New South Wales horsewoman Cynthia Bourke notched up her first New Zealand driving success when guiding Fleet’s Classy Jet to an all of the way win at Ashburton on Sunday.
“It’s a big thrill and relief to get that first one out of the way,” said the young reinswoman.
Bourke sent Fleet’s Classy Jet forward to the front from the gate, before making a bold call and leaving Analeigh (John Dunn), who was a $1.30 favourite parked out. As it turns out, that was the winning of the race, with Fleet’s Classy Jet kicking strongly in a 27.7 last quarter to win by a length.
Cynthia, who is the daughter of Bathurst trainer Phil Bourke, came to New Zealand to work at Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen’s All Stars Stables, before recently shifting to Burnham trainer Jamie Gameson, who provided her with her first winner on Sunday.
“Mark and Natalie were great to me and they taught me a lot, but I was seeking more driving opportunities and Jamie said he was prepared to give me a go if I came and worked for him,” advised Bourke.
Bourke, who has had four drives in New Zealand for one win and a luckless fifth, had driven five winners before moving across the ditch. Three of those winners were for her father, Phil.
“I’ve had many people that have influenced me but he has definitely been my biggest supporter,” said Bourke.
Bourke said she could have very well won her second drive in New Zealand aboard capable four-year-old Al’s Courage had he not got his head over the gate and galloped at the start.
“It was driver error but I’d like to think I have learnt from it and won’t make the same mistake again. He is a nice horse who would be worth following,” she concluded.
By Mitchell Robertson