Day At The Track

Matty White loves West Australia lifestyle

10:50 AM 21 Sep 2011 NZST
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Matty White with Taffeta Bromac Matty White Matty White Matty White & Lombo Navigator (centre) Safin Matty White and trainer Mike Howie Matty White can wait for his
Matty White with Taffeta Bromac - During his New Zealand driving days
Matty White - And the connections of the New Zealand-bred, Jacmandoo
Matty White - And the connections of Lombo Navigator
Matty White & Lombo Navigator (centre) - Win the $35,000 DBC Tender Ridge Beef August Cup
Safin - A brilliant drive from junior driver Matthew White
Trish Dunell Photo
Matty White and trainer Mike Howie
Matty White can wait for his - first Interdominion Grand Final drive on Friday.
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Matty White has no regrets about leaving his homeland for a new harness racing life in Western Australia. In fact the 26-year-old Kiwi has no intentions of returning home - except to visit family and friends.

White and his girlfriend Bridgette Solomon have just bought a home in Perth and the former Waikato and Auckland reinsman said he would now only ply his trade back in New Zealand if he or his boss Andrew De Campo campaigned horses there.

“I’m here for the long haul. I couldn’t be happier. Financially it has been worth coming to WA. I’m driving at three or four meetings a week and I’m getting at least four or five drives per meeting. I couldn't match that back home.

“I’m still a Kiwi but my life is here now. I’ll be home next at Christmas to visit family and friends,” White said.

White relocated to Western Australia in November 2009 but he got his first taste of Western Australian harness racing in 2004 when his former employers John Green and Bunty Hughes (South Auckland) did a one month stable swap with White and Perth trainer-driver, Ryan Bell.

“I enjoyed it here back then and I decided to keep in touch with Andrew (De Campo). Then in late 2009 I heard Andrew was looking for someone and because I was getting a bit stale with the New Zealand scene I decided to try something new.

“These days I’m getting a lot more drives because there are more meetings,” said White who drives mainly at Gloucester Park, Bunbury and Pinjarra as well as several rural tracks n Western Australia.

In his first full season in Australia last year White finished seventh on the Western Australia state driving premiership with 72 wins from his 466 drives. He also placed 168 times for $716,865 in purses.

He arrived at the De Campo 30-strong Perth stable in December 2009. Prior to that he was one of New Zealand’s leading junior drivers from 2002-2008 landing 104 winners. He also bagged another 29 wins in just over a season as an open horseman.

All up he won 133 races mostly in the North Island, banking $1.3 million during his eight seasons.

He said his biggest Australian win to date was the $100,000 Group 1 Sires Stakes 3yo Fillies Final behind Miss Baypoint at Gloucester Park on July 10 this year.

He also won the $50,000 Group 2 Governor’s Cup behind the De Campo trained Lombo Navigator, also at Gloucester Park, on February 18 this year.

“I’ve also won other Group races behind him and hopefully he will be my drive at next year’s Inter Dominions, here in Perth,” White said.

"I'm looking forward to that carnival and catching up with all my ole Kiwi mates," he added.

Asked if he had to make any radical driving changes in Western Australia, White replied:

“They drive a lot more aggressively here and the draws play a bigger part because we only race on a half mile track in Perth. You have to be a lot more handier turning for home than what you do in New Zealand. The country tracks and driving styles there are more like New Zealand.”

White was born in Dunedin and his family relocated to Cambridge when he was two. He was raised in the Waikato and attended Cambridge High School.

His Uncle George Wallis was a horseman, while his father Les is still a hobby trainer. White followed his family into the industry at aged 17.

Outside of harness racing White said he was a sports fan.

“I’ve tried their Aussie Rules once and it will only be once. I enjoy rugby and league. But it’s a real cruisey lifestyle here and that's why i like it. I’m glad I bit the bullet and decided to come over,” White said.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

(1) Matt White winning the $100,000 Group One Sires Stakes 3yo Fillies Final behind Miss Baypoint at Gloucester Park on July 10 this year:

(2) Matt White winning the $50,000 Group 2 Governor’s Cup behind Lombo Navigator, also at Gloucester Park, on February 18 this year:

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