Sam Ottley just keeps breaking records and now the Canterbury driver has her sights set on a couple of other milestones before this season comes to a close.
The brilliant young horsewoman’s tally of 42 wins for the season makes her the most successful female junior driver in terms of races won – beating off the old mark held by Jo Herbert of 39 which she set in 1998.
And now the 23-year-old is determined to win what she terms the “coveted” junior driving premiership.
“That is the main goal now, I’ll drive anywhere to win that,” Ottley said.
“I’m also proud of the most-female-wins-in-a-season record as well.
“I didn’t realise I had achieved it, this all means so much to me. I love driving and I want to be successful.’’
The female junior driver record for wins in a season came just two months after Ottley created more junior driving history at Forbury Park.
The Geraldine-born and educated horse woman became the first ever female junior driver to notch up 100 wins when she reined the Michael House trained appropriately named Gogirl Bromac in race one – the Dunedin City Ford maiden trot on April 17.
Ottley is one win clear of the her closest junior driver rival in Sailesh Abernethy, who applied a little more pressure with a winning double at Cambridge last night.
She is also three wins clear of Natalie Rasmussen – the country’s second best reinswoman in terms of wins.
“It would be great to beat them both, especially Sailesh because I’m getting near the end of my junior driving days and I would love to go out a champion.
“The Junior Driving Premiership would be the ultimate way to end the season.’’
Kirsten Barclay was the last female to win the junior driving premiership.
That was in in the 2004-2005 season when she won 32 races from 315 drives.
Ottley has now driven 112 winners from 1,317 drives since first taking out her licence in 2008-2009.
She’s also placed 212 times for $815,799.
“It’s been a memorable year. It’[s hard to believe I’ve created a couple of firsts this year. I’m so happy because they can never the achievements away from me.’’
She said other career highlights included winning her first race-day drive behind her mother Denise’s horse Nigel Paul; winning the Geraldine Cup on Just Rose for Colin and Julie (De Filippi) and representing New Zealand at the Australasian Junior Driving Champs (third by a point).
Ottley paid a tribute to her mother, Timaru trainer Murray Tapper, the De Filippi’s, and all the owners and trainers who put her on their horses.
In an effort to enhance her chances of winning the junior drivers premiership, Ottley is currently on loan to the Woodend Beach stable of Robert and John Dunn with De Filippi low on racing numbers currently.
She heads to Forbury Park tonight in search of adding to her season tally with a promising book of five drives.
By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)