A delighted Steve Phillips returned to the winners circle behind the Ival Brownlee trained Erin Go Braugh to take the lead in the World Amateur Driving Champs following the first round of harness racing heats held at Alexandra Park in Auckland last night (Thursday January 19).
The man who responsible for starting amateur driving in this country was rewarded with the leaders jersey after consistently performing at a high level on the opening night, Phillips won the final heat with Erin Go Braugh, but also recorded two seconds and a sixth placing to wind-up at the top of the leader board on 42 points.
One point in arrears was Spanish representative Damian Oliver Oliver who finished on 41 points, while Jaap Terstal of the Netherlands is hard on their heels 2 points in arrears with 39 points. Oliver Oliver won the first race of the series behind the Paul Young trained Praze An Beeble.
In in the second race of the evening the Michelle Wallis trained squaregaiter Manchester Lass was driven a treat by Jiri Svoboda of the Czech Republic who took advantage of the Alexandra Park passing lane to win heat two of the series. The French got involved to take line honours in heat three, Franck Marty coming with a well-timed run behind the Robert Dunn trained McKay enough to grab maximum points.
The second round of heats will take place at Addington Raceway tonight (Friday).
By Steve DOLAN