Trip south leads to Hill’s first win
By Jonny Turner
A trip to the deep south several months ago led to junior driver Max Hill winning his first race with Watch Me Now at Ascot Park on Wednesday.
The son of Canterbury trainer Brendon Hill rated the Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis trained mare perfectly in front to help her beat a smart field in her first start since February.
Hill has established himself as a junior driver and gone on to notch his first win after what was meant to be a routine trip to Southland.
“I left school was fifteen and started working for Dad and I worked for Mark Jones for a while when they were training together.”
“I took a couple of horses down south one time and I never went home.”
“I love it down here working for Tank and Kirstin.”
Watch Me Now led throughout with Hill deciding not to hand the lead to rival Maximus Prost in the early stages.
When the attackers came at to put pressure on the pair before the home turn the four-year-old found plenty under Hill’s urgings.
“When the other horses came at her she really got going.”
“That is her really – she lifted when they came up to her.”
Hill praised his employers for trusting him to drive such a smart mare, who took her record to four wins from six starts on Wednesday.
“I am getting looked after really well down here.”
“It’s really good of Tank and Kirstin to let me drive that horse, she is a really smart mare.”
Hill credits Ricky May for giving him early guidance with the finer points of race driving.
The junior driver had 11 drives before landing his first win with Watch Me Now.
Since starting out Hill has had plenty of support and encouragement from the Southland driving ranks.
“Ricky is like family to us, so I talk to him a lot.”
“Kirstin helps a lot and I talk to Nathan [Williamson] and Brent [Barclay].”
“Matty Williamson is another really good one that you can talk to about stuff.”
“All of the drivers down here are really good.”
Like any young reinsman, Hill is eager to rack up more wins.
He has driven almost exclusively for the Barclay-Ellis stable during his short career and hopes to build on that.
“It would be good to get some outside drives and get a few wins.”
The Barclay and Ellis team enjoyed a good day out despite the cold and wet conditions at Ascot Park on Wednesday.
The trainers produced the quinella in race 1 when Ride In A Concorde beat Her Majesty.