Thornley excels in Australasian Young Drivers' Championship debut

Canterbury-based junior driver Sam Thornley has had the perfect start to the Australasian Young Drivers' Championship in Victoria.

The 20-year-old went two from two at Melton last night, winning with hotpot Outlaw Man and then The Falcon Prince to be a clearcut leader on the points table with 32, 18 clear of closest rival Brendon Barnes.

"It felt really good to win both heats," says Thornley, "I'm really happy and thankful for the trainers who put their horses in. They are good horses who got good runs."

The success followed a few dramas with his trans-Tasman journey. His driving bag, including his helmet and boots, was misplaced in transit at Sydney Airport.

"They managed to find some Kiwi colours in a cupboard at the track!"

"I'm hopeful I'll get my bag back soon."

Outlaw Man, formerly trained by Arna Donnelly at Cambridge, was particularly impressive, winning by nearly four lengths in his Australian debut for top trainer Andy Gath (pictured above).

The two other Kiwis competing in the championship both had second placings on the opening night.

Crystal Hackett was second with Boak behind Outlaw Man, while Sarah O'Reilly, the 2019 Australasian Young Drivers' Champion, was second with Digyourheelsin in the race won by The Falcon Prince.

Behind Thornley (32) and Barnes (14) are O'Reilly (13) and Hackett (12) heading into the second night of heats at Ballarat tonight.

In all there will be nine heats spread across four meetings this week, with the championships winding up on Inter Dominion Grand Final night at Melton this Saturday.

To see last night's races at Melton click here 


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