Devon van Til - "it's been a huge week"
By Michael Guerin
Devon van Til capped a dream week when one of her two favourite fellas Anything Goes won the $45,000 Coca Cola Superstars at Addington on Saturday.
Because while the giant pacer she loves gave the 31-year-old junior driver the biggest win of her career, an unplaced drive earlier at the day meeting also heralded the start of a new phase in her career.
Van Til last week started working for Mark and Nathan Purdon at the All Stars and as if the chance to work with some of the best equine athletes in the country wasn’t exciting enough, she was called upon to partner one of the stable reps OK Boomer in the Sires’ Stakes heat.
That was won by stablemate Don’t Stop Dreaming but for van Til to be driving in a serious age group race in the famous blue colours was a thrill.
“I was looking forward to it all week and it is a really big opportunity for me to be working there,” she told HRNZ.
“It came about because Steve (Dolan, fiancée) had Amore Vita with Nathan when he was in Victoria.
“When Nathan and Mikayla (Lewis) mentioned there was a job coming up I jumped at the chance.”
That could see van Til get more opportunities in the All Stars colours, especially valuable in junior driver races, but the equine love of her life is Anything Goes, who as right back to his best with a dominant performance over mainly open class horses in the Superstars.
“I just love him, I tease Steve that I love the horse more than him,” laughs van Til.
With Dolan the trainer of Anything Goes he won’t mind the competition if the big son of American Ideal can keep winning.
Anything Goes burst on the scene last year, winning four of his first six races and looking destined for open class but he had struggled to recapture that form this term until recently turning the corner.
“He has a few minor issues and he is one of those horses who is always doing things to himself, I went to brush him a while ago and his shoe was half off and he was standing on it.
“And he is very big so he has a lot of pressure on his body so we were finding he was only about 80-85 per cent early in this campaign.
“But Steve has been working really hard on him and this week thought he had turned the corner.
“So with the new job and then to be driving in the biggest race I had ever driven in, let alone winning it, it has been a huge week.”
Van Til says she has the loyal owners of Anything Goes to thank for still being on Anything Goes as she has considered sacking herself after “getting him beaten a couple of times earlier in this campaign.”
“The owners have been great to keep putting me on and I can’t thank them enough.”
Anything Goes is now likely to be aimed at his division of the Uncut Gems.
As for Don’t Stop Dreaming’s triumphant return, he led then trailed and never looked in danger, winning with the plugs still in and he will give Merlin plenty to think about when the pair resume their rivalry in the Sires’ Stakes Final next month.