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Back-to-back Queensland titles for Ross on the cards

By Duane Ranger

Defending BOTRA Queensland Junior Driving champion, Isobel Ross, believes she can make the same flying start that won her the Series last year.

“I drove for Peter (Greig) early on in the Championship last year and won behind Ima Norma Jean,” Ross said.

“Then I won the second heat behind Richard Hutchinson’s pacer, Recipe For Dreaming.

“That great start won me the Championship I’m sure, and I don’t want to be too confident but I think I can go close again for Peter in the first heat on Beef City Starzzz.

“Even though it’s the first time I have driven him, he’s drawn ideally at two and comes into the race with ideal form - here’s hoping.”

The 22-year-old is one of 12 Junior drivers that will contest two heats at Redcliffe tomorrow, with two more at Albion Park on Friday night, and then another two on Saturday night, at the same venue.

The 12 Juniors are:

  • Taleah McMullen (currently 7th in the State Premiership);
  • Brendan Barnes (8th);
  • Angus Garrard (9th – 62 career wins);
  • Matt Elkins (12th);
  • Isobel Ross (250 career wins);
  • Lachie Manzelmann (148 career wins);
  • Justin Elkins (55 career wins);
  • Danny Gatt-Bouquet (29 career wins);
  • Zac Chappenden (23 career wins);
  • Trent Lethaby (17 career wins).

It would be the prefect springboard into the series again, It’s much easier going into the last couple of heats knowing you have got wins on the board.

Last year Ross won the title by three points sitting atop the podium with 59 after the six heats, while Taleah McMullen totalled 56 points, and Justin Elkins 47.

Ross’s achievement was all the more meritorious considering she only drove in five of the six heats  due to a scratching.

As well as her two wins early on Ross completed the Championship with a fourth, a second, and a third.

“I won that series when I was based at Amanda  Turnbull’s stable last year, I’m back in my home State now and loving it - I’m a very proud Queenslander,” Ross said.

The Brisbane-born and San Sisto College educated horsewoman didn’t believe two wins from her first two heats was beyond her again.

“It would be the prefect springboard into the series again, It’s much easier going into the last couple of heats knowing you have got wins on the board,” Ross said.

“It’s also a lot easier setting the pace, rather than having to rely on others or play catch-up.

“I think my drive in the second heat can go alright too, because Lola’s (Weidemann) team is really firing at the moment, and she has horses that love the ‘Reddi’ track.

“If any of them, including this one (Miss Catalina - 8), can get a trail and then one last shot at them, then they can win.”

Ross has 250 career drives to her name since she first sat in the sulky behind the Chantal Turpin-trained Onthewood at Albion Park in 2013, finishing sixth.

That was October 8 – the day she turned 16.

Forty five days later on November 22, Ross reined her first winner behind the same pacer on the same track.

“That first win was memorable, and so was last year’s Queensland Junior title - It’s always an honour to have something like that on your CV,” Ross said.

“Lots of good junior drivers never win titles, yet go on to have great careers so I will always treasure this.”

Ross worked for Peter and Chantal McMullen when she left school, and as well as a stint with Turnbull in New South Wales.

Ross has also worked for Barton Cockburn, Jack and Tara Butler, as well as Grant Dixon.

“I’m with Grant and Trista again at Tamborine, I used to work for them for a couple of years before I went to Amanda’s,” Ross said.

Her biggest wins to date have come via two Group Three events.

They were behind the Grant Dixon-trained Red Charmer in the South East Oaks Fillies Final at Albion Park on July 7, 2018; and the Teeny Teeny Mares Stakes at Tabcorp Park Menangle on December 1, also in 2018.

Click here to find out more about the 2020 BOTRA Queensland Young Drivers Championship.

Races

1

Redcliffe | Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club | 12:42 PM

WITH THE BAND - TROT RODS WINNER MAIDEN PACE

2

Redcliffe | Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club | 1:17 PM

BURWOOD STUD 2YO PACE

3

Redcliffe | Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club | 1:52 PM

CHANGEOVER SIRE OF 'WITH THE BAND PACE

5

Redcliffe | Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club | 3:12 PM

KNUDSENS BETTA HOME LIVING PACE

7

Redcliffe | Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club | 4:23 PM

DARREN EBERT PACE

8

Redcliffe | Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club | 5:03 PM

TAB BAND 5 CONDITIONED PACE