White key player at Oamaru 

By Jonny Turner 

 

Ashburton trainer Brent White is set to play a key role when brothers and sisters square off in Oamaru’s annual family driving series on Saturday. 

White lines up two strong winning hopes in Burlington and Hot Starff, who will compete in the heats of the rebranded Family Feud Drivers Series.

Hometown driver Matthew Williamson, who competes alongside brother Brad, was the lucky reinsman to clinch the drive behind Burlington.

The 4yr-old looks the classiest horse competing, and a big chance in heat 4.

Burlington ran third in last season’s group 2 Southern Supremacy Stakes final.

"He has come back looking a lot stronger," White said.

"He has done a power of work at home and he has had one workout a fortnight ago.

"Mikayla Lewis drove him and she came back in very happy with him. And he has had another good hit out at home since."

Competing in just one slowly-run trial makes Burlington slightly vulnerable against a field of race-hardened rivals.

White hopes a patient drive and his 4yr-old’s class will help him overcome that.

"It may be a week too early for him, but it is a penalty-free win so you can’t turn that down.

"He worked on the back of Jazzy Star before he won on Show Day at Addington and Mikayla felt his work was nice then and he has certainly come on a lot since then."

Cool tactics worked in Burlington’s only other start on grass. 

The pacer produced a huge finish for a scintillating win at Gore in February.

The Williamson brothers have a strong hand in heat 4, with Brad to drive last-start winner King Of Heroes.

Westwood Beach pacer Bono Brown looks another strong chance in the race for Leo O’Reilly.

O’Reilly competes alongside his brother Gerald, who drives outsider, The Go To Man, in heat 4.

Gerard looks to have a much bigger chance of winning heat 3 with the White-trained Hot Starff.

Hot Starff was in excellent form for much of her campaign before spelling in July, and White expects the mare to continue that on her return.

"I have been hoping to get her in to a low-rated race and she will get that on Saturday."

Hot Starff has had one trial leading in to her resumption, and it was a fast one.

The 2400m heat was cut out in 2.58.7, with the last 400m in a sizzling 26.5sec.

"She has come through it well.

"She is in the same boat as Burlington — whatever she does she will improve on, but I couldn’t be happier with her."

The Tomlinson sisters look to have a big hand in heat 2, with Sheree to drive Jimmy Richter and Kerryn to drive Glacier Coaster.

Zachary and Benjamin Butcher look well placed to make a good beginning to tomorrow’s driving series in heat 1.

Zachary drives the consistent Sugar Cane and Benjamin steers leading hope Moniburns.

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