CHAMPION Bathurst reinswoman Amanda Turnbull flew the flag for New South Wales with success in a Breeders Crown semi-final at Bendigo on Saturday night.
And she’ll be the driver to follow again when she comes ‘home’ to Menangle this afternoon with some stand-out chances on an eight-race program.
Turnbull won the first semi-final of the $20,000 two-year-old fillies’ Breeders Challenge when she took Amelia Rose, one of four Emma Stewart-trained pacers in the race, through to next weekend’s big final at Melton.
Turnbull showed expert judgement to give the filly plenty of time to find her feet, landing a one-out and one-back trail before coming with a burst in the straight to win her semi-final in a 1:55.7 mile rate.
Now she will head back down the mountains to bring two of her own and two of her father Steve Turnbull’s team to Menangle and all have them are expected to be right in the thick of the action.
Amanda will not have her first drive until Race 5 where she will bring former Kiwi pacer RNR Windermere for her first look at the south-western Sydney circuit.
RNR Windermere has been installed an early $3.50 favourite for her first Australian start following a handy second placing behind stablemate Christmas Toyboy in a trial at Bathurst last week.
The mare has just five wins from 38 starts in New Zealand’s South Island but four of those have been this season as she appears to be a late bloomer.
If RNR Windermere does win, then punters will rally to back Christmas Toyboy, an early $2.50 favourite for Race 7 and a gelding that has already shown he can handle Menangle with success there in March.
Christmas Toyboy has not raced since April when a disappointing 10th behind Persimmon after racing without cover for much of the journey.
The son of Christian Cullen rated 1:58.8 in winning his trial at Bathurst and is expected to be ready for a first-up success.
Amanda will also drive the unlucky Intransit in Race 6 for her father Steve – a horse she has had some success with in the past.
She will also back up for ‘Dad’ in the last race on the program with Star Writer ($9), who has only had one win from 23 starts this season.
Yet his form is better than it appears as this draw (one) is his best for a while and the last time he did salute was in September last year – with Amanda in the sulky.
By MICHAEL COURT