The benefits of Kidz Kartz was once again on show at Cambridge Raceway on Friday night when graduate Zev Meredith made a near perfect start to his driving career.
The South Auckland junior driver had just the two drives for employer Brent Mangos and he made sure to make both of them count.
He began the night in fine style, dashing home late behind Gladamare to finish runner-up in the Dunstan Horse Feeds Mobile Pace (2200m) and then capped the night off on a perfect note, securing his first win with Havehorsewilltravel in the gavelhouse.com Entries Due Next Wednesday Mobile Trot (2200m).
Meredith was overjoyed with Friday night’s results, particularly in securing his first win so early in his career.
“It was a bit emotional, but I managed to hold the tears back,” he said.
“Gladamere was a lovely first drive. She didn’t get the easiest trip, she got pushed down on the fence early.
“But to get out and get around them, she went massive. We were just about a length short, but I was really happy with her, she went well.
“With Havehorsewilltravel, I got a fair bit back and getting pushed out four wide (at the 1000m mark) put a bit of pressure on. I had to work fairly hard to get to the chair, but once I got there he was feeling quite good.
“That was a fantastic start to my driving career.”
While Meredith was appreciative towards his employer with entrusting him with the drives, he made a special mention of trainer Ray Green.
“The massive enabler of getting my junior license was Ray Green,” he said.
“He gave me three drives at the trials last Saturday and they were the last three drives I needed to get my junior driver’s license.
“It got accepted Tuesday, so it was straight into it. I am really thankful to Ray.”
Ironically, one of those three drives was behind Double or Nothing, who defeated Meredith in his debut drive.
Meredith said he owes a lot to Kidz Kartz, not only did it offer him a pathway into the racing industry, but it put the former troubled youth back on the straight and narrow.
“My next door neighbour was Graham Bayley, he’s the track manager at the Franklin Trotting Club,” Meredith said.
“I was getting into a wee bit of trouble at school, so he put me into Kidz Kartz as a bit of a distraction and it worked out really well. It 100 percent did the trick.”
Meredith also got an early taste of success in Kidz Kartz, which got him hooked on a career in the cart.
“I did really well in Kidz Kartz,” he said. “I won my first race and I decided from there I wanted to be a driver.
“I won the Franklin Cup and the Breckon Farms Champion Cup. I used to help out Paulette Screen with the ponies and from there I was offered some holiday work at Brent Mangos’, he needed someone to cover while his workers took a holiday.
“He ended up offering me a full-time job, so I jumped at it.”
Meredith has been working for Mangos for the past 16 months and said he is enjoying his time in the industry.
“I just want to learn as much as I can and try and get a few trainers on my side to support me.” – Cambridge Raceway