A special connection with trainers Colin and Julie De Filippi gives leading junior driver Sam Ottley all the motivation she needs to win the Darren de Filippi Memorial trot at Addington tonight.
Darren De Filippi, the son of Canterbury trainers Colin and Julie De Filippi, died in a car accident in 1995 and a memorial race is run annually in his honour.
Ottley has formed a close bond with the De Filippi family after more than three years working for the trainers.
She would "love" to win the memorial race because the De Filippis had treated her "as one of the family."
"The De Filippis have been so good to me," Ottley said.
Ottley drives two-win trotter Jayceekay in the event (race seven). The 4-year-old Monkey Bones mare has shown promise in her five start career and "looks to be a nice wee trotter," she said.
Jayceekay won her first start at tonight's venue by more than 12 lengths and scored there again two starts later.
Ottley rated Jayceekay a good winning chance tonight if she trotted the whole 2600m journey.
"Manners will be the key," she said.
Ottley has been working at the Woodend Beach stable of Robert Dunn recently during a quiet time at the De Filippi stable. She partners a number of their runners at Addington tonight. Ottley was enjoying her time there, never having worked "in a big stable" she was learning from "seeing how other [trainers] do things," she said.
Billy The Bus contests a heat of the Young At Heart series for 5-year-old and older pacers (race one) tonight. Ottley rates the gelding her best winning chance of her nine drives.
The son of McArdle is having his first start for Dunn after running fifth in his first run in over four months for his previous trainer Roslyn bush horseman Murray Swain.
The pacer went "near enough" against a stronger field in that run and has winning claims tonight, Ottley said.
Ottley rated Secret Lotion a good winning chance in race eight tonight.
''With the right run, she'll be thereabouts," she said.
The Courage Under Fire filly takes on a strong line up of C1 pacers but brings good form to the contest after she scored back to back wins at Nelson in June.
Johnny Jet brings sound trial and workout form to has first start in race four tonight and is another good winning chance for Dunn and Ottley.
The Jereme's Jet gelding won his qualifying trial at Addington in June and backed up that run with a second placing in a Rangiora workout on Saturday.
The Dunn stable hoped to pick up a penalty free win with the 2-year-old before the end of the season and the pacer had the potential to do so, Ottley said.
Ottley is the last season of her time as a junior driver and has notched a career best 44 winners. Becoming the first female to notch 100 wins as junior driver in a season is her season highlight to date, she said.
Recently Ottley has been locked in a dual for the national junior drivers' premiership with North Island counterpart Sailesh Abernethy. Ottley has held the lead through July but wouldn't be taking her mind off the title until the race is over at the end of the month, she said.
Her employer Dunn looks set to notch a premiership milestone of his own. He has gained 96 wins this season and looks a good chance to train 100 winners in a season for the time in his training career.
Southland junior driver Rory McIlwrick drivers three Southland-trained horses at Addington tonight. He partners The Wonkey Donkey, who is back from a six-start North Island campaign, in race seven tonight. McIlwrick also drives Blazing Bracelet (race one) and Snow Boy (race two) for Invercargill trainer Steve Lock.
- The Southland Times