Teal campaign could start on perfect note

By Jonny Turner

Gemma Thornley is hoping to get harness racing’s teal campaign off to a perfect start at Oamaru on Thursday.

Thornley will compete as a teal ambassador in the annual campaign to raise funds for ovarian cancer research for the first time in 2023.

It is an opportunity the junior reinswoman jumped at.

“I definitely wasn’t going to turn it down, not only does it get my name out there a little bit more but it is also a really good cause.”

Thornley is always striving to do her bit for the teal campaign each year, but being an ambassador will get her even more involved with the cause.

“It is definitely exciting.”

“It is always a goal to drive a couple of winners in the teal campaign, but being an ambassador is quite a cool feeling.”

Thornley will drive Lizzie Richter in the first race of the entire teal promotion.

And the pair look a big chance of starting the fundraising on a winning note.

That’s if the sometimes-wayward Lizzie Richter turns up in the frame of mind she has been in in recent starts.

“The last few races she has gone super, I have driven her completely differently both times.”

“The way she has been going, she will definitely be hard to beat, but you never know which Lizzie is going to turn up.”

“But I think we seem to be getting along alright, so hopefully we can get off to a really good start.”

Though she can be a little naughty on the track, that isn’t the case with the horse’s demeanour at home at the Mark Jones stable.

“She is actually quite a sweet wee thing, she is quite a nice horse to work with.”

“I think she just lost a lot of confidence and she has built that back up again.”

“I think Sam (Ottley) and I have learnt how to drive her now, you sort of have to let her do her thing.”

Thornley and Jones also combine with Songbird who has been in good form recently.

“She is one that surprises us, she has been going really good.”

“It is probably not a really perfect race for her compared to what she has been racing.”

“But it is not a big field so she could be thereabouts.”

Thornley also combines with the John Morrison trained Phoebe K in race 7 on Thursday.

“I am sure if we can get away she will definitely be strong at the finish.”

Thornley will continue her first week as a Teal Ambassador when driving at Addington on Friday and then back at Oamaru on Sunday.

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