By Duane Ranger
Lyn Neal has experienced many highs in her 36 years as a driver but she described dead-heating with Samantha Ottley at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday night as one of the personal highlights of her career.
“It was my first dead-heat and to share it with Sam was such a thrill. We both wore the teal pants and we were both delighted to have been 'Team Teal' ambassadors.
“I enjoy raising money and awareness for any people in need, but the Woman’s Cancer Foundation and ovarian cancer is such a great cause. You couldn’t have scripted it any better,” the Cambridge horsewoman said.
“We were both so happy after the race. We had to get back out on the track for the next race but it’s something we will remember for a long time,” she added.
The teal colours dead-heated the eighth event – the $8,500 Alabar Mobile for the R55 TO R65 pacers.
Neal was driving the 4-year-old Christian Cullen entire she trains with her husband Andrew - Makers Mark, while visiting Canterbury reinswoman Ottley shared the prize with the Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins (Taupaki) trained Somewhereinbrooklyn.
It was Neal’s first driving success of the season and the stable’s fifth. Half an hour earlier her husband steered Credit Master to win the $9,400 Flair Handicap for the R52 to R70 trotters. That
4-year-old Muscle Mass gelding is one of about eight horses in work for the Neals.
“Like all the girls who were driving last night I was proud to be wearing the teal pants. Big congrats must go to Cambridge Raceway and the young, progressive team that they have working there.
“They really got behind ‘Team Teal’ and that is a credit to them. I was stoked for everyone who was involved,” Neal said.
Ottley has now been to Cambridge three times and won on all three occasions.
The 27-year-old won behind the Paulette Screen trained Regal Petite on September 12, 2013, and then she nailed her only Group One winner behind the Mark Jones trained Rocker Band in the Harness Jewels 4yo Diamond on June 4, 2016.
Then last night, as well as her dead-heat, Ottley was successful behind the Dave and Clare McGowan (Pukekohe) trained Sequoia in the last event - the $8,000 Dunstan Horse Feeds Maiden Handicap Trot.
The former Geraldine High School student won that easily by three-quarters of a length but had to come from nowhere to dead-heat in the race prior.
Neal led from the outset with Makers Mark and was travelling nicely in front while Ottley and Somewhereinbrooklyn were snookered three-deep on the markers.
Then in the home straight the South Islander zoomed along the passing line to share the spoils in 2:44.3 (2200m mobile). The mile rate was 2:00.3 and the pair sprinted their last 800m and 400m sectionals in 57.8 and 29.3.
"I knew Somewhereinbrooklyn wasn't far away and he had a lethal sprint on him. I wasn't sure if I hung on or not, but when they announced the dead-heat I was rapt for both of us and the 'Team Teal' cause.
"I've been driving for a few years now and dead-heats were a lot common back in the day because they didn't have the technology they have today. To think decisions can be decided by the merest of pixel margins in 2018 is quite astonishing," Neal said.
Results from last night's “Ladies 'Team Teal' Ambassadors Night” meeting promoting the Woman’s Cancer Foundation and ovarian cancer at Cambridge Raceway were:
Race 1: The Tim Vince (Kumeu) trained FRANCO CALIPH (9 B g P-Forty-Seven - Compulsive Franco (by Falcon Seelster) Sheryl Wigg.
Race 2: The John & Josh Dickie (Clevedon) trained SALLY O’MALLEY (3 B f Art Official - Time And Tide (by Mach Three) Josh Dickie.
Race 3: The Brent Mangos (Waiau Pa) trained RUBE STAR (3 B f Falcon Seelster - Zenola Star (New York Motoring) Trent Lathaby (j).
Race 4: The David Butcher (Cambridge) trained RACKATEERS BOY (3 B g Rocknroll Hanover - Racketeers Girl) Benjamin Butcher (j).
Race 5: The Phil Fleming (Stratford) trained CAITLIN'S SURPRISE (5 B m Pegasus Spur - Milldorf (Safely Kept) Benjamin Butcher (j).
Race 6: The Phil Fleming (Stratford) trained OUR WICKLOW (7 B g P-Forty-Seven - Wicklow Heather (Falcon Seelster) Scott Phelan.
Race 7: The Andrew & Lyn Neal (Cambridge) trained CREDIT MASTER (4 g Muscle Mass - Jessicas Credit (Credit Winner) Andrew Neal.
Race 8 - Dead-heat: The Frank Cooney & Tate Hopkins (Taupaki) trained SOMEWHEREINBROOKLYN (4 b g Somebeachsomewhere - Saddle Ridge (Artsplace) Samantha Ottley; and the Andrew & Lyn Neal trained (Cambridge) MAKERS MARK (4 B h Christian Cullen - Eilish Finn (Holmes Hanover) Lyn Neal.
Race 9: The Dave & Clare McGowan (Pukekohe) trained RAVE NATION (4 b m Majestic Son-Toggle (by Britewell) Samantha Ottley.
Top Trainer: Phil Fleming (Stratford) and Andrew & Lyn Neal (Cambridge) 2 wins each.
Top Junior Driver: Benjamin Butcher 2 wins.
Top Driver: Samantha Ottley and Benjamin Butcher 2 wins apiece.
Top Stallion: P-Forty-Seven 2 wins.
Extensive results can be viewed here.