Off n Racing's Andrew Fitzgerald is off to Cambridge Raceway tomorrow night for heat 1 of the NZ Harness Racing Amateur Drivers Championship taking place this week.
The NZ Championship brings together the Top 10 Amateur Drivers in the country (5 from the North, 5 from the South) to compete in a 5 x Heat Series across three meetings. 1 x Race at Cambridge (Thursday 23rd of June), 1 x Race at Addington (Friday 24th), 3 x Races at Addington (Sunday 26th).
Heat 1 at Cambridge - Horse: Playball
Seems to enjoy going the Cambridge way of going and is well suited to the amateur grade going off his 3rd and 4th in the last couple of amateur races in the North. TAB opened him up as one of the outsiders but I think he's going a bit better than that and with the right trip he'll be there at the finish. This is a pretty even field.
Heat 2 at Addington Friday - Horse: It's A Shawthing
Going really well this fella and it looks like a drop back in grade for him in an even field. The unruly starting spot could work out nicely for him. Looking forward to driving one for Joseph Gray and he's very happy with the horse.
Heat 3 at Addington Sunday - Horse: Songbird
Songbird is also in Heat 2 at Addington, so hopefully, if she comes through that well then she'll back up in this heat on Sunday. If anything Sunday's field looks a bit easier than Friday so it could be a drop back for her. Over the 2600m trip, I think she is one of the more favored runners in this event and hails from a leading barn which is always a bonus.
Heat 4 at Addington Sunday - Horse: Sweet And Sour
Interesting runner whos in a new barn with Bruce Negus. Average manners have cost her a few times in the past, plenty of speed drawn inside us and Bolzano looks like he'll be out front and running along again. With a cozy trip, I hope we can grab some points.
Heat 5 at Addington Sunday - Horse: Olive Cook
A mare in great form is Olive Cook for the Robertson's. A last-start winner at Addington in really good fashion, she did it tough and dug the deepest of them all, this is the race of the series quality-wise so hopefully, she brings the same form as last week. Happy Place won well last time, Jazelle has trialed super and the same could be said for Hopeing For Glory while a mare like Katherine has been set for this race from a long way out. We have drawn well with Olive Cook in the 10-horse field, with a nice trip in behind the speed, she's a major top 3 chance.
The Top 10 Qualifiers are:
Cheree Wigg (Team Captain)
Andrew Fitzgerald (Team Captain)
Jo-Ann Buckland Stevens