"It has been a long time for me and the more I thought about, the longer it seemed to drag on but I'm really looking forward to getting back into the sulky on Sunday," Panella said.
"I could have up to seven drives at Maitland, I'm really looking forward to having a drive on Ardghal, I drove him in a trial at Newcastle last week against the free-for-allers and he was very impressive running home in 26.1, his form before coming to Australia was very good and I think he will be hard to beat in his Inter City Pace heat."
Panella has been a regular driver at the trials recently but is looking forward to getting back to competitive action.
"I think we had twelve at the trials last week and we had quite a few the week before but driving at the trials isn't the same as the real thing, I've had enough of being the stablehand, driving the float and being the strapper, I'm counting the days until Sunday already."
While some young drivers would be disappointed after missing opportunities to drive in the two editions of the Miracle Mile this year through suspension, Panella remains philosophical.
"It wasn't ideal to miss both chances and drives in those big races don't come along often in your career so you have to take the opportunities when they come up, it was pretty hard because of the amount of work I had done with both of the horses and I'm hoping for a chance again in the future."
"I know the owners of Suave Stuey Lombo and Mach Beauty are talking about taking the horses to Western Australia in January for the big races over there and hopefully I will be a part of that trip."
Dale Walker | Manager - Marketing | Harness Racing New South Wales