After Me for North Canterbury trainer, Glen Scott, in the opening race of the championship.

Meanwhile it will be a case of blowing out any final cobwebs for a number of horses at tonight’s Addington ahead of next weekend’s Harness Jewels.

A number of horses going around at tonight’s meeting will be in action next weekend.

There will be a lot of eyes on the talented Don Domingo who returns after being late scratched from last weekend’s Premier meeting.

He hails from the in-form Ken and Tony Barron stable and will be looking for a good hit out ahead of the four-year-old Emerald in eight days time.

With the one fire Blair Orange in the bike, the son of American Ideal has come a long way in his debut season, winning three races from his 10 starts.

Life won’t be easy from a widish draw over the 1950 metres, especially with some strong opposition to contend with.

Orange will have a good handle on some of his strongest opposition with two other runners hailing from the Barron brothers stable, Runaway Three and Amazon Lily.

He has also been in the sulky to drive Malik to victory in his last three starts for Paul Court.

The talented pacer will have Ricky May in the bike tonight as he looks to make it four wins in a row from the unruly drawn on the outside of the second line.

Matt Markham’s Addington Selections

Race 1: Take After Me, Franco Caliph, Eja Patron, Handlebar Hank

Race 2: Hashtag, Bubble Gum, Nicky Anew, Debnita Rose

Race 3: Regal Assassin, Idle Moose, Spots Gold N Girl, Elvis P

Race 4: Rum In The Sun, Reign On Me, Native’s Lasting Love, Tehoro Dazzle

Race 5: Moonrock, Superfecta, Usain Colt, Donegal Carrickfinn

Race 6: Don Domingo, Celestial Arden, Bet On Rascal, Rocknroll Princess

Race 7: Needle, BD Khaosan, Sundon’s Flyer, Donsmedad

Race 8: Tupelo Mississippi, Midfrew Tarpediem, Vinny Gambini, Takitimu Express

Race 9: Bright Diamond, Gentle Giant, Indiana Dreaming, Bettor Aim

Race 10: Duplicated, Daylight Robbery, English Rose, Pirate Bay

Best Bet: Duplicated (Race 10)

Value: Bright Diamond (Race 9)

By Matt Markham

Harness Racing New Zealand

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