By Josh Smith – Harness News Desk
Sheree Tomlinson will be looking to start the New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship with a bang at Addington Raceway on Friday night.
Lady luck has been on her side in the first day of the series, being allocated three favoured runners in each of the championship heats.
She will kick-off the night behind the Brent Weaver-trained Motoring Major in the McMillan Equine Feeds NZ Junior Drivers (Heat 1) Mobile Pace (2600m).
While unplaced in both of his runs this preparation, TAB bookmakers have installed him as a $4.80 second-favourite behind Fun In The Dark ($3.30), and he should be able to get an ideal trip from barrier one.
“Motoring Major has got a good draw to work with, even though it is a pretty even field, so I am hoping he will go well,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson is particularly looking forward to getting behind The Player in the McMillan Equine Feeds NZ Junior Drivers (Heat 2) Mobile Trot (1980m), with the Robert Dunn-trained four-year-old having placed in his last four starts.
“The Player is a nice enough horse to be winning that race,” Tomlinson said. “Because it is a mobile I would have to say The Player would be my best bet of the night.”
Petone bookmakers have marked The Player as a $3.80 second favourite behind Jimmy Carter ($2.50), who will be driven by Alicia Harrison.
Tomlinson’s final drive of the night will be behind the Regan Todd-trained Percy in the McMillan Equine Feeds NZ Junior Drivers (Heat 3) Handicap Pace (2600m).
The son of American Ideal has recorded one victory from his four starts and finished runner-up at Addington late last month.
He has been installed a $2.70 favourite ahead of Standout ($6), however, Tomlinson is wary of it being his first standing start.
“The only concern with Percy is stepping him away,” she said. “But he has got a good draw (2), so hopefully he steps away nicely and can get handy.”
Tomlinson is upbeat about her chances in the opening night of the competition and hopes to bag plenty of points ahead of the second day of the competition on Sunday.
“I am pretty happy with my book on Friday night,” she said. “On paper it looks really good, so hopefully with the right runs I think they will all be competitive.”
To date Tomlinson has won 29 races this term and while grateful to have been given some great opportunities in the sulky, she is looking forward to next season.
“It has been a rough road this season,” she said.
“I was lucky enough to win the Group Three (Ashburton Trotters Flying Mile) with Marcoola and got a lot of great opportunities driving in the Inter Dominions.
“But hopefully on Friday night I can turn my luck around a bit because it has been a trying season.”
Tomlinson will be entering her final season in the junior driver ranks and she has set her sights on taking out the national junior driver premiership.
“Hopefully heading into next season I will be able to pick up some more drives,” she said. “It is my last season as a junior, so hopefully it all works out.
“It would be great to win the premiership, but at the same time it is nice getting on young horses coming through and it would be nice to win some of those nice two and three-year-old races.”