Nally cool and calm in first win
By Jonny Turner
The thrill of winning his first race hit junior driver Tom Nally head on after the judge called in I’m Watching You at the head of the field at Ascot Park on Thursday.
Nally had to endure a nervous wait after his Hamish Hunter trained drive charged late to put himself in a photo finish to race 7.
The junior driver admitted when his charge was declared the winner by a nose margin over Matrika and Kirstin Barclay he felt nothing but pure excitement.
“When I heard we had won it I was shaking, to be honest,” Nally said.
“It was a huge thrill.”
Nally built up his interest in harness racing educating young horses with his grandfather, breeder and owner, Vin Nally.
“We used to break in horses and take them around to Hamish’s place.”
“One day Hamish offered me a job and it has sort of gone from there.”
Nally had a solid grounding driving at trials and workouts before starting his career at the start of the new season.
“Hamish brought me along quietly, I had two years at the trials and workouts just building up.”
Nally now has his sights on a career in harness racing, concentrating firstly on establishing himself as a reinsman.
The junior driver admits he is hooked on working with horses and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
“I bloody love it.”
Nally’s grounding has clearly paid off with his first win coming in just his fifth drive.
He was cool and calm under pressure when I’m Watching You was full of running at the 400m and his first winning drive looked in jeopardy.
Nally gave the four-year-old a cosy run three back on the markers before angling him off the inner in the final lap.
When another runner started stopping quickly in front on him, Nally was left with a big handful of horse, but nowhere to go.
Some expert ducking and diving a senior driver would be proud of got I’m Watching You in to the clear in the straight where the horse charged late to win.