Cambridge junior driver Luke Whittaker now sits atop the North Island junior driver points ladder after his victory behind Anam Nunu at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
The Greg Shirley-trained mare was taken back from her wide draw by Whittaker to settle towards the rear of the field and with a lap to go Whittaker asked Anam Nunu to improve three-wide to sit outside leader and race favourite Jemma.
The duo kicked clear by several lengths turning for home and Anam Nunu was able to out tough her rival to win by a neck over the fast-finishing Eighteen Carat, with a further head back a tiring Jemma in third.
“It was a nice race to win to kick-off the start of the series,” Whittaker said.
“It was also good to get the win for Greg, it was his first training win. It’s always a big thrill to get your first training win.”
It was Whittaker’s fifth driving win of the season and puts him four points clear on the North Island Junior Drivers table ahead of fellow Cambridge junior Alicia Harrison, with Hamilton’s Dylan Ferguson in third.
“It’s always a good feat (to be leading), but there is still a long way to go in the season. I’ll keep ticking away,” Whittaker said.
Indentured to Cambridge trainer Mike Berger, Whittaker has been enjoying more time in the cart this season.
“Mike’s team has been going really well,” he said. “The last few months they have been going well, we have just been copping a few bad draws.
“We are really happy with how they are going.”
Whittaker is also enjoying training is own small team and he is particularly looking forward to lining up Chalberg in the amateur drivers races over the summer for former All Whites Coach Ricki Herbert.
“Chalberg is no star, but he tries hard,” Whittaker said.
“He will go in the amateur races for Ricki Herbert. He is competitive in those races and hopefully he can get a win for Ricki in his father’s colours.” – Cambridge Raceway