Day At The Track

Zac Butcher favoured to win NZ Jr Champs

03:06 AM 19 Jul 2012 NZST
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 Zac Butcher
Speckos 2012 NZ Junior Driver Championship
Zac Butcher - Pictured in the Barry Purdon colours.
Duane Ranger photo

The Speckos 2012 NZ Junior Driver Championship is sure to create good interest for harness racing punters this year. TAB Harness Bookie, Steve Richardson, has open four separate books on the event with the overall winner, leading island and two head-to-heads to get punters enthused.

This year another strong group of young drivers has been assembled for the championship. Despite Dexter Dunn leaving the junior ranks this season, there is a wealth of experience among the 12 competitors. That experience is qualified by the fact there are three previous winners returning for another campaign this year.

Zac Butcher has been installed the early favourite for the championship this Friday. His three solid drives and his stellar season to date combine to give him strong claims. Mitchell Kerr with his ace drive on Christian Banner in the third heat makes him a big threat if he can get decent points the early rounds.

Punters that like a bit of value could look to the Auckland Trotting Club’s Assistant Racing Manager, David Branch. The 22-year-old who juggles work at Auckland Trotting Club with training a small team and driving has an interesting book of drives. A book that appears attractive at the early $13 quote.

Speckos NZ Junior Driver Championship Winner
Zac Butcher(Nth) $3.00
Mitchell Kerr (Sth) $4.00
Simon McMullan (Nth) $4.50
Josh Dickie (Nth) $11.00
Simon Lawson (Nth) $11.00
Tim Williams (Sth) $11.00
David Branch (Nth) $13.00
Adam Sanderson (Sth) $17.00
Matthew Williamson (Sth) $17.00
Kyle Marshall (Nth) $21.00
Jack Trainor (Sth) $21.00
Robbie Close (Sth) $26.00
Inter-Island Challenge                           Head-to-head                                                  Head-to-head

NI Junior Drivers Win        $1.80        Zac Butcher                   $1.50              Josh Dickie        $2.00

SI Junior Drivers Win        $1.95        Matthew Williamson        $2.50              Mitchell Kerr       $1.75

Junior Drivers Fact File

  • First ever race restricted to probationary (junior) drivers was held in 1951 at New Brighton Racecourse.

he winner was First Mate, trained by Don Nyhan and driven Trevor Rae.

  • The first race restricted to probationary drivers in the North Island was held at Alexandra Park in 1953.

he winning driver on that occasion was none other than subsequent legendary greyhound trainer, Ray Adcock.

  • Total number of winners driven by the junior drivers this season - 380.

  • Total number of career driving wins by the 12 competitors - 1036.

  • Previous winners competing: Tim Williams (2011), Simon Lawson (2010), Zac Butcher (2009).

  • Leading drivers by wins: Zac Butcher 230, Matthew Williamson 229.
by Andrew MORRIS

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