Day At The Track

Young gun drawn to be in contention

02:11 PM 16 Apr 2015 NZST
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Daniel Reardon
Daniel Reardon

The NZ Championship for Amateur Drivers commences on Sunday at Rangiora and a young harness racing driver that has drawn the horseflesh to be to the fore is Daniel Reardon. Describing Reardon as young may seem strange when he is thirty eight but amongst the twelve drivers seeking the title he is the baby of the pack.

His relative youth by Amateur standards hides a life that has been busy with harness racing driving and training opportunities. When even more youthful he learnt his craft working for Brian Kerr and then Mark Purdon. He is now engaged in training a team of eight horses between juggling shift-work out at Christchurch airport.

Originally licensed as a junior driver for seven years prior to 2002 his efforts yielded two wins from seventy nine drives in that time. Frustrated with the lack of driving opportunities he moved into the role of part-time trainer.

With the advent of a more regular schedule of Amateur tote races Reardon seized the opportunity to return to what he really loved doing. In his first season back he has already snared two wins behind Franco Tyrone and is now looking forward enthusiastically to the finals series.

“I’m really loving being back into the driving” stated Reardon when asked recently, “To be involved in the NZ champs is a dream come true, Amateur racing has really lifted the enjoyment I am getting out of the sport”.

“As a trainer it has also helped me with the placement of horses in suitable races which is great for my owners” observed Reardon when considering his involvement in the amateur side of harness racing.

With the drivers being allocated randomly a certain amount good fortune is required at the draw. Reardon is well placed after drawing last week’s impressive winner at Banks Peninsula in Bandana from the powerful Hope barn. His second drive Firebreak may lack an impressive form line but when in the right mood is capable of keeping Daniels points tally ticking over from his good draw.

A couple of older drivers who are set to make the challenge of becoming the champion even harder for Reardon are Steve Phillips and Gavin Cook. Phillips has drawn two last start winners, one who was particularly impressive is the Bruce Negus trained Highland Reign. Whilst Cook has drawn one of his own team, the in-form Seelster which he backs up with the promising Take After Me in the next heat. Both drivers have vast experience in these types of competitions at both the local and international level so they present a formidable challenge for Reardon to overcome.  

But it is a challenge for which the younger Reardon is well equipped for and he is clearly excited to tackle.

The four race series concludes with two heats at the Thames TC meeting on 3rd May at Alexandra Park. 

Gavin Cook

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