Spoils Shared in AYDC Heats at Manawatu

12 December 2019
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Heats seven to nine of the of the 2019 Hanley Australasian Drivers Championship were held at Manawatu Raceway on Thursday with three first time AYDC winning drivers saluting.

Series leader Sarah O’Reilly extended her lead in the series to 11 points, with the final race held at Alexandra Park on Friday night. With 17 points awarded to the winner of the final race, Cameron Hart would have to win or finish second with O’Reilly finishing down the track to upset the kiwi.

Victories tonight were shared by New Zealander, John Morrison, West Australian, Corey Peterson and Queensland representative Matt Elkins, with the Australians both saluting for the first time on New Zealand soil.

Elkins drove Ripsnorter for trainer Michael House to an all the way victory in heat seven of the series with the Brisbane local thrilled with his first AYDC win, ‘‘It was great to tick a New Zealand winner off my bucket list’’, he said following the win. Series leaders Sarah O’Reilly and Cameron Hart again both drove consistent races to fill the placings.

Western Australian Corey Peterson drove Sheikh Yabooty to a fast finishing win from a near impossible four pegs position in heat eight. In a tight finish, Sheikh Yabooty prevailed over the favourite Matai Minky for Corey Peterson and Play Ball for Victorian Zac Phillips. Peterson was appreciative for the Manawatu Club hospitality after his victory ‘‘Thanks to the Manawatu Harness Racing Club for a great few days in Palmerston North, with some great times had by all.’’

In the final heat of the night, Ace Stride backed up his Tuesday win with another first over crush victory for South Island representative John Morrison. O’Reilly drove another placegetter, her fourth for the series along with two winners, with Matt Elkins rounding out the trifecta.

The AYDC drivers now fly north to Auckland for the final heat at Alexandra Park on Friday and to experience the Inter Dominion on Saturday night to complete their trip.