Tom Bamford aiming to cash in with Pay Me Visa

Tom Bamford knows he’s the rookie driving the raceday veteran at today’s Junior Drivers race at Addington.

The 26-year-old will pair up with nine-year-old McArdle gelding Pay Me Visa in race 4, the Hydroflow Young At Heart Junior Drivers Handicap Pace (2600m).

“He’s a grand old campaigner,” says Bamford, “He’s won more races than I’ve had race drives.”

Bamford’s drive will be his 14th, Pay Me Visa has already won 15 races from 136 starts, earning $117,065.

After having two seconds in his last three starts Pay Me Visa brings some compelling form to the race for trainer Andrew Stuart. He’ll start off 10 metres in the 10-horse field, which Bamford says should suit him just fine.

“I’ll just try and cuddle him with a wee sit,” says Bamford, “that seems to be his go.”

It’s Bamford’s second raceday drive with the horse – they previously finished seventh in Ashburton.

Of Bamford’s 13 drives he’s has the one placing, a second with Zealous Spur at Winton in March.

As for his breakthrough win, Bamford says “of course I’d like to tick that off and when it comes I’m sure it will be pretty special.”

Bamford currently works for Regan Todd at his Woodend beach stables, after previous stints with Geoff Dunn and Phil Burrows.

He got the job at Burrows’ barn after Burrows' partner Bronwyn Jackson overheard a conversation between Bamford and his dad at a café.

“It was 6-7 years ago.”

At the café, that Bamford’s father owned, they were chatting about horses and their love of racing, and it was suggested by Jackson that he could go to Burrows’ place to get some hands-on experience.

“It started one day a week and just grew from there – now I’ve got the bug.”

Trainer-drivers Gavin Smith and Robbie Close are among those people that Bamford goes to for advice these days, especially as he analyses drives and works out what he could have done better or differently.

Long term he’d like to be a trainer himself. In the meantime he’s got some driving goals to achieve.

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