Amateur Drivers' championship heads to Auckland tonight
The national amateur drivers' championship resumes at Alexandra Park tonight, after Canterbury-based driver Andrew Fitzgerald took out the first heat at Cambridge last night.
Driving Mighty Monica, Fitzgerald was three back the rail at the bell, only to peel out turning for home. The Sheryl Wigg-trained five-year-old mare then produced a determined finish to down Rocknroll Mama and Frank Phelan by a length.
Sheryl Wigg was third with Jungle Gem.
Wigg is the favourite to win the championship. Her strike rate of 10 wins and ten placings from 26 drives this season is streets ahead of any of her rivals.
The country’s top 12 amateur drivers – six from both the North and South Islands - will duke it out over four days, with a second heat at Auckland tonight (Race 3, 6.19pm) , and two more at Rangiora on Sunday. Points will be accrued for all drivers finishing in the top six. Anyone not allocated a drive will be given two points per race.
“Everyone gets a good draw and then a poor draw, and drivers don’t get to choose their horses,” says Canterbury Amateur Drivers Association president Arron Hutton, “it’s very levelling, and about driving skill rather than horse power.”
The 12 drivers are :