Thornley takes charge with perfect start to AYDC

07 December 2022

New Zealander Sam Thornley has made a sensational start to the Haras des Trotteurs Australasian Young Drivers Championships.

The South Islander completed a clean sweep on the opening night of the series with a double at Melton on Tuesday.

Having his first drives in Australia, Thornley combined with the Andy Gath-trained Outlaw Man and The Falcon Prince for Scott Ewen to secure maximum points at the start of the nine-race championship.

New Zealand’s three representatives dominated, with Thornley leading home a Kiwi quinella in each event.

Crystal Hackett was second in the opener and then reigning champion Sarah O’Reilly followed home her countryman in the second of the contests.

Thornley has 32 points going to Ballarat on Wednesday night.

Queensland’s Brendan Barnes is next on 14.

Then follows: Sarah O’Reilly 13, Crystal Hackett 12, Emily Suvaljko (WA) 11, Tayla French (Victoria) 10, Cameron Hart (NSW) 7, Samantha Pascoe (SA) 7 and Jordan Chibnall (Tasmania) 6.

A delighted Thornley said the night could not have worked out any better, with him being fortunate enough to get two strong performers.

Outlaw Man was having his first start since arriving from NZ and once Thornley found the lead on him, the four-year-old did as he liked to run away in 1:55.5 for the 1720m trip.

Outlaw Man backs up in Ballarat, and in a twist Thornley will again have the reins in the second of two ADYC races.

While his night on the track finished perfectly, Thornley’s visit did not start off on the best note with a bag containing his driving gear left behind at Sydney airport and not making it to Melton in time for the races.

He admitted it was a concern, but everything worked out well with now Victorian-based Kiwi Josh Dickie providing a helmet and the Tabcorp Park back-up racing wardrobe delivering with the NZ colours of black with a white fern.

The two championship heats in Ballarat are races four and six on a 10-event program.

With just the seven acceptors for the first of them, Jordan Chibnall and Crystal Hackett will sit out the event.

Each will be awarded five points.

With Outlaw Man drawing the pole, Thornley could have another big night.

Another Andy Gath runner, Lord Verde, is another big chance in what appears to be an open race.

Jordan Chibnall will have the reins, giving her an opportunity to climb up the points table.

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