NZ HARNESS NEWS,
November 8, 2018
SAMANTHA OTTLEY (AND SHEREE TOMLINSON) HAVE FIRST NZ CUP DRIVES
Driver Samantha Ottley will start chasing her New Zealand Cup dream with Forgotten Highway on Tuesday.
The group 1 winning reinswoman will have her first drive in the 3200m feature behind the Mitchell Kerr-trained pacer.
Ottley is thrilled to have booked her chance to win New Zealand’s greatest race.
“It is the biggest race of the year and you dream of having a drive in it and it is finally happening,” she said.
Ottley, Kerr and Forgotten Highway, form what could be considered a rookie attack on this year’s New Zealand C
Samantha Ottley, in the Mark Jones racing colours. She drives Forgotten Highway, for Mitchell Kerr, in Tuesday’s $800,000 Christchurch Casino NZ Cup at Addington. (Photo: Race Images, Christchurch).
Kerr is also having his crack at the event with a horse having just his third Gr.1 start.
What the trio may lack in cup experience is made up for with talent.
Kerr’s astute record as a trainer and Ottley’s rise to the top tier of the New Zealand driving ranks are evidence of that.
Forgotten Highway’s excellent lead up form signals he has solid each way claims in the race at the least.
Though attempting to register just his sixth career-win in the New Zealand Cup is a rare feat, Forgotten Highway looks to have struck the right year to do it.
“It is a very even cup this year, so everyone has got a show,” Ottley said.
“What he has done in his runs leading up to the cup has been very, very pleasing.”
“He is sort of only a baby really, when you look at what he has done.
“He has been chucked in with the big boys and he has stepped up.
“Every run this time he has got better and better, I have felt.
“He is not without a show and with an ounce of luck, you never know.”
Ottley will seek Dominion Handicap glory with Destiny Jones next week.
The trotter will firstly race in the New Zealand Trotting Free-For-All on Tuesday.
Destiny Jones began the spring in brilliant form, which now looks to have tailed off.
However, Ottley said punters should disregard the trotter’s plain last-start performance and her failure at the New Zealand Cup trials.
“She is going better than it looks on paper.
“I wouldn’t read too much in to her run at Kaikoura or even at the cup trials, she went around with a flat tyre from the end of the back straight.”
Additional Note: Fellow Overport Lodge reinswoman and successful junior driver, Sheree Tomlinson, is also having her first NZ Cup drive on Tuesday, reining former NZ Derby winner, Locharburn.
Sheree, who scored the biggest win of her career when upsetting with Amaretto Sun in last year’s Gr. 1 Dominion at Addington, will need to spring another surprise on Tuesday.
Locharburn, an improver’s fifth in his final lead-up race, is rated a $101 chance on the NZ futures market.
Sam’s drive, Forgotten Highway, is more fancied, being a $21 chance.
Victorian driver Kerryn Manning, who won the 2015 race with Arden Rooney, is the only woman driver to have won the famous race.
Sam, Sheree and Natalie Rasmussen (Thefixer), are the three woman drivers with chances this year.