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Amanda Tidswell gets on the board

By Duane Ranger

It will go down as her first New Zealand driving victory but for Amanda Tidswell it was just another day at the office for the former Australian horsewoman.

Forty-three-year-old Tidswell reined her first win in three amateur drives when she steered Bettors Card to win the $6000 NRM Evolve Amateur Drivers Pace at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night.

She's also had two seconds.

“It was a nice feeling. I’m quite proud, but in saying that I drove about 100 winners (mainly South Australia) when I was driving back home. I started when I was 15 and only got into driving again after eight years when I came out to New Zealand last year to work for my brother.

“You can blame Steve Phillips for this. He is the one that got me into amateur driving when I came here a year ago,” Tidswell said.

Her brother is Steve Telfer, who co-trains Bettors Card with Chris Garlick at Ardmore.

It was a great front running drive by Tidswell and one that gave the $3.90 favourite punters no need for concern.

The son Bettor’s Delight and Dance Card started well from the ace draw and maintained the lead throughout pacing the 2000m mobile in 2:44.8 (mile rate 2:00.5) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 61 and 28.1.  

It was his sixth in 35 starts. The brown gelding has also placed 12 times for $36,591 in stakes.

For Tidswell she was just hoping he would stay in front when he got there.

“The last couple of times he has got to the front he hasn’t seen it through but this time he relaxed nicely and kept his mind on the job quite well.

“If he raced more like that and tried hard like he did tonight I think there’s a few more wins in store for him,” Tidswell said.

Another lady to shine at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday was Nicky Chilcott.

Chilcott was having her first drive back at her home meeting and recorded her first win since she underwent shoulder reconstruction surgery in August.

Career win number 569 came via the Paul Springall (Thames) trained Sheza Springfield in the $6000 Te Arohanui Hauraki Memorial for maiden pacers.

“It’s great to be back driving again. It’s what I love. I would not have come back until my shoulder was completely right. That would be silly both for me and the people I’m driving against.

“But it feels great now. I would say I’m back to 95 to 98 per cent fit and just need a bit of game time, as they would say in other sports,” Nicky Chilcott said.

The Cambridge-based horsewoman aggravated a shoulder injury last August to the point there were just two of her three ligaments attached to her shoulder. 

That came just over two years after Chilcott became the first female reinswoman to drive 500 winners.

Another interesting tit-bit came in the third and feature even at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday – the $18,000 PGG Wrightson NYSS Northern Graduette for 2yo pacing fillies.

It might have only been a five-horse field but there was a dead-heat for first and third.

Judge Kerry Wells couldn’t separate the favourite Poopy Maguire (Maurice McKendry) and Killer Queen (Simon Lawson).

Third placed was also a dead-heat with Pure Opulence (Sailesh Abernethy) and Bettor Love Me (Brent Mangos) also crossing the line together.