Day At The Track

Siejka on the verge of breaking the ton

11:25 AM 13 May 2010 NZST
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Ashlee Siejka
Ashlee Siejka

Twenty-one-year-old Ashlee Siejka is set to become the first female driver to drive 100 New South Wales (NSW) winners in a season. While fellow harness racing driver Amanda Turnbull drove 102 winners last year, seven of those came from outside NSW.

Siejka only needs three more winners after driving Satellite Star to victory at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Tuesday. The talented reinswoman could break the milestone at Harold Park this Friday night.

Siejka's favourite horse Intoxicated is set to resume from a short break on Friday but has bumped into Sydney's most improved pacer Min Min Lights. While it won't be easy Siejka has plenty of confidence in her horse's ability and is looking forward to the clash.

"Yeah it's going to be a good hit out for the horse and I would love to bring up my 100th state win on Intoxicated" Siejka said.

"Ideally we would have liked to have had another run under our belt before taking on Min Min Lights because he is racing so well at the moment. Intoxicated trialled well on Monday though, so we are expecting him to go well."

The Chariots Of Fire is the target for the four year old and a possible trip to New Zealand for next year's Inter Dominion series in Christchurch is being considered too.

"That's the plan at the moment and there is plenty of time between now and next year's Inter Dominion series but I would love to be a part of it. Fingers crossed we can get him there."

This season has really been a breakout year for Siejka and she puts it down to the support of her father Michael and boyfriend Peter. The three of them work a large team together in Bathurst and it has been the stable's outstanding results that have seen her climb the premiership ladder.

"There are a few factors that have helped me get to where I am. We have got some new owners into the stable and as a result we have got some very nice horses to work which has been very important but working as a team with Dad and Pete helps as well."

Siejka has been selected to compete in the upcoming Rising Stars series in New South Wales. The series brings together the leading junior drivers in New South Wales and has them compete against one another across five meetings and Siejka is looking forward to the experience.

"I have watched the series in previous years and to be selected this year is a real honour. I am looking forward to competing and meeting the rest of the drivers, it should be fun."

SULLIVAN LOOKING FORWARD TO BIG RACES

ive months ago young trainer Murray Sullivan was set to leave Australia and try his hand in the United States. He hadn't sat down and booked any flights but he was sure that was where his future was until he received a phone call that changed his life. Sloys Company needed a trainer for its New South Wales training base and Sullivan was being offered the job.

"When Sue Hunter and Mick Doltoff went to Victoria there was an opening here and it was just too good an opportunity to turn down" Sullivan said.

"I got the call on the Tuesday and I was here by Thursday so it didn't take me very long to make up my mind."

Sullivan is now in charge of a team of 11 horses and is enjoying the experience.

"I love it here, it is the best. There are plenty of winners and there are so many well bred horses here so it makes my job a lot easier."

With the Sires Stakes and Breeders Challenge series set to begin, Sullivan is confident that he has the right horses to feature prominently and he believes his strength will be in the three year old races. Tsunami Sloy and Its My Pleasure will both be aimed at the big races and will compete this week in preparation for them

"Yeah both of those horses will be aimed at the Sires, the Breeders Challenge and the Breeders Crown in Victoria. Master Joy is another one that arrived recently from Victoria for the big races while Sue (Hunter) and Mick (Doltoff) were in New Zealand with Captain Joy and I don't think there is very much between the three of them."

"If you put them all together it would come down to which one got the best run in the race."

Tsunami Sloy is engaged in the Newcastle Guineas on Saturday night and Sullivan is expecting a big improvement from the son of Jennas Beach Boy. The gelding last competed at Penrith and was beaten as the short priced favourite by Master William.

"It's a nice field but I think he's a big chance. A few things went wrong at Penrith and he is going to be so much better suited by the bigger track at Newcastle."

"He is a nice three year old and he has competed against the best throughout his career. He finished third behind Renaissance Man and For A Reason in a heat of the Australian Pacing Gold earlier this season and he did have a few excuses in his NSW Derby heat."

Sullivan will also take Thisaintyours to Newcastle on Saturday night to compete in the Free-For-All. The five year old will be having his second start in a week after competing at Menangle on Tuesday and Sullivan acknowledges that it won't be easy.

"It doesn't look very easy because we have bumped into Our Brahman Boy but Thisaintyours has won at Newcastle before and he is suited by the bigger tracks too so I think he will be a good place chance."

Not only is Sullivan excited with his team racing at the moment but he is looking forward to next season when his current crop of yearlings graduate to the racetrack.

"I have five yearlings and they all feel like two year olds now. There are some really well bred ones here too. I have a full sister to Renaissance Man and a half sister to Prince Benji by Art Major so I think we are going to have some fun with the two year olds next season."

Alison ZAMMIT

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