Amateurs championship kicks off at Cambridge

by Brigette Solomon

It's the amateur drivers' time to shine at Cambridge Raceway, and Michelle Northcott for one can't wait.

Race 4 on Thursday will see the start of the 2023 New Zealand Amateur Drivers Championship, where five amateur drivers from each of the North and South Islands will battle it out over three race meetings.

Hamilton based Northcott is competing in the series for the fourth time.

“The champs is a whole other opportunity for us that we would likely never get if we were trying to make it as professional drivers .... and it’s rewarding and exciting to have our own Championship Series” says Northcott.

“Ival Brownlee and Phil Clabby do a lot of work ensuring we get opportunities, and there are several trainers that support us too such as Jay Abernethy and Graeme Rogerson, as well as the amateur drivers that train horses themselves.”

Northcott has one win from two drives this year to be sixth on the amateur drivers' premiership, with Cheree Wigg (3 wins) and Colleen Negus (2 wins) leading the way.

Northcott will drive the David Marshall-trained Whooshka, who's coming off a bold second at Alexandra Park last week.

Another leading chance is last start winner Major Bond, to be driven by Cambridge local Warren Rich.

“He’s drawn two, has good gate speed and is usually driven forward” says Rich.

After Cambridge the Amateur Championships will then head south where they will race at Addington on Friday and Sunday.

The Amateur Drivers competing in the series are:

North Island

John Kriechbaumer
Neil Munro
Michelle Northcott
Frank Phelan
Warren Rich

South Island

Cheree Wigg
Barry White
Colleen Negus
Kevin McClintock
Jo Buckland-Stevens

The Cambridge meeting begins in unusual fashion - a 3200m trot. The ten-horse field includes last start local winner Run Forest Run, who starts off 15m alongside the Peter and Vaughan Blanchard trained True Story who won two starts ago. The race will be a first over the extreme distance for the entire field.

To view the profiles for the Amateur Drivers click here

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