Thornley to keep up family form

by Jonny Turner

Gemma Thornley has the chance to keep her family’s name up in lights at Motukarara on Monday.

Olivia and Sam Thornley have been kicking plenty of goals lately while Gemma has made a strong start to the season, as well.

She takes the reins behind five runners on Easter Monday including Legenda Franco for her boss Steven McRae.

The pacer steps out in the Up The Rabbitohs Pace, a race name dreamt up by die-hard South Sydney rugby league fan Ben Hope, who trains and drives one of the leading contenders in Refine.

Legenda Franco was outstanding parking out and winning her debut at Oamaru before running a solid third from midfield behind Maren Franco at Motukarara in her only other outing.

Given those two runs, Thornley should have plenty of options from barrier 5 on Monday.

“Her maiden win actually surprised us that she managed to sit parked and still win.”

“I will probably just see what happens out of the gate.”

“She is a nice enough horse, but it is a nice enough field and there are some cheeky ones in there that could come up late.”

“Hopefully she is on her game.”

Thornley also combines with Artatac who looks extremely well placed in race 11.

While the Mark Jones trained pacer hasn’t been in the form of his life, he has been racing in country cups events and last went around in the $100,000 Country Championship at Addington on Saturday night.

“It was nice to get a text from Mark asking for the drive.”

“It is not the best field, but not the worst field, so hopefully he will be there at the finish.”

Charlie’s Ace comes into race 8 for Thornley after producing fourth placings in her last two starts.

Heading to the unruly in the standing start event makes life trickier for the mare but she is going well enough to feature.

“She has been going really good race, she is showing a lot more grit than we thought she had in her.”

“Unfortunately her manners let her down sometimes.”

Thornley combines two rough chances from the Steve Lock stable on Monday.

Nordic Prince looks the best hope of the pair in race 3.

“He doesn’t have a lot of speed but if he is handy he keeps grinding to the line.”

“He got checked at Addington the other night but he has been trotting well lately.”

"Hopefully he steps well and he might be thereabouts.”

Thornley also drives Honour Scroll who looks set to start at long odds.

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