Purvis eyeing return to driving

By Jonny Turner

Oamaru reinswoman Charlotte Purvis is eyeing a return to race driving in the coming weeks.

She showed she has not lost her winning touch, after being away from the races for more than ten months, when saluting twice in trials at her home track, earlier this week.

Purvis stepped out of the sulky in October, as she and fiancé Matthew Williamson prepared for the birth of their daughter Sadie, in June.  

Purvis and her daughter have both been doing well as Sadie approaches four months of age.

That has allowed the horsewoman to eye a return to race driving.

Purvis admitted her priorities may be a little different to her fellow junior drivers, ahead of her return.

“Sadie is my number one focus, but as far as driving goes it would be great to get back out there and get a win.”

Purvis has been back at work at the stables of her future father-in-law, Phil Williamson, for about a month.

How much track work she has been able to drive each week has depended on whether Sadie’s grandmother – Bev Williamson – has been available for babysitting duties.

Though Purvis has clearly not lost any of the skill that has helped her bag 17 career wins, she will not rush back in to race driving.

When the time is right she hopes her brother, Matt Purvis, could provide her with an opportunity from his stable to help her get back out on the race track.

“I just want to rebuild a bit of my strength back up first.”

“Then, hopefully Matt might be able to help me with for my first drive back and we could aim for a juniors race.”

Purvis had two wins and a second placing from three drives at the Oamaru trials.

After playing down that successful first step towards her comeback, the reinswoman admitted it felt great to be back out on the track.

“The trials went super, but I had nice horses to drive.”

“It felt so good to be back out there.”

The Oamaru Harness Racing Club was greeted with good news on Tuesday when trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen revealed they would aim Spankem at this month’s Hannon Memorial.

The pacer pulled up so well the morning after winning at the Ashburton trials, the trainers are considering nominating Spankem and his stablemates, Chase Auckland and Ultimate Sniper for next week’s Addington meeting.

Purdon said a decision on whether the trio would race at Addington or Oamaru, or at both meetings, would be made next week. 

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