Hackett in for busy day at Manawatu

By Brigette Solomon

Manawatu hosts its first meeting of the 2024 season today and junior driver Crystal Hackett is keenly aware any personal success will also benefit the Team Teal campaign.

With seven drives, Hackett, who is a Team Teal Ambassador, looks to have several chances to do so.

“I’m really happy to be a part of Team Teal,” says Hackett.

“It’s my second year as an ambassador and I’m really pleased to already have driven a couple winners to earn money for the campaign.”

In Race 1, the Outback Trading Handicap Trot over 2500 metres, Hacketts drives the Andrew and Lyn Neal trained Trifolium. The gelding was a consistent performer at Hawera, placing second and third in his races at the two day meeting on the grass track.

“He has been a little slow away lately but was ok at Hawera and the distance should suit him,” says Hackett, “he’s a good each way chance and always thereabouts.”

Hackett also drives Winners Time and Diamonds Are Forever for the Neals, with Winners Time starting in Race 2, the Marion Hickey Memorial Pace.

“The field is weaker than those he’s been racing against in his recent starts at Cambridge and he’s an honest horse,” says Hackett.

“He can be forgiven for his run at Hawera too as he just didn’t handle the grass track.”

Winners Time galloped away in his last start at Hawera but his few races prior to that at Cambridge Raceway held merit never finishing worse than fourth.

The Group 1-placed mare Diamonds Are Forever has her first start as a four year old in Race 5, the ITM Mobile Pace. The mare has been freshened since her last start in late November and despite starting from barrier 7 certainly looks to be the pick of the race.

“She starts fresh today and Andrew and Lyn have said they’re really happy with her work,” says Hackett, “she’s got good speed which is certainly a plus too!”

Hackett also drives Pennys First Flight in Race 3, Stealers Wheel in Race 6, Quicksmart in Race 7, and Eddie Osei in Race 8.

The first race gets underway at 4:06pm.

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