MacKinnon opens favourite for Juniors Champs

NZ HARNESS NEWS

The pressure of opening the pre-series favourite with bookies is not bothering Jack MacKinnon ahead of Thursday and Friday night’s New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship.

The Auckland reinsman was a tight $2.50 quote when the TAB opened its market on Wednesday afternoon, ahead of Mark Hurrell ($5), Matt Anderson ($5.80) and Sheree Tomlinson ($6).

“I don’t really read too much in to it,” he said.

“If I go well the first night though, I will definitely be feeling the pressure heading in to Addington.”

MacKinnon has drawn $2.20 favourite Omar Sharif in the first heat at Forbury Park and $4 second favourite Machie Mach in heat two.

“I definitely wasn’t complaining when I saw what I had drawn.

“Omar Sharif went really good last week and he’s got quite a nice draw this week.

“If I drive him similarly, you would have to think he’d be hard to beat.”

Machie Mach was a flat third in last week’s Claimers Final but had run two good seconds to Real Dash and Marshal Star in the weeks prior.

“I note that he’s had a gear change this week with the sliding blinds coming off.

“He’s a tough old horse that has been there and done that.

“He’s drawn a little bit wide, but I think he should be able to overcome it.”

MacKinnon’s luck continued in to the Addington fields where he drew the consistent Black Art – sure to be well-supported – and Limoso, who has drawn handily at gate two.

“It’s not the best draw for Black Art, following out Every Option over a sprint trip, because that horse walks off the gate.

“But if I can get off his back and follow Pat Campbell, which humps the gate, it will be a big help.

“Even so, he’s in-form, tough, and got a bit of speed. Very versatile.

“And it’s not a strong field for Limoso, but he’s got a good draw to us so I expect we’ll settle handy to them and be a chance.”

MacKinnon is soon to move from Robert Dunn’s Pukekohe barn to the north’s biggest stable, that of Steve Telfer a Stonewall Stud.

He has aspirations to make it as a senior driver and wants two strong years as a junior with Telfer to give him the impetus for that.

“Steve asked me what my goals were, and I said I want to be in the top two in the north next season, and ultimately make it as a driver.

“He’s always been happy to support me the whole way through, and now that I’ll be working there, with a lot of horses around us, there are exciting times ahead.”

But for now, a national title would sit nicely on his resume.

“I’d really love to win it, but I’d be just as happy beating Luke Whittaker.

“He’s a good mate and talks a big game.

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