Catch Driver Cadet of the Year - Alana Cameron
Leading up to the final of the 2019 Catch Driver Cadet of the Year we will be highlighting the contenders and their involvement in the harness racing industry.
Alana Cameron is a member of Matt Purvis’ team and has been a long time participant in the harness racing industry.
“I was born into the industry,” she explained. “Mum and Dad have always have horses and bred them, and my grandad was a horse trainer as well.”
“I always had an interest in horses but was more into the pony side of things early on. But I started looking more at harness racing when I was about 12, and I started working in the weekends and helping in stables.”
“The interest had always been there but I got more into it from then on.”
She has fond memories of attending race meetings as a child with her family and also visiting Ray Jenkins stable when he trained horses for her parents.
“I remember going out to Ray’s when I was young and sitting in the dust sheet in the cart. I guess I was hooked from then on.”
Alana also had an early taste of the thrills harness racing when she had a close association with four win pacer, Waihemo Art, in recent years. And it helped inspire her to follow harness racing as a full time career.
“I’ve always wanted to be a driver, it looked like so much fun and the joy of winning and being out there drew me to it. Watching Waihemo Art win as well really got me interested in that side of things,” Alana said.
Alana formerly worked for Cran Dalgety and was able to experience Group One victory when a horse she worked with closely won at the Harness Jewels.
“I had a lot to do with Pat’s Delight at Cran’s, he was my little baby. I cried when he won at the Jewels, I was a mess. I was so excited. He’s my favourite horse.”
In terms of mentors, her time at Cran’s proved valuable also.
“When I was working at Cran Dalgety’s, Dexter Dunn was a great mentor. Being able to work with him on the track and get pointers and advice was just awesome. Sam Ottley I always looked up to also, with everything she has achieved and being a leading female driver.”
Alana also finds working pleasure with working with the young stock of the industry. She is involved in the yearling preparation and breeding areas and works closely with young stock.
“It’s so rewarding seeing horses you have worked with and prepared go on and win races for their new owners,” she said.
“I prepared Zeuss Bromac at the sales and then he went on to run second at the Jewels and was Zac Butchers first training winner. Which was really cool. I actually worked with his dam Zeta Bromac at Michael House’s when I was there, so I’ve seen the whole family progress which is hugely rewarding.”
“Ideally I would like to carry on with the breeding and yearling side of things going forward. I really enjoy that side of things and working with the young horses.”
As a part of the Canterbury cadets, Alana knew she was going to take part in the qualifying heat for the Catch Driver Cadet of the Year competition, but did not hold high hopes to make it to the final.
“I was surprised I made it into the Cadet of the Year final to be honest. Last year I had a horse that used to bolt in track work every day so in the time trial I went too slow as I was scared he would bolt on me. But this year I was surprised when Shane Renault told me I was bang on time. I thought he was pulling my leg.”
But whilst the time trial driving went well, there were other unique challenges according to Alana. Including those that include memory.
“I found the quiz tricky. I can’t even remember what I’ve had for breakfast sometimes so my memory with some things is awful,” she laughed.
“I think I’ll do ok across the board in the final in general. But I’m a bit concerned that they will put a cooking challenge in, as Georgie and Nat know that I’m terrible at cooking,” joked Alana.
“It’s a huge thrill to be in the final and I’m thankful to be a part of it. I’m really looking forward to the experience.”
The 2019 Catch Driver Cadet of the Year final will be held on July 24th, with the winner announced at this year’s annual awards ceremony at Addington Raceway on September 28.
We thank the generous sponsorship of the Catch Driver game, which is a free harness racing game available for download from your app store and allows you to drive in live harness racing games with people from around the world.
To download visit: http://onelink.to/gme7ve