Buckland-Stevens may be "sleeper" at Addington

by Mike Love, Harness News Desk

Jo-ann Buckland-Stevens will be looking to cause an upset today at Addington as the New Zealand amateur drivers' championship wraps up. Buckland-Stevens currently sits fourth on the table, five points off current leader Michelle Northcott.

“The heats today are quiet even. My two drives both have good chances if they get the right run,” said Buckland-Stevens.

Buckland-Stevens drives Judgement Bay ($10.00FF) for Leeston trainer Chris McDowell, in heat three (Race one on the card).

“He’s been a little bit unlucky in his recent starts. Hopefully we don’t have to do too much work early, and he should be thereabouts.”

In the fourth and final heat of the series (Race four on the card) she will drive Franco Cornell ($10.00FF) for Woodend beach trainers Robert & Jenna Dunn, who goes back to his most winnable race distance, giving Buckland-Stevens a glimmer of hope.

“All six of his wins have come at the shorter distance. So you never know!”

Buckland-Stevens is in her third season as an amateur driver, and is thrilled to have made the series.

“I just squeezed into the top 5 (South Island). It was exciting going to Cambridge on Thursday.

“I get a thrill out of driving. You just want to go out there and do your best for the trainers and owners.

“Winning the championship would be amazing! It would mean the world to me.”

Buckland-Stevens helps out Burnham trainer Bruce Negus.

Current championship leader Michelle Northcott has a handy couple of drives today which will make her hard to beat overall. Barry White and Cheree Wigg, currently tied in second position, both have arguably even chances at running Northcott down.

New Zealand Amateur Drivers Championship standings:

Michelle Northcott 10

Cheree Wigg 7

Barry White 7

Jo Buckland-Stevens 5

John Kriechbaumer 4

Colleen Negus 4

Frank Phelan 3

Warren Rich 2

Neil Munro 1

Kevin McClintock 1


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