Thornley up for Addington challenge
By Jonny Turner
Junior driver Olivia Thornley will be in both a really good and a very challenging position at Addington on Friday night.
Thornley has landed two key drives behind runners from the All Stars barn she works for in Pace N Pride and Cyrus.
The reinswoman also takes the reins behind Ready Ideal in Friday night’s junior driver’s race.
Though Thornley has some serious horsepower on her side, she has a big challenge on her hands – to outdrive her boss and one of New Zealand’s greatest reinsmen in Mark Purdon.
Pace N Pride has copped barrier 8 in Friday night’s fast class sprint with Purdon and star filly True Fantasy inside them in barrier 4.
Though that draw isn’t ideal, the three-year-old looks a genuine eachway chance.
“He is obviously versing Laver and Steel The Show who have been in the (New Zealand) Cup, but he is not without his chance with the way he raced last week,” Thornley said.
“He is a lovely horse and when he gets a bit of racing under him he seems to thrive off of it.”
Pace N Pride has Laver to his inside and Steel The Show to his outer in the three outside spots on the front line of the mobile in their 1980m contest.
How True Fantasy will handle racing hardened, older horses looks set to be a key factor in the event.
Thornley has the massive advantage of starting from barrier 1 in race 2 with Cyrus while their main threats It’s All About Faith and Purdon will be stuck out on the outside of the second line.
The junior driver has the task of converting Cyrus’ run of recent placings into a win and she’s up the challenge.
“He loves running a placing at the moment, but hopefully we can turn that around and get a win.”
“You’d have to be pretty confident, they ran a track record on Show Day and he led up doing that, so you’d have to be confident from where he has drawn.”
Thornley will swap the blue All Stars colours for the blue of the Philippa Wakelin and Stephen Noble stable silks in race 3.
After a solid last start fifth at Addington, the trotter looks an eachway or place chance on Friday night.
“It is quite an even field and the horse looks like he is always thereabouts.”
“So, from the draw (2) he will be handy enough.”
Hoping for the best possible results, Thornley said she was grateful to the owners of the smart horses she gets to drive on Friday night.