Dream comes true for Thornley

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

A clash with the premier meeting at Addington Raceway has opened up a great opportunity for junior driver Olivia Thornley at Alexandra Park on Friday night.

With regular drivers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen engaged at Addington, the young reinswoman has been entrusted with the drive behind multiple Group One winner Amazing Dream in the Lincoln Farms Mobile Pace (2200m).

Thornley has yet to drive the Hayden Cullen-trained mare in a trial, let alone a race, but she knows her well, having driven her frequently in track work.

“It is a great thrill to be able to drive a horse of her calibre,” Thornley said.

“I have never driven her off the property, I have only driven her at home.

“It’s great for Hayden and Amanda, and the owners, to support me and put me on the horse.”

Thornley has accompanied the Cullen team on their northern campaign, and she has been pleased with Amazing Dream ahead of her Friday assignment where she will once again meet arch rival Copy That.

The daughter of Bettor’s Delight has finished fourth and third respectively in the Gr.1 Taylor Mile (1609m) and Gr.1 NZ Messenger Championship (2700m) behind Copy That, and her connections are hoping she can reverse the result before they go their separate ways in the Harness Jewels in a few weeks.

Copy That has drawn the outside of the six-horse field, with Amazing Dream starting one place inside him in Friday’s 2200m feature pace.

“It is the first time in a while she has drawn inside Copy That, but it is a small field and I think everyone is going to have the same thoughts of wanting to be near Copy That, so I am just going to have to play it by ear and see what everyone else is doing,” Thornley said.

TAB bookmakers have installed Amazing Dream a $5 second-favourite behind Copy That at $1.45.

Earlier in the night Thornley will partner stablemate A Bettor You in the Breckon Farms Mobile Pace (1700m).

“She is a lovely filly and tries very hard,” Thornley said. “It’s great for the owners to allow me to drive her as well. Hopefully she gets a good run.”

Thornley currently sits on five wins for the season, her best season to date, and she said she is enjoying her time in the sulky.

“It’s really good. I enjoy working with the horses and I have done it my whole life. It’s good to have the support of a big stable and hopefully it keeps improving,” she said.

“I would love to get more drives so I can keep on improving, and to win a Group race would be amazing too.”

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