Day At The Track

Pick-up drive pays off for Delany

04:29 PM 17 Aug 2019 NZST
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Safrakova,Harness racing
HRNZ photo

There were no surprises when Luk Chin handed out his pre-race driving instructions to Nathan Delany at Cambridge on Thursday.

Delany had picked up the drive on the Chin-trained Safrakova in the R40-53 trot because a win with a junior driver aboard would be penalty-free.

“He said go to the front and don’t hand up,” Delany told HRNZ.

The classic Chin tactics are never a surprise and in this case they proved very effective, Delany getting the daughter of Monarchy home first.

It wasn’t Delany’s first drive on Safrakova either – they had partnered up in a junior drivers’ race at Alexandra Park back on May 31, running sixth.

“She didn’t give me much of a feel that night.

“She was trotting nicely but was no match for a horse like Kenny’s Dream.”

Facing a much easier class of field this time meant Delany had no qualms about taking the drive when a mate called to tip him off earlier in the week.

“I didn’t even think about calling up for the drive actually.

“But Scott Iremonger, who had a drive already for Dale Moore, rung me and asked if I wanted to drive her.

“I wasn’t going to say no to driving a favourite.”

Once in front, Delany rated her to a nicety and she never looked like being headed.

“She kept bowling along nicely; really loved her work in front.”

With two wins on the board already, Delany looks in for a very good season.

He works for Barry Purdon – arguably the best gig in town for a junior driver – and that is already paying benefits.

He’s had a few placings behind classy trotting mare Sunny Glenis recently, and will probably drive her again this coming week, plus got the win behind the Purdon-trained Sole Ambition last week.

“I’ve been getting good opportunities from Barry and a few other trainers.

“Barry especially has been a big help to my career. I love going to work there.

“He’s got quite a few horses in work and there are plenty of nice ones to drive.

“I had just started working for Peter and Vaughan Blanchard when Zac Butcher rung and asked if I wanted to go and work for Barry.

“It’s hard to turn an opportunity like that down so I jumped at the chance and owe Zac a huge thanks for putting my name forward.”

Delany is hopeful of driving exciting prospect Henry Hu at his next start as a penalty free win is the immediate goal.

“Keep an eye out for him – a nice horse and one I hope I get to drive.”

So, could this be Delany’s break out season?

“I’d like to think this could my year. The first goal is to try and get to 10 wins and take it from there.

“I’m just grateful for any opportunities that I get.”

 

by Garrick Knight

Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

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