Eight point lead into the final day

03:17 AM 22 Jan 2012 NZDT
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Steve Phillips
Steve Phillips - 'The Godfather' of New Zealand Amateur Driving

New Zealand harness racing representative Steve Phillips will take an eight point lead into the final day of the World Cup of Amateur Driving at Motukarara today - but he will need to be at his very best in the final three races to take the title.

Phillips, who has won three of the seven races contested so far, has drawn out-of-form runners in Allingoodtime in race two and Little Tomtom in race four, and has fared badly in the draw with Nikita Bromac in race seven.

But Phillips, at 63 the oldest competitor in the series and dubbed the godfather of the NZ movement, is hoping his years of experience of driving on grass might swing things his way against many rivals unfamiliar with the surface.

"I'll be giving them as economical run as I possibly can and hopefully I can pick up more than the minimum points," Phillips said.

Phillips, who set up a big lead in the championship when scoring on $19 winner Tor Riley and $9 winner Maiden Rome at Addington on Friday night, had his hopes dashed in the third race when his drive Surrender galloped hopelessly at the start.

"He had no excuse to gallop really. The horse in front of him was skipping and hopping and he just panicked and didn't want to trot."

Drivers' points standings and TAB quote

Steve Phillips             NZ                    68  $3

Jaap Terstal              Netherlands       60  $3.30

Damian Oliver Oliver  Spain                60  $3.30

Marian Tux               Germany            57  $5.50

Jiri Svoboda              Czech Republic   44  $12

Volodymyr Kushtal     Ukraine             41  $18

Kelly Walker             United States      40  $21

Bernt Oksnevad        Norway               40  $26

Franck Marty             France               39  $26

Bjarke Haagensen     Denmark           39  $61

Piet Van Pollaert        Belgium            37  $61

Georgy Makarevich     Russia              30  $100

Courtesy of Barry LICHTER and Sunday Star Times

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