Day At The Track

Darby takes control in Amateur Champs

10:54 PM 23 May 2013 NZST
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The defending harness racing NZ Amateur Champion, Jeff Darby, leads the 2013 competition after the first two heats of competition at Addington last night.

Heat one saw plenty of fireworks up front early as Ray Reekie on Riverboat Diamond and Warren Rich on Shantalia Star eagerly contested the front cutting the lead time out in a swift 1:13.5. Jeff Darby had the outsider of the field Selester camped in behind the pace throughout and had the Bruce Hutton trained gelding running on strongly over the final stages for a valuable third. Showing plenty of depth to hold on and win by two lengths was Riverboat Diamond.

Another conservative drive from Darby in the second heat behind In Tandem saw him extricate the Presidential Ball mare from three back the markers. She stormed home strongly to win by a very narrow half head right on the line to defeat the Warren Rich driven Opting Options and give trainer Robbie Holmes the race quinella.

Leading the chasing pack is Sue Blake as the Amateur Drivers head to Alexandra Park tonight to conclude the series with heats 3 & 4.

NZ Amateur Championship Points Table

Driver                    TOTAL

Jeff Darby (NI)        23

Sue Blake (SI)        18

Steve Phillips (NI)   17

Ray Reekie (SI)      17

Warren Rich (NI)     17

Matt Stormont (NI)  17

Gavin Cook (SI)     16

Rick Burnett (SI)     14

John Kriechbaumer (NI) 12

Michelle Northcott (NI)   12

Mike Stratford (SI)         9

John Bennett (SI)          8

Race 2

Race 4

Gavin Cook

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